The Governor's Task Force for Local Mandate Review today released the second interim report to the governor. Building on the success of the first interim report to the governor and a successful legislative session, the task force resumed its work on mandate relief in 2012.
Speaking about today's release, Governor McDonnell said, "I thank Chairman Herrity and members of the task force for their tremendous leadership in examining the state-local relationship. I understand the challenge local governments face when trying to balance their budgets during complex financial times. This difficulty is exacerbated when the state places burdensome mandates on localities. One of the principal recommendations of the task force was to reinstate and provide additional state funding to localities. That is why I proposed more than $250 million in improved support for localities in the FY2014 budget. I look forward to continuing to work with the task force and local governments to strengthen and improve the relationship between state and local government."
The task force revised its approach to mandate relief for the second interim report. It developed and recommended a multi-part strategy: (1) establishing a framework for discussion between state and local government to improve the efficiency and delivery of services; (2) reforming the bureaucratic rules blocking the mandate review process; (3) identifying key mandates that require funding; and (4) continuing to recommend a reduction of state mandates.
The task force divided its work into three subcommittees:
Education Mandates: This subcommittee continued to examine education mandates and make recommendations for repeal. In the long-term, this group will concentrate on mandates in specific areas such as the Virginia Retirement System (VRS), special education, data reporting, human capital and testing.
General Mandates: This subcommittee continued to solicit input from local governments and organizations regarding potential mandates to recommend for elimination.
State-Local Relationships: This subcommittee examined methods for improving the general nature of state-local government relationships.
The task force continued to solicit and receive input, suggestions and comments from local governments, state agencies and the public both online and through its public meetings. The task force also communicated regularly with Virginia School Boards Association (VSBA), Virginia Association of School Superintendents (VASS), the Virginia Association of Counties (VACo) and the Virginia Municipal League (VML) which represent a collection of localities statewide.
Task force chairman and Fairfax Board of Supervisors member Pat Herrity remarked, "I am very happy that for the second year in a row governor McDonnell's Task Force for Local Government Mandate Review was able to produce a report which led to real mandate relief for local governments. Based on the proposed bills sent for review of their impact on localities, it is clear that we are raising awareness of the impact some legislative proposals have on local governments. On behalf of all jurisdictions across the Commonwealth, I would like to thank the governor for restoring the full $45 million "Local Aid to the Commonwealth" in this budget and his continued focus on improving the way states and localities do business. We have made a lot of progress over the last two years, and the Task Force is looking forward to keeping up the work of delivering real relief to local governments."
About the Governor's Task Force for Local Mandate Review
The five-member task force is a result of legislation introduced during the 2011 General Assembly session by Senator Steve Newman (R-Bedford County) to review state mandates imposed on localities and to recommend temporary suspension or permanent repeal of such mandates as appropriate. The following citizens serve on the Governor's Task Force for Local Government Mandate Review:
The Honorable Bob Dyer, Member, Virginia Beach City Council
The Honorable Pat Herrity, Springfield District Supervisor, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors
The Honorable Shaun Kenney, Chair, Fluvanna County Board of Supervisors
Kimball Payne, City Manager, City of Lynchburg
The Honorable Joan E. Wodiska, Member, Virginia Board of Education
Additionally, Alicia Hughes and Suzy H. Kelly serve as the Government Reform Commission liaisons to the task force.
The correspondence received from local governments and the public, as well as a summary of comments from state agencies and this interim report are posted on the task force website at http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/GovMandateReview/default.htm .