Group Title: impact of mandating on the operational capability of local government
Title: The impact of mandating on the operational capability of local government
Full Citation
Permanent Link:
 Material Information
Title: The impact of mandating on the operational capability of local government
Physical Description: viii, 243 leaves : ; 28 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Ridgdill, Julia Richard, 1926-
Copyright Date: 1984
Subject: Local government   ( lcsh )
Political Science thesis Ph. D
Dissertations, Academic -- Political Science -- UF
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: by Julia Richard Ridgdill.
Thesis: Thesis (Ph. D.)--University of Florida, 1984.
Bibliography: Bibliography: leaves 240-242.
General Note: Typescript.
General Note: Vita.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00099594
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: alephbibnum - 000493678
oclc - 11988370
notis - ACR2538


This item has the following downloads:

impactofmandatin00ridg ( PDF )

Full Text









LIST OF TABLES.............................................. v

ABSTRACT .................................................... vii


I THE MANDATE ISSUE ................................... 1

Perspective ....................................... 1
Background....................................... 2
Concepts versus Usage............................ 3
Legality versus Equity........................... 4
Purpose of the Study............................... 7
Scope ............................................ 7
Encroachment..................................... 7
Federalism ...................................... 13
Democratic Control ............................... 18
Local Service Delivery........................... 20
Research Orientation............................... 25
Methodology...................................... 25
Rationale ....................................... 27
Summary............................................ 28


The Problem........................................ 30
Introduction..................................... 30
Evolution ....................................... 31
The Definitional Challenge....................... 34
Typology ........................................ 38
State Versus Local Concepts........................ 44
Scope............................................ 44
Use as a Policy Device........................... 46
The "Relativist" View............................ 47
The "Purist" View................................ 48
Summary............................................ 50


The National-Level Data ........................... 52
Introduction ................................... 52


The Data Base.................................... 54
Implications ................................... 61
The State-Level Data............................... 65
The Data Base ................................... 65
Implications ................................... 72
Localized Data .................................... 80
The Florida Assessment........................... 80
Implications..................................... 81
Summary............................................ 83


The Federal System................................. 85
Introduction..................................... 85
Pragmatic Federalism............................. 87
Federal Theory The Academic Debate............. 92
Intergovernmental Relations........................ 99
Mechanism for Change............................. 99
Implications .................................... 104
Summary ............................................ 109


Autonomy ......................................... 111
Introduction ..................................... 111
The Dependency Issue............................. 113
Territorial Democracy............................ 116
The "Loss of Autonomy" Debate.................... 118
Accountability .................................... 121
Fiscal Accountability............................ 121
Political Accountability......................... 124
Summary ............................................ 126


Causes ............................................. 129
Introduction .................................... 129
The Delivery System.............................. 130
The Overload .................................... 132
The Political Process............................ 139
Implications ...................................... 140
A Role-Based Mandate Typology ................... 140
Applicability and Discussion ..................... 142
Summary......................................... 150

VII THE MANDATE ISSUE REVISITED......................... 152

Findings ........................................... 152
Introduction .................................... 152
The Issue........................................ 153
Encroachment .................................... 155
Federalism ...................................... 159



Democratic Control ............................... 161
Local Service Delivery System.................... 167
Arguments to be Empirically Evaluated.............. 173

VIII FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS............................. 182

Findings ........................................... 182
Introduction .................................... 182
Empirical Methodology............................ 183
Findings ......................................... 184
Case Study ....................................... 205
Florida .......................................... 206
Pennsylvania .................................... 210
Comparative Analysis............................. 216
Conclusions ........................................ 219
Directions for Further Research.................... 224

APPENDIX A Empirical Methodology............................ 228

TAB A Questionnaire ....................................... 232

REFERENCE LIST .............................................. 240

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ....................................... 243



1-1 Current Expenditures per Pupil in 1980-81 Dollars.... 22

1-2 Average Current Expenditures per Pupil in Public
and Private Schools.................................. 23

2-1 Mandate Typology (Lovell) ........................... 39

2-2 Mandate Typology (ACIR, 1978)...................... 40-41

2-3 Simplified Mandate Typology (Lovell)................. 42

3-1 Distribution of Federal and State Mandates by
Type, Vertical/Horizontal, Origin, Direct Orders/
Conditions of Aid, and Function.................... 56-57

3-2 State Mandates, by Individual States: By Type,
Vertical-Horizontal Distinctions, Origin, Direct
Order and Conditions of Aid Distinctions, and
Functional Category................................ 59-60

3-3 Number of Federal and State Mandates by Estimated
Year of Imposition, by Direct Orders and
Conditions of Aid, (DO and COA)...................... 63

3-4 Number of Federal Mandates, by Type, in Each
Estimated Year of Imposition ........................ 64

3-5 State Mandates Classified by Region, State
Dominance of the Fiscal System, Population Change,
and Restrictions on Length of Legislative Session,
1976 ................................................ 68

3-6 State Mandates in 64 Noneducation Functional
Areas Classified by Region, State Dominance of
the Fiscal System Population Change, and Restrictions
on Length of Legislative Session, 1976............... 69

3-7 Comparison of State Mandation Practice in
77 Specific Program Areas............................ 70


3-8 Attitudes of State and Local Officials
Toward Appropriateness of State Mandates
in 77 Functional Areas Under Varying
Conditions of State Financial Reimbursement
by Region, 1976...................................... 73

3-9 Attitudes of State and Local Officials Toward
State Mandates That Govern Local Personnel Matters
Other Than Police, Fire and Education and the
Number of States Mandating These Activities.......... 75

3-10 Attitudes of State and Local Officials Toward
Appropriateness of State Mandates That Deal with
Local Police Matters and the Number of States
Mandating These Activities ........................... 76

3-11 Attitudes of State and Local Officials Toward
Appropriateness of State Mandates That Deal with
Local Fire Department Matters and the Number of
States Mandating These Activities.................... 77

6-1 Federal Aid as a Percentage of Local Government
Taxes and Own Source General Revenues, by
Jurisdictional Category, 1957 and 1978............... 137

6-2 Mandate Typology for Local Service Delivery System... 141

8-1 Attitude Toward Mandates ............................ 185

8-2 Displacement: Reduced Services in Principal
Areas Impacted ..................................... 190

8-3 Displacement: Deferred Projects..................... 192

8-4 Source of Funding for Mandated Actions............... 197

8-5 Discretionary Funds.................................. 198

8-6 Impact of Mandating on Personnel Operations.......... 199

8-7 The Effect of Mandating on Democratic Control........ 202

8-8 Comparative Funding Data: Pennsylvania County....... 213

Abstract of Dissertation Presented to the Graduate Council
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy



Julia Richard Ridgdill

December 1984

Chairman: William A. Kelso

Major Department; Political Science

This study sought to determine the impact that mandating has upon

the capacity of local government to meet the needs and demands of its

citizens. Mandating imposes the will of an ordinate level of government

upon a subordinate to alter its policies, processes, procedures, organ-

izational structures, or the availability of revenues. Any impact

would be demonstrated through a reduction in planned services, or the

deferral of a project. Such displacement represents the substitution

of an ordinate level priority for a locally determined priority.

The device by which mandating has been institutionalized is the

grant-in-aid. Acceptance of this grant-in-aid carries with it an

acquiescence as to the conditions that must be complied with in the

usage of these revenues. This creates a condition of dependency as

pertains to fiscal and policy considerations.

It was found that mandating creates significant barriers to the

delivery of local public goods and services. The foremost feature is

the usurpation of the policymaking role by the mandating agency. This

indicates a failure in the political system in that it did not provide

clear and definitive roles and responsibilities for the competing actors.

A second finding confirms the dependency argument. It was found that

one county must rely upon grant income for 48 percent of its revenue:

it is thus dependent upon that source; it has lost its autonomy. It

is an administrator for an ordinate agency.

The study compares sets of empirical data for Florida and

Pennsylvania. It was postulated that there would be a marked difference

in the two sets of data since Pennsylvania has a constitutional pro-

vision against mandating without reimbursement. The empirical data

strongly supports this argument. The perceived effect of mandating in

Pennsylvania was well below that for Florida. The likelihood of a

mandate creating a displacement in Florida was more than twice that

for Pennsylvania. Only one of eleven factors pertaining to personnel

mandates were disfavored by the Pennsylvania respondents while seven

of eleven were disfavored in Florida.

These findings support the general argument that government by

negotiation has been replaced by government by mandating. What is there

to negotiate? The ordinate level attains all of its goals and objectives

by mandating.




Mandating by the federal government on state governments and
by the federal and state governments on local governments has
been expanding each year in quantity, range, and scope. The
practice has proliferated to the point where its impacts have
become one of local governments' most serious concerns.
(Lovell and Tobin, 1981, p. 318)


The above quote signifies the seriousness and conflictual

nature of mandated actions. In a study conducted by the Advisory

Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) (1978) it was

clearly demonstrated that mandates have become one of the major

concerns of local governments. Likewise, it has been empirically

demonstrated by Lovell et al. (1979) that mandates create an ad-

verse relationship in numerous areas and are therefore detrimental

to the effective operation of local governments. What is lacking,

in the opinion of Lovell (1981) and MacManus (1981), is an empir-

ical evaluation of the impact of mandated actions upon the oper-

ational capability of local governments. This study addresses

that aspect of the mandate issue.


Conceptually, the study looks at proper roles for two competing

actors in the governmental arena; state level government and local

level government. Traditional roles for these two actors will be

identified and changes that have occurred will be examined. Oper-

ationally, this examination considers the impact upon the role(s)

of local government that is caused by the imposition of mandates in

two policy areas; fiscal constraints and personnel. Any resulting

impact is evaluated as to its effect in four areas that influence

the operational capabilities of local governments. Information

gained should provide an insight into the cause of concern among

officials of local governments as is evidenced in the above quote.


The history of mandating is long and varied. But only recently

has it emerged as a significant factor in the efficient and effective

operation of local governments. Significantly, at least until

recently, most problems associated with public safety, health, wel-

fare, education, and morals (e.g., the abortion issue) were considered

local in nature. As late as the 1960s some members of Congress

still argued that federal aid to education was probably unconstitu-

tional as well as undesirable. But that view has been drastically

changed by events of the past two decades. And education is but one

area that has undergone modification as pertains to traditional roles.

It is essential that the concept of mandating be examined at this

point in order to establish a basis for further discussion of the issue.

Concepts versus Usage

The conceptualization of any idea is conditioned by its usage.

Unfortunately, the concept of mandating is not clearly defined or

understood by many officials. Neiman and Lovell (1982) illustrate

this lack of understanding as follows:

It is not always realized that local governments are subjected
to forms of regulation much the same as that associated with
private businesses. In reality, local governments are at the
end of a funnel which pours forth with various forms of regu-
latory controls. While private businesses are considered to
be regulated by designated federal and state agencies, local
governments are subjected to a system of control that can be
subsumed under the title "the mandate issue." (p. 343)

It is within this context of mandates being a form of regulatory

control that the issue must be considered. For by their definition

and usage mandates are intended to regulate or control.

Mandating can be defined as any constitutional, statutory or

administrative action that either limits or places a requirement on

local governments. Although it can be argued that constraints such

as Proposition 13 (California) and Proposition 21 (Massachusetts) are

mandates, these actions must be excluded since they represent initi-

atives by the voters and therefore express the views of the constit-

uencies. Additionally, they do not represent a cost to these voters.

And to reiterate, the central issues in delineating mandates are that

costs are imposed on, or that decision-making authority is restricted

or constrained for, local government officials.

Mandates can affect either the revenue or expenditure side of

local budgets. Any action by a higher level of government that imposes

a constraint upon the capacity of a local government to generate

resources is a mandate that affects the revenue side of the budget.

Mandates that specify the performance of a new program or activity

will create an impact upon the expenditure side of the budget. These

latter actions might also specify the amount of local government

funds that can or will be spent on a given activity. Where expend-

iture restrictions are specified, local discretion is eroded.

This is not to say that all mandates are necessarily wrong.

There are valid reasons for instituting mandates. Five major reasons

have been utilized as justifications for a state to impose a require-

ment that local governments provide a service meeting certain standards

or that the local government perform a given function. First, the

state may decide that the activity is of sufficient importance that

the decision to perform the activity cannot be left to the discretion

of the local governments. A typical example of this type of mandated

activity would be any of the actions associated with environmental

protection. Second, statewide uniformity in the provision of the

service might dictate that specific criteria be established. Most

education mandates are of this type. Third, tradition may be advanced

as a justification for state mandates that historically were justified

but are not now. Fourth, mandates may be supported on the grounds

that they will promote achievement of a desirable economic or social

goal. And last, mandates have been advocated as a means of shifting

functions downward in order to reduce the cost of state operations.

Legality versus Equity

The doctrine of state supremacy over local governments provides

the legislature and the courts with authority to issue directives to

local governments. While this notion might appear to be in conflict

with the concept that municipalities possess certain inherent powers

of self-government, it nonetheless is the legal foundation for

mandating. The doctrine was established in 1868 when Judge John

F. Dillon held that municipal corporations owe their origin to, and

derive their powers and rights wholly from, the legislature. This

interpretation has subsequently been referred to as "Dillon's Rule."

In 1923 the United States Supreme Court refused to recognize an

inherent right of local self-government.

Acting upon the basis of Dillon's Rule, state legislatures have

enacted numerous special laws which affected local governments. These

mandated actions were both good and bad. Although the laws enacted

were beneficial in many instances, it also led to the abuse of legis-

lative powers. Many states have found it necessary to enact consti-

tutional amendments that prohibit the passage of special laws.

In sum, to this point, mandates are seen as actions by sanctioned

authorities to impose their will upon a subordinate level of government.

Justification for any such action might meet one of five reasons

utilized by various higher levels of government. There seems to be

one consistent element to be evaluated in the imposition of any mandate.

That element pertains to equity. It is this aspect of the mandate

issue that creates the problem.

Equity might be stated in its simplistic form as that

condition where the aggregate benefits are equal to the aggregate

losses associated with a given transaction. However, this optimum

condition rarely, if ever, exists. It is essentially for this reason

that mandates are a necessity in a complex society. The operative

question is: How can the intended outcome be achieved? And is this


outcome the best? These and similar questions have led to what is

referred to as "Public Interest Law" or the attainment and preser-

vation of equity.

Much of mandating today is closely related to the equity question,

and to the public interest. Specifically, the areas of environmental

protection, education, and civil rights account for the preponderance

of mandating activity. The element of equity is evident in each of

these areas. It is also evident that the public interest needs to be

protected in each instance. A person unfamiliar with the intricacies

of American politics and American societal conditions might well

wonder why it is necessary to have mandates in areas that are so

vital to the well-being of the nation. While mandates within these

areas clearly meet the justifications outlined above, the ACIR (1978)

study indicates that many officials expressed an opinion to the effect

that such mandated programs and activities have not achieved their

intended outcomes. The statement of a national goal or objective is

one thing; implementation is yet another. And it is this implementation

process that has caused so much concern among local officials.

Although many mandated activities are clearly justifiable there

are others that are not looked upon with the same degree of enthusiasm

by local officials. It is perhaps the magnitude of mandating more

than the substance of mandating that is so pervasive. Only 10 percent

of the mandates are programmatic; it is the remaining 90 percent -

those that are procedural in nature that cause the most problems

at the local government level. Yet in most instances the two segments

of the mandate issue are related and thus create a most difficult

problem to resolve, if such is possible or desirable.

Mandating by the federal government on state government and

mandating by the federal government and state governments on local

governments has been expanding each year in quantity, range, and

scope. The practice of mandating has proliferated to the point

where its impacts have become one of local governments' most serious

concerns. Lovell and Tobin (1981) have described the problem thusly:

The practice of mandating has reached the point where the
parameters of choice for local governments have been signif-
icantly constrained. In fact, evidence is beginning to
accumulate that mandates serve as the most important deter-
minant of local government expenditures and as the single most
important influence on local government policy making. (p. 318)

This view has been substantiated by various studies and authors as

will become evident throughout this study. Suffice it to say that a

problem does exist.

Purpose of the Study


The study will evaluate four related facets of the mandate problem:

(1) the extent of encroachment upon local government roles; (2) the

implications of mandates on federalism; (3) the implications of mandates

on democratic control; and (4) the effect that such actions have on

local service delivery systems. Each facet to be examined has a

potential for influencing the operational capability of local government.


The extent of encroachment upon traditional roles of local

government through the imposition of state mandates must be determined.

Given that there is a linkage between mandated actions and the


operational capability of local governments, the extent of encroach-

ment bears significantly upon the assignment of proper roles to

these units. Specifically, the authority to establish priorities

for programs to meet the needs and demands of the local population

must be established and evaluated so that a proper role for these

local governments can be postulated. Subsequently, this role must

be equated with the responsibility of the state governments to

initiate programs that are deemed to be universal in nature. This

question goes to the very root of the problem and is readily recog-

nized as a test of the concept of "functioning federalism."

Traditionally, government is not something which just happens.

Weldon (1947) implies that government has to be "laid on" by some-

body. In the United States, government at the lower level is laid

on in accordance with Dillon's Rule and has been since 1868. This

rule essentially says that all local governments derive what power

and authority they possess from the state. And taken to its most

rudimentary form, government can do three things:

1. First, it can permit. This is the classic example of what

governments are allowed to do. The Constitution of the United

States is the supreme device by which government is laid on in

the United States. This document permits the federal govern-

ment to do certain things. It also permits the states to do

those things which are not proscribed. It does not permit

local governments to do anything. The role of a local govern-

ment is derived from the state government. Dillon's Rule! The

exception to this occurs where "home rule" is allowed and

practiced and this aspect will be discussed in a subsequent part

of the study.


2. Second, governments can prohibit. The Constitution prohibits

both state and federal governments from doing certain things.

And both state and federal governments prohibit local govern-

ments from doing certain things.

3. Finally, governments can mandate.

It is this last capability of state and federal governments that

appears to be so bothersome to local governments and gives cause for

this study.

Mandating can be accomplished in a variety of ways. However, the

desired action is normally facilitated through a process of regulating

or by monitoring. But under either method there will be a constraint

imposed upon one or more of the following components of local

government: (1) the structure (Who runs the program?); (2) the process

(How will it work?); or (3) the policy (What are they to do?). For

example: the requirement to establish regional planning councils

prescribes a structure; the requirement that this agency review planned

construction of a given type dictates a process; and the implementing

guidelines prescribe policy. It is through this cumulative process

that changes in the traditional roles of local government are effec-


Historically, the role of local governments in the United States

did not change significantly until the 1950s. But during the past

three decades most cities have undergone a period of rapid growth -

often at the expense of the surrounding county. And with this growth

came an increase in problems, both in numbers and complexity. While

some of these problems can be attributed to legislative enactments

and judicial decrees, many were caused by social, political, and

economic forces that came to the forefront during the fifties and

sixties. Together these forces caused a multitude of changes in

the role of local governments. A corollary to these changes in roles

is that it nurtured the rise in our current concept of intergovern-

mental relations or shared responsibilities. For included in these

changes were new concepts pertaining to methods and procedures for

the determination and delivery of services for the local population.

It is not surprising that the capacity of local governments to deliver

services in an efficient and effective manner became severely taxed

due to a lack of expertise to cope with the multitude of new programs

and activities. And, as has been pointed out by Reagan (1972), in

many instances the capacity of local governments was determined to be

nonresponsive to program needs. Predictably, changes in inter-

governmental relations were implemented. As a consequence to these

imposed changes, local governments began to lose some of the autonomy

that had been their mainstay for so many decades.

But Wright (1978) concludes that during the past three decades

there was also a significant improvement in professionalism at the

local government level. Yet Neiman and Lovell (1982) conclude that

mandating by state and federal governments on local governments

increased exponentially during this same period in scope, range,

and numbers. The logical question is: Why? If the argument that

during the early sixties higher-level officials had valid reasons

to question the capabilities of lower level governments, then that

mistrust should have been negated by the increase in professionalism

at the lower levels of government during the seventies and eighties.

The rationale behind the increase in mandating must lie elsewhere.

One must therefore look at programs to which the constraints were

applied and ascertain the intended cause and effect relationship.

Traditionally, local governments have been considered the

"providers" of public goods and services while "programs" remained

the responsibility of state and federal governments. Together they

formed "the system." While most observers consider local governments

capable of performing those functions normally ascribed to the

delivery element of government some officials now feel that local

governments are responsible for administering state and federal

programs as contrasted to the delivery of services. The system began

to take on a different look with the advent of the Great Society and

Creative Federalism in the 1960s. During this period many of the

activities that had been considered "local" in nature became "national"

through the concept of Creative Federalism which envisioned the

establishment of national goals and objectives, and the provision of

funds necessary to accomplish the tasks involved. And, character-

istically,there were "strings" attached.

There are many views as to the cause and justification for the

national government to undertake such an endeavor. But it seems that

the basic reasoning for the shift of policy to a higher level can be

summarized as follows:

1. This period was marked by a rapid growth in city population -

probably associated with the post-World War II "baby boom." With

this increase in growth came an increase in demands for public

goods and services.

2. In many instances the cities were neither prepared or equipped

to cope with the added requirements placed upon their personnel

or budgets. And in some instances there was a reluctance on

the part of local officials to take the required action due to

political or institutional reasons. Consequently, citizen

reaction to the lack of satisfaction of their expressed needs

resulted in reliance upon the federal government or the judicial

system as a means of attaining their goals and objectives. These

institutions recognized the extent of the social problems in-

volved in the demands and instituted actions designed to alleviate

some of the unrest that was so prevalent.

3. There was a dramatic increase in federal grants and aid to local

governments. These added funds were intended to meet the iden-

tified needs and to forestall potential problems. Most states

and local governments readily accepted the funds even though there

were strings attached which gave the federal government the over-

seer role.

Thus, in those instances where the local government accepted the

funding for an activity, that local government had relinquished

its role as the provider of public goods and services and

defaulted to that of an administrative agency. Were this an

isolated case, the problem would be neither significant nor

evident. But, in the words of David Walker (1981), the system

is "overloaded." By "overload" Walker implies that government,

in toto, is trying to accomplish too many things at once. This

problem will be discussed further when the implication of

mandates on local service delivery is considered in Chapter VI.

This is not to say that the assumption of the overseer

role by the federal government was wrong. The need for such action


is well documented as to its justification. It is essentially a

question of federalism and is considered in greater detail in

Chapter IV where the implications of mandating upon the concepts

of federalism are discussed.

Then how prevalent is this condition? Lovell (1981) states

that evidence directly related to encroachment is beginning to

accumulate which indicates that mandated actions are the single

most dominant factor effecting the expenditure of local revenues.

But mandating is only one side of the coin in establishing priority

expenditure programs. Lack of discretionary taxes is the other

side often joined by limitations on revenue capacity. The ACIR

(1978) study found extensive evidence of these conditions. Neiman

and Lovell (1981) also indicate that mandates are quickly becoming

the most important policy-determinant factor. Thus current liter-

ature indicates that significant encroachment has occurred. The

determination of the extent of this encroachment is essential to

the assessment of its impact on the delivery systems of these local



The second area to be researched pertains to the implications

of mandated actions on federalism. David Walker (1981) indicates

that there are many observers that question whether there exists a

functioning federalism today. A more basic question might ask whether

a functioning federalism ever existed in the United States. Thomas

Dye (1973) argues that the United States has never operated under

the "layer cake" concept of Dual Federalism. And before Dye there


were others (such as Alexis de Toqueville) that were of the opinion

that the United States was a strong central government with a vast

administrative network to carry out directives. Of the modern

writers, perhaps Michael Reagan (1972) is correct in his analysis

that federalism in the formal sense is dead and has been replaced

by the more descriptive term of intergovernmental relations. It could

be that such a change has occurred in the nature of federalism that

most writers and practitioners no longer recognize its characteristics.

This all depends upon one's understanding of the term and its usage.

Federalism has two distinct connotations. First, there is the

legalistic point of view. This view is embodied in that great mass

of literature associated with the Constitution of the United States,

At the time of its inception this document was one of the greatest

inventions ever conceived as a means of dealing with social issues.

But the social problems of that day have long since been replaced by

issues that are more dynamic and complex than those for which the

Constitution was designed to accommodate. Federalism within the

legalistic concept is well suited for a static, multi-community of

people that occupy a vast amount of territory, have only minimal

intergovernmental activity, and even less emphasis on social needs.

It served its purpose well. But through the actions of the United

States Supreme Court, legislative enactments, and custom, that concept

has lost its import as a workable vehicle for dealing with current

problems of population growth and urban complexity. While the

legalistic concept of federalism remains valid in many respects, those

parts of the Constitution upon which the concept of intergovernmental

relations is based has undergone significant change. Consequently,

federalism today is depicted in terms of intergovernmental relations.

But there is a second point of view toward federalism that is

equally significant. This is the philosophical view. Within this

concept lies the notion that federalism consists of two basic actors:

a higher, or ordinate, level of actor; and a lower, or subordinate,

level of actor. It is these two features that distinguish a

federalistic form of government from a unitary form. This concept

of federalism has transferability. In sum, a nation-state is said to

exercise a federal system of government when there is a national

(the ordinate level) government and a regional (the subordinate

level) of government.

Given that, at least philosophically, government in the United

States is of the federalistic form, and that such a system should

have transferability, is it not logical to say that the same relation-

ship exists between the states and the counties and cities within

that state? All of the philosophical requirements are met. The

assumption is therefore made that states constitute the higher or

ordinate level of government and that counties/cities constitute the

lower or subordinate level of government. It is within this context

that the implications of mandated actions on federalism are to be


There are many concepts of federalism and a more definitive dis-

cussion of the subject is provided in Chapter IV. It is not the

purpose of this study to argue these concepts. What is important is

that some understanding of the role of local government under any

concept of federalism be identified. It is perhaps better to

look at respective functions and roles of each level of government

than to become tied to definitions. The identification of roles

is essential to the study of the implications of mandated actions

upon federalism.

In 1964, President Johnson announced his Great Society program

and the concept of Creative Federalism. This concept was a clear

break from the ideology contained in Dual Federalism, or the "layer

cake" model. It also differed from the "marble cake" model of

Cooperative Federalism that existed between 1901 and 1964. Beer

(1978) summarizes the contrasts between the 1930s and the 1960s as


By comparison with the New Deal model of politics, the influence
of parties and pressure groups had declined, while that of
the expert and professional had risen. Likewise, in policy
there were major departures. In their usual design, the new
social programs had certain distinctive traits: they depended
on government spending, to provide specific services, delivered
by professionally trained persons, to certain categories of
consumers, for the sake of designated outcomes. And, not least
important, they were to be carried out not directly by the
federal government but by agencies of state and local govern-
ments. (p. 20)

Thus state and local governments were co-opted as third parties in

major national efforts to govern by what Hugh Heclo (1978) has des-

cribed as "government by remote control." Creative Federalism is

envisioned by Press and VerBurg (1983) as a condition wherein the

federal government provides the funds and leadership to the states,

communities, and even private groups to solve any and all problems

while adhering to national guidelines which have been provided. The

pattern of intergovernmental relations had clearly shifted; the


system became more centralized, with the national government ex-

ercising more power. Federal laws began to state that their purpose

was to achieve national goals.

As mentioned earlier, David Walker (1981) has described Creative

Federalism as being overloaded. This complex system is considered

by Walker as having become an increasingly overburdened and dysfunc-

tional form of federalism wherein intergovernmental relations have

become more pervasive, more expansive, less manageable, less effective,

and above all less accountable. But that characterization pertains

to federalism in the more general context of national-state-local

relations. The pertinent question to this study is this: Can this

analogy be reduced in scope to that of state and local levels of

government only? The following argument to the affirmative is offered.

Given that the essential requirements of a federal system are

that there be an ordinate and a subordinate level of government, these

conditions are readily satisfied. For, by substitution, the state is

an ordinate level of government and the counties and municipalities

constitute the subordinate levels. States today perform most of the

functions that a national government performs with exceptions taken

for those functions that are specified within the Constitution of

the United States. Certainly, the magnitude of effort by some states

today far exceeds that of our national government at the time of its

origination. And most major counties and cities surpass the efforts

of most states of that era. The contention here is that the theoret-

ical components of federalism have applicability when only the

relationships between state and local governments are being considered.


Thus Walker's characterization, and that of Michael Reagan or many

other federalists, are equally valid when the scope of actors is

reduced to the state-local arena.

Thus we can see that there are varying concepts of federalism.

It is obvious that we no longer have the "layer cake" model of

federalism, if, in fact, it ever existed. This new ideology has

seriously altered the traditional concept of federalism. Of great

import here is the effect that this change in intergovernmental

relations has on the delivery of services to the local population.

For Creative Federalism, with its stated national goals and object-

ives, has usurped the authority of the local government to establish

priorities for programs deemed essential by local officials, and

replaced them with national programs. This has been accomplished

through mandating. Such actions have been applied across the entire

spectrum of functions. No longer are certain functions reserved for

local governments. Rather, local governments might be considered an

administrative arm of the state and federal system.

Democratic Control

The third area to be researched is that of the implication of

mandated actions on the processes of democratic control. This is

one of the more central questions to be considered. Again, the

question pertains to role: Has the role of local government as an

autonomous level of government been eroded, and, if so, to what

extent? This question of autonomy is highly significant. The debate

between Jefferson and Hamilton was never clearly resolved. To this

extent the Constitution of the United States is a compromise. The

role of the local government as a clearly autonomous level or

partner in the intergovernmental relations arena was never fully

established during the Constitutional Convention of 1787. But

in 1868 the role of local government was clarified by what is now

referred to as Dillon's Rule. Although local governments might

very well be "creatures of the state" according to the judicial

interpretation by Judge Dillon, they are perceived as the provider

of services by the population that it serves. And it is this as-

pect of the mandated issue that is so pervasive. Who exercises

control over the establishment of priorities for programs? Who

sets the delivery schedule? And is this control exercised through

a democratic process?

An essential element of democratic control is accountability.

There are two forms of accountability that must be addressed: (1)

fiscal accountability; and (2) political accountability. If we are

to enjoy the benefits of democratic control we must insure that

those that are elected and trusted to represent us do in fact meet

their obligation. If they do not, then it is incumbent upon the

electors to hold these officials accountable at the ballot box. But

can these objectives be accomplished? Can we hold an elected

official accountable when the programs which the official administers

were directed upon him by some sanctioned higher authority? Does

Creative Federalism allow for effective accountability at the lower

level? Can there be accountability under a system where authority

and responsibility have been compromised through the institutional-

ization of mandated actions?


Then where does the control exist? Is it exercised at the

ordinate level of government with its policy of setting goals for

all problems? Is it at the state level with its implementation of

Dillon's Rule? Or, is it exercised through some different but

unrecognized system such as that inherent in the intergovernmental

relations concept? We know that changes have been imposed on the

system. Such change must have an impact upon the democratic control

process. Only if we know and understand the nature of the change,

and the methods by which control is exercised, can we evaluate the

overall impact that mandated actions have on accountability. And

accountability, both political and fiscal, must be assessed in terms

of role assignments.

Local Service Delivery

The fourth, and final, aspect of the problem to be researched

pertains to the implications of mandated actions on local service

delivery. Accomplishment of this task requires that transaction

costs which are inherent in any delivery system be identified. The

objective of the delivery system should be to provide optimum amounts

of "goods" or "services" to the intended recipients. This implies

that the system must be responsive to the needs and demands of the

local population if these goods and services are to have value.

Further, it implies an efficient and effective delivery system. But

do we have such a system at the present time? Consider the following:

1. Given that state-local-government today is best characterized

as Creative Federalism as modified in the above discussion, it

is logical to assume that most policies and programs originate

at the state level. Implementation of these programs is

normally through a state agency and characteristically will

prescribe mandate the attainment of specified goals and

objectives as well as requirements for recordkeeping and

reporting by the local governments that must accomplish the

intended activity. The question now becomes one of intent.

Is the program envisioned to be a bureaucratic exercise? Who

are the intended recipients of the public goods and services?

What are the transaction costs involved? And what percent of

the funds will the beneficiaries receive in the form of in-

tended public goods and services? Will the intended bene-

ficiaries receive a fair share of the funds, or will it become

a welfare program for the benefit of the service providers?

In many instances these transaction costs consume a

disproportionate share of the funds designated for a given project

due to a lack of knowledge of such costs. Consider the data contained

in Table 1-1. In 1970-71 the expenditure per pupil in the public

schools of the United States was $1,982 with 49.2 percent of that

amount being spent for teachers' salaries. In 1980-81 the expenditure

had increased to $2,553 per pupil but only 38.7 percent was spent

for teachers' salaries. Thus teachers' salaries (per pupil) increased

from $975 to $984 but "other" costs rose from $1,007 to $1,554. This

reduction in percentage for teachers' salaries took place despite an

increase in teacher-pupil ratios. The increase in "other" shows a

striking measure of the cost associated with the rise of bureaucracy

over the period. It is interesting to note that this increase in

bureaucracy coincided with the increase in non-local funding for

Table 1-1

Current Expenditures Per Pupil in 1980-81 Dollars

Year Total Teachers Others Percent for
Salaries Teacher Salaries

1970-71 $1,982 $ 975 $1,007 49.2

1975-76 2,343 1,044 1,299 44.6

1980-81 2,553 989 1,564 38.7

Note. From West, 1983, p. 3.


Table 1-2

Average Current Expenditures Per Pupil in Public and Private Schools

School Average Public Private

1976-77 $1,353 $1,544 $760

1977-78 1,512 1,736 819

Note. From West, 1983, p. 4.


school operations. Now look at the data presented in Table 1-2.

The expenditure per pupil in private schools remained at less than

half of the public school amount. With knowledge of these trans-

action costs, officials are in a position to look for alternative

means for accomplishing objectives. Without this knowledge they are

subject to making a faulty decision.

2. A recent study (Morris, 1980) indicates that only twenty percent

of the funds appropriated for the benefit of welfare recipients

in New York City actually resulted in the delivery of public

goods or services to the intended recipients. The remaining

eighty percent went to the "providers" of these goods and services.

This illustrates the futility and frustration involved in

attempting to attain a national (or major metropolitan) goal

unless the transaction costs are recognized and considered.

Logic demands that the equity of such systems be questioned. Does

the system meet the needs and demands of the local population? Does

it provide the intended public goods and services? What is the

citizens' perception of such a system?

As the scope and substance of mandates have increased, local

expressions of frustration and discontent have mushroomed. The

following specific areas have been identified by Neiman and Lovell


1. The impact of state and federal mandates on the capacity of

local governments to participate effectively as partners in

the intergovernmental system;

2. Citizens' fears that requirements imposed on localities undermine

the accountability of local officials to local populations.

3. Citizens' concern that federal and state mandates are in-

flexible and insufficiently tailored to reflect local circum-

stances; and,

4. Citizens' anxiety regarding the decreasing portion of the local

jurisdiction's resources that could be characterized as

"discretionary" since greater proportions of local resources

must be allocated to satisfy mandated procedures and programs.

These and many more questions must be asked and answered where

possible. These answers will facilitate analysis of the impact that

mandated actions have upon the ability of local governments to be

responsive and representative to local populations.

Research Orientation


There are many ways to examine the possible relationships between

mandated actions and the ability of local governments to provide

public goods and services. But from a practical point of view, the

use of comparative analysis seems to be the most feasible. The

principal reason for this is that we must determine which theory, or

concept, of federalism is being applied. Comparative analysis will

facilitate such an evaluation.

The geographical base for the study will be a nine county area

located in the North Central Florida region. This area consists of

rural counties with small to medium-sized cities. There exists

within this geographical area a number of governments that possess

many traditional characteristics such as those evident in the early

1900s. Some of these local governments have not changed significantly


in the past several decades. Conversely, the region does contain

an area that is known for its rapid growth. This contrast is very

important to the conduct of the study. First, the relative lack

of change will allow the researcher to perform a longitudinal anal-

ysis of the methods used by these local governments to determine

needs and demands, and the delivery systems used to meet these ex-

pectations. Second, the rapid change phenomenon facilitates the

evaluation of the effect that rapid growth has on the ability of

local governments to determine and deliver service requirements.

And last but not least, the variety of governments affords an ideal

opportunity to compare like programs under varying conditions and

environments. The testing of an appropriate hypothesis among these

various configurations of governmental units will reduce the proba-

bility that other factors may have influenced the findings.

As stated above, the initial phase of the study will be

concentrated in the North Central Florida region. However, the

study should have transferability. A similar test, but on a smaller

scale, will be conducted in the Lehigh Valley area of Pennsylvania.

This locale was selected for two reasons: (1) Pennsylvania is one

of the few states that has a Constitutional Amendment against man-

dating by the state legislature without reimbursement to the local

governments (even though the limitation is only partial in nature);

and (2) the area has many characteristics similar to the base area

but with different environmental conditions. The results of this

phase should prove very interesting while providing additional

insights into the problem of state mandates. The methodology used

for this element of the study will be similar to that used in



The mandate issue, per se, has had limited empirical study.

Available literature indicates that the majority of these studies

have addressed the question of type and magnitude, with some

notable exceptions in the area of fiscal impacts. Earlier it was

noted that there seems to be a void when it comes to validating

the impact of mandating on the ability of the local governments to

provide services in accordance with the expressed needs and demands

of the constituencies. According to Neiman and Lovell (1981) this

lack of empirical study is equally relevant regarding the impact

of mandating on policy dependency. The pertinent question therefore

seems to be: Does the substantial and enlarging fiscal and policy

dependency matter for the health of local government and for the

health of the intergovernmental system?

A healthy intergovernmental system might be defined as one

where articulated variety is the norm. The system would be one as

we have known it in which various flexible systems of interrelation-

ships are developed without consistent division of responsibility

or a dominant central authority but with a capacity for joint action.

As a part of this system, the "healthy" local governments must be

a partner with power of its own and some reciprocal dependence by

the state government on it. In brief, the healthy local government

must have the capacity to respond to local problems and to meet the

diverse needs of its citizens. It must have sufficient autonomy and

capacity to enter into new bargaining and relationships on behalf

of its citizens as new possibilities are generated. Whether the

enlarged fiscal and policy dependencies are limiting or impacting

in a negative manner upon local government capacity when defined

in these terms is the question that must be answered.

It is within this rationale that research will be initiated

to test the hypothesis that there is a cause and effect relation-

ship between mandated actions and the ability of local governments

to deliver services and to bargain on behalf of the local population.

The study will be very restrictive as to the mandated actions

that are to be used. First, only state mandates will be considered.

Second, only two policy areas will be used: fiscal constraints and

personnel. Each of these areas, however, contain several constraints

or imposed limitations that are interrelated. To reiterate, the

purpose of the study is to evaluate the impact of mandated actions

on the operational capability of local governments; the fact that

such mandates create fiscal impacts has been established. What is

needed is an assessment of the change caused by these impacts.

Limiting the study to state mandates within the two policy areas

indicated will facilitate such an analysis. The question then

becomes: What changes, if any, have occurred as a result of the

mandate, and what has been the effect of this change on the opera-

tional capability of the local government? Only after the change

has been identified can the impact on operational capability be



This chapter establishes the basis for an examination of the

mandate issue. Although there exists considerable empirical research

on the quantitive and universal nature of the mandate issue, there

is a lack of study pertaining to the impact of mandating on the

operational capability of local governments. This brings to the

fore the question of legality versus equity which forms the basis

for the study.

An overview of the various facets of the problem that are to

be researched was provided. First, the extent of encroachment is

to be determined. This phase of the study focuses on traditional

roles of local government and the extent to which mandating impacts

upon these roles. Secondly, the implications of mandating upon the

precepts of federalism is to be assessed. Inasmuch as government in

the United States is of the federal form, it is imperative that the

study address the change in the concepts of federalism that has

occurred as a result of mandating. Thirdly, the study looks at the

implication of mandating upon democratic control. Simply stated, it

seeks to determine if mandating has altered accountability at the

local level of government. Finally, the implication of mandating

upon local service delivery capabilities will be examined.

The methodology involves local governments from two regions:

Florida and Pennsylvania. This dual approach to the problem facili-

tates comparative analysis of aggregated data pertaining to two

environmentally different regions but based on like variables. The

rationale for the study is to determine if local governments are

becoming dependent upon the ordinate level of government in the areas

of fiscal operations and policymaking. Comparative analysis of the

data will assist in determining if mandating has eroded the capacity

of local governments to provide needed services and to bargain on

behalf of the local population.


The Problem

It would be difficult to find an issue that sparks more resent-
ment among local officials than that caused by state mandatess.
(ACIR, 1978, p. 1)


Mandates are of prime concern to many local government officials,

as is indicated by the above quote. Yet there are others that hold

an opposing view. One's perception of mandates is colored by the

benefits that are accorded to the position held by that person. From

a pragmatic point of view, if an official is in a position to imple-

ment a given policy or procedure through the imposition of a mandate

then that person has reason to favor the use of mandates. Conversely,

if the recipient of the mandate foresees some deleterious impact

upon the operation of a function for which he or she has responsibility

then that person probably looks upon mandates with relative disfavor.

Thus, by their very nature, mandates are likely to cause conflict

between varying levels of government.

In reality, any discussion of mandates is a discussion of

intergovernmental relations and the question of overlapping juris-

dictions. Intergovernmental relations is often thought of as a new,

more comprehensive term for federalism. Federalism implies

successive levels of government. And this sort of an arrange-

ment encourages conflict due to the lack of a strong, central

authority. Therefore, it should not come as any surprise to find

that conflict between levels of government has prevailed through-

out the history of the United States. It was conflict that caused

the demise of the Articles of Confederation. There was conflict

evident in the development of the Constitution of the United States.

But these are extreme examples of ideological conflict. Conflict

as associated with mandated actions is a more recent phenomenon and

one which relates to changes in the methods of policy formulation

which were precipitated by alteration of traditional concepts of

intergovernmental relations. In sum, as was pointed out by Graves

(1964), the mandate issue is but the most recent expression of long-

standing friction and uneasiness among localities, their respective

states, and, occasionally, the federal regime.


There are many definitions of the term mandate. However, the

distinguishing feature of any mandated action is the imposition of

a policy or procedure by a higher level of government on a lower

level of government. The most commonly accepted definition is that

used by Lovell et al. (1979), which is:

A mandate is any responsibility, action, procedure, or
anything else that is imposed by constitutional, legis-
lative, administrative, executive or judicial action as
a direct order or that is imposed as a condition of aid.

Direct orders are those impositions from sanctioned authority which

establish requirements of local governments, while conditions-of-

aid are impositions that are contingent upon the acceptance of

assistance by the recipient local government. Direct order mandates

take the following form:

Locality X (will, shall, must, and the like) do Y.

Conditions-of-aid mandates take the following form:

If locality X accepts assistance from Y,then Z must be done.

Such a broad definition of mandate can be questioned as to its

validity in all instances where a local government is required to

accomplish a given policy or procedure. But this does not negate

the value of such a definition. The definition should meet the needs

of the particular usage intended. Thus,if the purpose is to under-

take an inventory (such as that accomplished by Lovell et al.) then

the broad definition is a necessity. Likewise, if the intent is to

study the impact of mandated actions on the operational capabilities

of local governments a broad definition should be used. The study

will have validity only if all of the factors which influence an

outcome are available for inclusion as variables. While any mandate

might have an impact and this impact might be either positive or

negative it is the cumulative effect that is of concern.

Mandated actions as we know them today have evolved from what

Lovell et al. (1979) refer to as the "triple squeeze": (1) greater

demands for services by the community; (2) increased pressure from

state government and federal government to alter the processes of

local government; and (3) lack of resource capacity at the local

level which leads to greater dependence on state and federal

resources. Given that this assessment is valid,it is easy to see

how a dependency-cycle could be formed. But with the ready

availability of these non-local resources came "strings" which

imposed certain restrictions as to the usage of the funds by the

recipient local government. In many instances these restrictions

not only specified the "what" but also the "how." And herein

begins the debate over mandates.

Mandated actions began to assume a significant role in

intergovernmental relations during the early 1960's. There are

two significant factors that have intensified the impact of mandating

on local governments. First, it was during this period that federal-

local (and sometimes federal-private) relationships increased in

quantity and scope. Second, the 1960's mark the beginning of an

era where mandated actions began to increase significantly in all

aspects of the problem. As the federal government increased its

impositions upon the local governments, state governments simul-

taneously increased their impositions. Not only was there an increase

in numbers but there was a corresponding change in the range and

scope of the mandates. It is this cumulative effect of a change

in operational policy coupled with the dramatic rise in mandated

actions that gives cause for concern among so many officials of local


This is not to say that all mandates are wrong for there can be

many valid reasons for imposing a given policy or procedure. Using

Moore and Morin (1980) as a basic text for discussing the advantages

for mandating, the following might be cited as valid reasons for



1. The state may decide through its legislative processes that

the activity or service is of sufficient statewide importance

that the decision to undertake the endeavor cannot be left to

the discretion of the local government (e.g., a policy pertain-

ing to water management in a state such as Florida);

2. Statewide uniformity in the provision of a service may be

deemed essential (e.g., voter registration procedures);

3. A mandate may be required in order to promote an economic or

social goal (e.g., requirement that all children be inoculated

prior to entering school).

Under circumstances such as those cited above, the question is not

whether the mandate is good or bad. The question is one of who

should bear the cost of implementing the mandate.

The Definitional Challenge

There are four issues involved in the determination of an

appropriate definition of the term "mandate." These have been

identified by Lovell et al. (1979) as:

1. What governmental entities should be included as mandating

agencies (legislative, administrative, executive, judicial)?

2. Should requirements pertaining to procedures as well as

requirements pertaining to programs be considered mandates?

3. Should requirements that are imposed as conditions-of-aid be

considered as mandates? and,

4. Whether constraints on revenue should be considered as mandates?

Each of the four issues present valid points for debate. But, in


general, local governments tend to accept a definition that includes

the four issues while the mandating agency takes exception to one

or more of the issues.

To reiterate a point made earlier, the determinant feature of

any mandate is the imposition of a requirement or constraint on a

lower government. If this statement is accepted, then valid reasons

can be provided for including each of the issues within the broad

definition of mandates. First, is it logical to assume that only

the legislative branch of government has the sanctioned authority to

impose a requirement on a local government? Hardly so, but that

appears to be the criterion used by the Florida Advisory Council on

Intergovernmental Relations to create its Catalogue of State Mandates,

BO-7, July 1980. Consider the following quotes from the cited

publication: "This report compiles the majority of statutory

mandates and thereby presents the most comprehensive picture to

date of Florida's mandate activity, even though it excludes agency

rules and regulations, executive orders, and judicial decrees" (p. 1).

And in a subsequent section:

The narrower definition excludes statutes that implement
constitutional mandates, such as the duties and respons-
ibilities of constitutional officers; most 'conditions-
of-aid', i.e. those which require matching funds from
local sources; in general, any mandate that would readily
be deemed of statewide necessity, such as numerous law
enforcement functions; and finally, mandates that attempt
to achieve uniformity or that are uniformly applied in
both public and private sectors, such as workman's compen-
sation and unemployment compensation. (p. 7)

This is not to criticize the publication nor the limited definition

utilized. Rather it is to demonstrate the vast differences that

occur in the discussion of mandates. The catalogue is intended to


serve as a basis for re-examination of past statutory mandates.

While it no doubt meets the intended purpose, it falls short of

providing information needed to evaluate the mandate issue.

The second issue, whether to include procedures as mandates,

is even more evident. In their comprehensive inventory of mandates,

Lovell et al. (1979) found that some 81.8 percent of federal

mandates were procedural in nature and state mandates were only

slightly lower at 80.8 percent. It is illogical to exclude such

a preponderance of mandates from consideration simply because they

are "procedural" in nature. Given that 84 percent of these mandates

result in a cost to the local jurisdiction their exclusion would

seriously distort any evaluation of the mandate issue. This is

particularly true as to the workload involved.

The question as to whether conditions-of-aid requirements should

be considered as mandates has less quantitative support than does

the procedures question. The findings by Lovell et al. (1979)

indicate that 82 percent of the federal mandates meet the conditions-

of-aid criteria as compared to 18 percent in the direct order category.

For state mandates the percentages are reversed with some 95 percent

of the state mandates being in the direct order category. Thus, to

some extent, it depends on whether one is discussing state mandates

or federal mandates. However, statistical data can be misleading.

The areas to which conditions-of-aid mandates have been imposed are

significant in terms of scope and fiscal impact. Many times the

decision pertaining to the acceptance of resources must be made on

the cost of not accepting the aid. For example, the Environmental

Protection Agency has mandated the standards for waste treatment

facilities. Many jurisdictions cannot meet these standards with

existing treatment facilities. Concurrent with the establishment

of the waste treatment standards was the authorization of federal

funds for construction of waste treatment facilities. However,

acceptance of this assistance dictates compliance with a variety

of "strings" such as inspection criteria, Davis-Bacon Act wage

rates, etc. In this set of circumstances most local governments

would have to accept the aid since they are not in a position to

meet established EPA criteria without the new facility and cannot

finance the facility from available resources. Does this set of

circumstances qualify as a mandated action? Logic says that it

does. And more significantly, it is perceived by local officials

as a mandate.

The final issue pertains to the question as to whether constraints

on revenue are to be considered as mandates. Fiscal constraints

represent the most troublesome of all mandates. It is one thing

to tell a local government to spend their resources to accomplish

a given requirement but where does the funding come from that is to

finance the operation? Local governments do not have unlimited

sources of revenue. The one source that is available, and most used,

is the property tax. And this method of revenue generation is the

one that is the most vulnerable to voter response. Virtually all

states impose some form of constraint or limitation on property

taxation. Additionally, this limitation is often coupled with a

limitation on expenditures. The ACIR (1978) study cites the comments

of a state municipal league executive director as an example of

the sentiments of local officials:


Mandates are one side of the coin in establishing priority
expenditure programs. Lack of discretionary taxes is the
other side . often joined by limitations on revenue
capacity. Our greatest problem is lack of revenue authority,
but don't give us revenue and then spend it through state
mandates. Give us the revenue authority for our priorities
. and reimburse us for your priorities. That's about
as clear as I can say it. (p. 50)

Thus it appears that there is a valid basis for concern by local


In sum, there are many good and valid justifications for includ-

ing, or excluding, a given type of activity within the definition

of the term "mandate." Its definition should be that which the

researcher requires for fulfillment of intended purposes. It does

seem more appropriate to be all inclusive in the definition and to

utilize a typology to disaggregate those activities that are of

minimal concern.


The purpose of any typology is to provide categorization of

data. There have been many attempts at developing a standard or

universal typology for the mandate issue. Such a classification is

doubtful at the present due to the relative lack of empirical study

of the mandate universe. There are, however, three examples of

mandate typologies that warrant discussion. Table 2-1 is the typology

that was used by Lovell et al. (1979) for the purpose of developing

the mandate inventory. Table 2-2 is the typology developed by

Zimmerman for the ACIR (1978) study. At Table 2-3 is a simplified

version of the Lovell et al. typology. Although there are obvious

differences each serve the needs of the user.

Table 2-1

Mandate Typology



es of Federal and State Mandate

I. Requirements

A. Programmatic

1. Program

2. Program Quality

3. Program Quantity

B. Procedural

1. Reporting

2. Performance

3. Fiscal

4. Personnel

5. Planning/Evaluation

6. Record-keeping

7. Residual

II. Constraints

A. Revenue Base

B. Revenue Rate

C. Expenditure Limits

od of Imposition

I. Direct Order

II. Condition of Aid

Application Parameters

I. Vertical

II. Horizontal

Note. From Lovell et al., 1979, p. 34.

Table 2-2

Mandate Typology

1. "Rule of the game mandates," relating to the organization and
procedures of local governments, such as:
a. the form of government
b. the holding of local elections
c. the designation of public officers and their responsibilities
d. the requirement of "due process" with respect, for example,
to the administration of justice and the tax law
e. state safeguards designed to protect the public from
malfeasance by local public officeholders
f. provisions of the criminal justice code that defines crimes
and mandates punishment
2. "Spillover" or service mandates, dealing with new programs or enrich-
ment of existing programs, that is:
a. education
b. health
c. welfare
d. hospitals
e. environment (clean air, clean water, etc)
f. transportation (non-local)
3. "Interlocal equity" mandates, requiring localities to act or refrain
from acting to avoid injury to or conflict with neighboring juris-
dictions. Mandates of this type would include, but not be re-
stricted to, regulatory and supervisory state roles in such areas as:
a. local land use regulations
b. tax assessment procedures and review
c. environmental standards
4. "Loss of local tax base" mandates, where the state removes property
or selected items from the local tax base, excluding tax exempt
property. Examples would be:
a. exemption of business inventories from local property tax base
b. exemption of food and medicine from sales tax


Table 2-2--continued

5. "Personnel" mandates, including (a) personnel standards (edu-

cational training, licensing and certification) of those local

employees who carry out state-aided programs; (b) mandates

affecting personnel benefits where the state sets salary or wage

levels, hours of employment, or working conditions; and (c)

mandates affecting retirement benefits.

Note. From Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1978,
pp. 5-6.

Table 2-3

Simplified Mandate Typology

Type of Mandate

I. Revenue/Expenditure Limits

A. general

B. specific revenue

C. specific expenditure

II. Min output quantity requirements

III. Min output quality requirements

IV. Procedural requirements

A. general

B. specific


overall spending limit

limit of user charges

limit on retirement pay

operation of animal shelter

environmental controls

reporting procedures

guideline for disaster

Note. From Lovell et al., 1979, p. 87.

The typology designed and utilized by Lovell et al. (1979)

(Table 2-1) provides an ideal arrangement for the observer to focus

on any given dimension from policy analysis to research. It is

especially useful for broad spectrum considerations since it readily

facilitates sampling an essential requirement in many instances.

To quote Lovell et al.: "We could find no mandate among the nearly

5,000 inventories, that did not fit readily into the typology"

(p. 42).

The ACIR typology at Table 2-2 contains some interesting concepts.

It attempts to organize around the impact or output dimension as

contrasted to a functional or type classification. Further develop-

ment of this concept should prove highly advantageous to future study

of the mandate universe. This typology was used by Zimmerman (1976)

to study state-local relationships and by MacManus (1981) to evaluate

the impact of mandating on the financial condition of municipalities.

But neither of the typologies presented thus far meets all

situations. At times there is a need for a more simplified typology

such as that at Table 2-3. Such a typology should include only

those features that contribute to the generation of useful data. A

key feature of this type of typology is the use of valid assumptions

which allows the researcher to aggregate certain aspects of the

problem and to treat this aggregate as a single variable. This tech-

nique was used by Lovell et al. (1979) when working with the

analytical model and was based on two assumptions: (1) budget

impacts are not sensitive to the administrative level of local

government charged with carrying out the mandate; and (2) certain

mandate types from the typology presented as Table 2-1 can be

portrayed just as well as mixed cases or modified special cases

of those in the simplified typology. Specifically, in this instance,

the simplified mandate typology was used by Lovell et al. since

it "accords with the most abstract view of the fiscal dimension of

government; an institution which collects revenues and spends them

to provide local public goods in response to the collective preferences

of its constituents" (p. 88).

In sum, the format of the typology does not appear to be as

significant as the purpose of the typology. The typology at Table

2-1 is ideally suited for identification and categorization of data.

Table 2-2 facilitates the measurement of output or impact. And Table

2-3 is designed to generate specific information.

State Versus Local Conceots


As stated earlier, it would be difficult to find an issue that

sparks more resentment among local officials than that caused by

state mandates. While virtually all observers of state-local re-

lations agree that state governments must be allowed wide latitude

on the mandating front, there is sharp disagreement on how far states

should move into certain controverted areas. The real question

becomes: can state mandates be sufficiently differentiated between

"appropriate" and "inappropriate" state directives?

Local authorities are especially bitter over the "end run play"--

actions by which local employees representatives obtain from the

state legislature more generous personnel benefits on a mandated

basis than they could obtain through negotiation with locally

elected officials. But mandating goes far beyond personnel benefits.

It covers the gamut of local government activities ranging from

educational programs (where state interest is clearly strong) to

such items as parks and recreation programs (where local policies

would be expected to be controlling). While mandates are used to

achieve more uniform service levels, and more professional standards

for employees and other legitimate statewide objectives, the state

legislature can also become the hunting ground where narrowly focused

special interest groups seek to capture for themselves or their

constituencies a larger slice of the local expenditures. Thus the

frequent imposition of special interest demands from "on high"

necessitates a constant reordering of local priorities. For these

reasons, the local governments resentment to state mandates often

goes far beyond the fiscal concern over added costs. Stated simply,

state mandates substitute state priorities for local priorities.

Several justifications have been offered in defense of mandates:

the need to assure minimum statewide service levels or a more

uniform level of service throughout the state; to develop profes-

sional standards for employees; or to implement state social or

economic policy objectives. There can be little disagreement as to

the desirability for these actions. It must also be emphasized that

there is little or no controversy over many mandates, particularly

those relating to the organization and procedures of local governments.

Such mandates are justified to prescribe the form of local government,

the holding of local elections, and the designation of public officers

and their responsibilities. Due process and "safeguard type"

mandates are necessary to ensure, for example, the equitable admin-

istration of justice and the tax laws and to protect the public

from malfeasance. State mandates of a supervisory nature are also

necessary to require localities to act or to refrain from acting so

as to avoid injury to, or conflict with, neighboring jurisdictions.

It must also be acknowledged that expenditure mandates can

provide local officials with a convenient scapegoat when it becomes

necessary to increase taxes. State legislators can be blamed for

the unpopular action even though in some cases local officials may

have urged state legislators to enact the proposed mandate. They

have been used frequently in recent years both because state legis-

lators are reluctant to raise state taxes in response to demands of

the public, and due to the fact that the courts are demonstrating

an increasing willingness to order improvements in service standards.

The legislature consequently is tempted to mandate local governments

to provide the service increase and let local officials figure out

how to pay for it.

Use as a Policy Device

State mandates are most solidly grounded when there is a clear

statewide policy objective to be achieved. This criterion, designed

to include what is commonly alluded to as "benefit spillovers" in

the literature, however, is difficult to measure and apply operation-

ally. The problem of sorting out functions or functional components

where state mandates might be more readily defended is further

complicated by the fact that there are few areas that can be considered

to be wholly state or wholly local in interest. The differences

then are differences of degree not differences of kind and such

differences are not well articulated by benefit spillover cali-


If benefit spillovers are not a sufficiently precise measuring

rod for gauging the continuum of functions from highly state to

highly local interest, it provides at least one criterion that has

been used to assign functional responsibility between governmental

levels. The ACIR (1979) study concludes that functions such as

education, highways, welfare, health-hospitals, and environmental

concerns are "intergovernmental" in nature while those such as fire,

police and trash removal are more local as contrasted to a state

concern. This division, however, refers to broad functional areas

and not by implication to each program area or activity within such

functions. It is at the more micro or subprogram level then that

the spillover effects are difficult to operationalize. Although

benefit spillovers might be a rough measure, they are at least a

necessary measure that must suffice until better means are available

to distinguish statewide matters from purely local ones.

The "Relativist" View

The "relativist" point of view holds that mandates are a part of

state-local relations. This point of view contends that mandates do

not stand alone and are best evaluated in the context of the total

state-local legal and fiscal framework. While benefit spillover

considerations are indeed important there are other factors, fiscal

and political, that are essential to the determination of the


appropriateness of any given state mandate. Some of these factors

are: application of "home rule" concepts; state-aid; accessibility

of local governments to other own-source revenues; and the existing

state-local fiscal system. Together these factors tend to make

mandating a highly complex area that is not conducive to policymaking.

Accompanying, but not synonymous with,the relativist viewpoint is the

philosophical belief that the state government has the right and the

responsibility, at least in certain areas, to set local priorities

so as to achieve statewide objectives. In general, the values of

home rule and local initiative are downplayed; the viewpoint that

local governments are the "creatures" of the state is emphasized.

The "Purist" View

A second point of view takes a harder stance on the need to

establish criteria to evaluate the appropriateness of state mandates.

Relativism, while suggesting various additional factors, is nonethe-

less objected to because the very multiplicity of factors offered

can easily lead to an indeterminate result albeit one reached by

considering various objective measures of state-local relations. If

various factors are to be considered, which are the most important?

How are they to be determined and weighted in the decision-making


The crux of this more "purist" point of view is that a truly

statewide concern must be clearly established before the state has

a right to impose its mandates on local governments.

Buttressing this position, though again not necessarily synon-

ymous with it, is the belief that cities in general and certain

urban counties are not simply the administrative arms of the

state that these local jurisdictions should be allowed to exer-

cise a substantial degree of independence. The upward drift of

decisionmaking authority, from local government to the state, is

felt to be fostered by mandates that are ill-considered and

indiscriminate in scope, with the result that locally determined

priorities are substantially constrained.

Perhaps the strongest argument in support of the purist view

is that of fiscal accountability that those that want to mandate

new programs should also accept the responsibility of meeting at

least a part of the added costs. In short, there should be a nexus

between the pleasure of new expenditures and the pain of additional


Once a statewide policy objective is determined, the question

of state reimbursement for mandated costs comes to the fore. On

this question, the differences between the two schools of thought

are somewhat less sharp. The benefit spillover criterion, applicable

mainly to such functions as education, highways and health mandates,

suggest that such mandates be jointly financed, partly by the state

and partly by local governments. Spillover considerations in the

main, then, help resolve the financial responsibility question -

that is, state reimbursement for the purists. This, plus additional

fiscal and political considerations, leads to a justification of

partial state financing for the relativists. Both schools agree,

however, that mandates affecting services, either new programs or

enhancement of existing services, should not be financed wholly by

local governments, as is presently the case in virtually all states.

By way of an analogy, state mandates affecting program service

levels; education, health, highways, etc., can be considered as an

alternative to grants-in-aid. If a new program or an enrichment

of an existing program is the state objective, the grant device

recognizes the state financing role; the mandate ignores it.

To be sure, separating out the state from the local interest

in a given program or subprogram area is difficult and is unlikely

to yield a precise delineation of the statewide interest (to be

financed by the state) from the benefits to be retained locally.

Yet, while the division of financial responsibility for state mandates

may be no more than rough justice, the principle of partial state

financing, say 50 percent, would work in the direction of removing

fiscal inequities that stem from the present pattern of mandating

practice that is generally characterized by no state reimbursement.


This chapter highlights the evolution of the mandating process.

Due to its conflictual nature, mandating readily became an item of

debate. An insight into the definitional challenge was provided.

It is evident from the arguments presented that no clear definition

or understanding of the concept of mandating prevails. Rather, the

opinion held by a given actor is dependent upon the role played by

that actor. While the practitioner, generally, looks with disfavor

upon the idea of mandating, there exists a large group of authors

and officials that are of the opinion that mandating is essential,

at least in certain specified areas.


A key element in the study of mandating pertains to the use

of grants and conditions-of-aid by the ordinate level of government.

Such sources of revenue normally contain some form of constraint on

the usage of these funds by the recipient local government. It was

pointed out that in some instances a local jurisdiction might be

forced into accepting these constraints, not through choice but as

an only means of complying with another mandate.

The typology utilized to accumulate and aggregate information

is of utmost importance. The choice of a given typology is depend-

ent upon the intended purpose of the research.

Finally, the arguments of state and local officials were presented.

This was demonstrated through the "Relativist" and the "Purist

points of view.


The National-Level Data


The previous chapters have established a rationale for studying

the mandate issue. The question now becomes one of determining the

extent to which mandating has encroached upon traditional roles of

local government. A good idea of this extent can be obtained by

considering the available empirical data pertaining to the magnitude

and nature of mandates. This should provide a reliable measure of

the degree of encroachment that has occurred. But such evaluation

must be conditioned by definitional and usage terminology; specifi-

cally, what is meant by encroachment and what definitions were used

in aggregating the data that is to be evaluated.

Three basic sets of data are to be evaluated. Each set of

data is based on a different definition of the term "mandate," and,

indeed, some variation as to its usage. First, the mandate inventory

created by Lovell et al. (1979) will be used to provide an idea of

the universal nature of the problem. This listing is based on a

rather broad definition of mandate. Second, the report prepared by

the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) (1978)

will be utilized to focus the study toward mandates at the state

level. This report focuses on some seventy-seven specific program

areas where state-initiated mandates have been imposed. Finally,

the Catalogue of State Mandates published by the Florida Advisory

Council on Intergovernmental Relations in 1980 provides the basis

for localizing the study. This catalogue is very restrictive in

its application of the term since it includes legislative mandates

only. This process of multi-level evaluation will provide a more

complete view of the quantity, range, and scope of the mandate issue.

But it is the encroachment aspect of mandating that begs to be

answered. Encroachment is defined as any action that is imposed

by a higher level of government on a lower level of government where

such action deletes, erodes, or otherwise alters a traditional role

of the subordinate level of government. While a mandate is defined

as any action that imposes a requirement or constraint, encroachment

measures the impact of that action upon a traditional role of the

recipient government. The alteration of this traditional role cannot

but influence in some manner the operational capability of that

local government.

Encroachment can occur in a variety of ways. First, as was

indicated earlier, government can prohibit. This is a recognized,

sanctioned authority of higher levels of government. But once a system

of government is established and allowed to function for a sufficient

period of time it must be assumed that proper roles are in place. If

the ordinate level of government prohibits some activity that had been

sanctioned, then that prohibitive action constitutes encroachment

within the terminology used above. Since by definition there is a

change or alteration in a traditional role each time that encroachment

occurs, then there is by necessity a change in the operational

capability of the recipient local government. Fortunately, at

least in our society, there is a minimum of this form of encroach-

ment. But there is a second form of encroachment that is very

prevalent as pertains to intergovernmental relations in the United

States. And that form of encroachment is called mandating. It is

this aspect of encroachment that is of such concern to officials

of local government. Likewise, there is a need to know its magnitude,

and its implications upon the operational capability of local govern-


The Data Base

Mandates are characterized in a variety of ways. The most common

typology, that contained at Table 2-1, used: type; whether the

imposition is vertical or horizontal in nature; its origin; whether

the mandate is a direct order or a condition of aid; and the function

to which the mandate is applied. Table 3-1 presents the results of

the Lovell et al. (1979) study in accordance with this typology.

Despite the numerical massiveness of the data that is depicted, the

report is not all-inclusive. The authors are quick to point out that:

1. Court mandates are not included directly but through inference.

2. Special districts were excluded and therefore most education

mandates are not included.

3. The sources of mandates were not always codified by the states,

thus making it difficult to determine and report mandating


4. The inventory contains only: federal data; data from five

states as developed from a sampling of one county from

each of these states; and one city within each of these

counties (p. 54-55).

Thus the report can hardly be considered a total inventory even

though it is an exhaustive one. However, it is adequate for the

purpose of establishing the extent of mandating activity and iden-

tification of potential encroachment aspects of the mandate issue.

The extent of the mandate issue is depicted in Table 3-1. There

are some 1260 federal mandates identified in the report. By

comparison, there are some 3415 mandates reported for the five states

included in the survey. Thus it can be stated that local governments

are subject to 1260 federal mandates and an average of some 660 state

mandates for a total of over 1900 mandates. The portion of these

mandates that represent encroachment within any given locality is

unknown; stated simply, there are too many factors to be considered.

For example, not all programs are pertinent to all localities. And

some of those localities to which the program mandate would apply

have opted not to participate in the program. Although approximately

eighty percent of these mandates fall within the "procedural"

category, this should not be used to belittle the impact caused by

mandates in this category. For example, the requirement that all

construction funded through federal agencies comply with Office of

Safety and Health Administration guidelines is a procedural mandate.

Yet the implementation of this requirement could very easily require

the creation of a new department within the municipal work force,

contingent upon the amount of construction that is to be accomplished.

Can it be denied that this is an encroachment upon the traditional

Table 3-1

Distribution of Federal and State Mandates by Type, Vertical/Horizontal, Origin,
Direct Orders/Conditions of Aid, and Function

Planning and Evaluation
Record Keeping
Expenditure Caps

Percent Number




Vertical 76.3 961 91.2 3114
Horizontal 23.7 299 8.8 300
TOTAL 100.0 1260 100.0 3414

Law 3.3 41 80.0 2739
Executive Order 1.1 14 .1 4
Administrative Regulation 95.6 1205 18.8 641
TOTAL 100.0 1260 98.9 3384

Direct Orders 18.0 223 95.7 3268
Conditions of Aid 82.0 1036 4.3 147
TOTAL 100.0 1259 100.0 3415

Community Development
Community Sciences











Table 3-1--continued

General Government 16.2 204 34.4 1176
Health 26.2 330 12.3 419
Public Assistance 1.4 18 3.1 107
Public Protection 2.6 33 11.2 383
Recreation/Culture 0.6 17 1.8 60
Transportation 3.0 38 4.6 157
General Regulation 3.9 13 7.1 243

TOTAL 100.0 1260 100.0 3415

Note. From Lovell et al., 1979, p. 67.

role of the local government? Hardly. This is not to say that

the requirement is bad or wrong. It merely points out that there

is encroachment involved and that a potential fiscal impact is

created. Both of these problems must be dealt with by the local


Second, there is the question of horizontal versus vertical

mandates. Historically, most mandates were of the vertical type -

meaning that the imposed requirement or constraint was limited to

a given program or activity. Included in this category are mandates

such as those pertaining to municipal wastewater treatment facil-

ities funded under the auspices of the Environmental Protection

Agency. Contrasted to this are the horizontal or cross-cutting

mandates. These mandates have applicability across a broad, if not

universal, spectrum. A typical example of this type of mandate would

be the requirement that all labor used in construction contracts

which are funded through federal agencies be compensated in accordance

with the conditions specified by the Davis-Bacon Act. The signifi-

cant item in this particular set of data is the ratio of horizontal

to vertical mandates. At the federal level the ratio is one

horizontal mandate to three vertical mandates. Yet at the state

level the ratio is only one horizontal to each nine vertical mandates.

This provides an insight into the nature of mandates at the two

mandating levels; the federal level uses the horizontal type of

mandate much more extensively than does the state level of govern-

ment. But, as will be noted later, it is these horizontal mandates

that are the more pervasive while increasing at a much faster rate.

Table 3-2

State Mandates, by Individual States: By Type, Vertical-Horizontal Distinctions,
Origin, Direct Order and Conditions of Aid Distinctions, and Functional Category

California New Jersey N.Carolina Washington Wisconsin
(N=1479) (N=534) (N=259) (N=487) (N=654)

Mandate Type % % % % %
Programmatic 10.9 3.3 23.2 9.3 10.8
Program 3.9 2.2 19.7 6.2 4.9
Program Quality 5.3 1.1 2.7 2.9 4.7
Program Quantity 1.7 0.0 .8 .2 1.2
Procedural 86.0 83.6 59.8 73.4 81.6
Reporting 22.4 2.2 14.7 10.7 16.3
Performance 42.9 46.6 22.4 27.7 37.6
Fiscal 9.4 13.9 10.0 13.6 14.1
Personnel 4.9 18.7 8.9 12.7 5.8
Plann./Eval. 2.2 1.1 1.5 6.4 2.4
Record Keeping 4.2 1.1 2.3 2.3 5.4
Revenue Constraint
Base 3.1 12.7 17.0 17.3 7.7
Rate 1.2 4.5 .8 7.0 3.6
Expenditure Caps. .5 2.2 1.5 2.9 2.1
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Vertical 94.0 91.8 98.8 91.4 81.3
Horizontal 6.0 8.2 1.2 8.6 18.7
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Law 72.6 98.4 99.2 79.3 79.2
Executive Order -- -- -- -- 0.6
Adm. Reg. 27.4 1.6 0.8 20.7 20.2
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Direct Orders and Conditions of Aid
Conditions of Aid 1.7 1.3 3.9 16.0 3.4
Direct Orders 98.3 98.7 96.1 84.0 96.6
Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0
Agriculture 5.0 0.6 1.9 1.0 0.8
Community Development 6.2 21.0 11.6 19.9 6.6
Community Service 0.5 1.1 4.2 -- 2.6
Education 8.7 0.6 0.4 -- 4.9
Environment 6.2 2.4 2.3 9.0 6.6
Gen.Gov't. 31.0 42.5 39.8 37.2 31.5

Table 3-2--continued

Health 18.7 4.1 15.8 11.3 3.7
Public Assist. 4.6 1.1 8.9 -- 1.5
Public Protection 11.3 10.1 9.3 11.7 12.4
Rec./Culture .9 2.6 0.4 2.3 2.9
Transportation 5.1 0.7 3.9 1.2 9.5
Gen. Regs. 1.8 13.1 1.5 6.4 17.1
Other 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0

Total 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0 100.0

Note. From Lovell et al., 1979, p. 69.


Analysis of Table 3-1 indicates that there is a high degree of

similarity in the distributional pattern of mandates by type when

comparing federal and state quantities and percentages respectively.

Analysis of the vertical/horizontal data shows relative similarities

although there is a significant difference in the ratios of vertical

to horizontal mandates at the two levels. But analysis of the

origin data reveals an almost total reversal between the two levels.

Some 95.6 percent of the federal mandates are promulgated through

the usage of administrative regulations while 80 percent of the

state mandates are imposed through the legislative process. (Table

3-2 indicates that the values for each state vary between 72.6

percent for California and 99.2 for North Carolina). As to whether

the particular mandate was a direct order or a condition-of-aid,

the aggregated data should come as no big surprise. It is logical

to assume that most federal mandates are in the condition-of-aid

category due to the massive increase in federal grant programs, and

that most state mandates would fall into the direct order category,

following the notion of Dillon's Rule. As to the functional areas

to which mandates are applied, there is a high degree of similarity

between percentage figures for the federally mandated areas and the

state mandated areas.

In sum, to this point, it is sufficient to state that Table

3-1 presents conclusive evidence as to the quantity, scope, and

range of mandates. But the data for each of the states should be

analyzed to determine if there are significant differences in the

data accumulated for each state included in the inventory.

Information for this analysis is contained in Table 3-2.

The results of the surveys for each state included in

the survey indicate that there is considerable variation among

the separate states as pertains to mandating activity. California

leads in mandating activity with 1379 mandates being reported.

This compares with the low of only 259 for North Carolina. However,

these data are deceiving due to the survey methods used in the

separate states. The significant aspect of Table 3-2 is its

relative consistency when comparing individual states by type of

variable (the left column). Although there is a significant

difference in quantity of mandating activity, the relationships

held despite changes in wealth, region, size and a host of other

factors pertinent to each state.

It must be pointed out that the data was gathered in 1977.

As such, a logical question would be: What are the trends for

the mandating activity? Lovell asked that question and the re-

sultant data is presented at Table 3-3.

If the argument presented in the previous chapter pertaining

to the cause and effect relationship between the rise in growth

of intergovernmental relations and the increase in mandating

activity is valid, then an indication of this increase should be

found in the data at Table 3-3. It is clearly evident from

analysis of the data contained in the table that mandating has

been on the increase for the two decades preceding the study.

Most observers would agree that this approximates the period

Table 3-3

Number of Federal and State Mandates by Estimated
Direct Orders and Conditions of Aid (DO and COA)











Year of Imposition, by











Note. From Lovell et al., 1979, p. 71.

Table 3-4

Number of Federal Mandates, by Type,
in Each Estimated Year of Imposition

Estimated Year of Imposition Total

1941- 1946- 1951- 1956- 1961- 1966- 1971- 1976- 1941-
1945 1950 1955 1960 1965 1970 1975 1978 1978


Program 0
Program Quality 0
Program Quant. 0

24 57 37 124
17 34 17 70
1 1 10 12

Reporting 0 6 0 0 7 10 81 54 158
Performance 4 3 1 1 7 40 273 134 463
Fiscal 1 0 0 3 3 21 82 55 165
Personnel 3 0 1 0 4 9 64 39 120
Planning/Eval. 4 0 0 0 1 7 38 27 77
Record/Keeping 1 0 0 0 1 7 33 15 57

Base Constraint 0 0 0 0 0 0 2 2 4
Rate Constraint 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1
Expenditure Caps 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 11 2

ALL VERTICAL 13 9 2 4 22 114 473 330 954

ALL HORIZONTAL 0 0 0 0 9 22 187 83 301

Note. From Lovell et al., 1979, p. 71.


during which the increase in growth of intergovernmental relations

occurred. It also correlates very nicely to the period which saw

a change to the concept of creative federalism as advocated by

President Johnson and his Great Society programs. Table 3-4 depicts

the federal statistics for this period by mandate type and it appears

that all types of federal mandates increased at approximately the

same rate. Thus it seems that there is a positive relationship be-

tween the three aspects of change: the advent of creative federalism;

the rise in the growth of intergovernmental relations; and the

increase in mandating activity. But the question of which action

was the precipitating force needs further study and evaluation.

The magnitude of the mandate issue cannot be doubted. If a

local government is subjected to some 1900 actions that impose a

requirement or constraint upon its functions, then that government

must of necessity have a reduced capacity to deliver required goods

and services. In sum, given that these conditions do exist, there

is encroachment upon the traditional role of the local government.

But the implications of this encroachment on the operational capa-

bility of the service delivery unit is yet to be determined.

The State-Level Data

The Data Base

Thus far the thrust of this chapter has been toward the broad,

overall picture of the mandate issue what Lovell (1979) has

referred to as the mandate universe. The terrain of that universe

shows signs of conflict much the same as the real universe. Only

this time the conflict has been caused by the imposition of


requirements or constraints upon subordinate levels of government

by an ordinate level of government. We have termed this process

"mandating" and the conflict which it creates we refer to as the

"mandate issue." However, the universe is too broad to facilitate

detailed analysis of the implications of these mandated actions.

It is therefore necessary to place parameters around a segment of

the issue and devote our energy to this selected area.

It was indicated above that there were some 1260 mandates

identified at the federal level. It was further indicated that

the average number of mandates for the five states included in the

Lovell et al. (1979) study approximates 660, or about one-third

of the total. But even this quantity would be unwieldy unless some

massive effort were applied. Realizing the complexity and massive-

ness of such a task, the ACIR (1978) study opted to analyze only

77 specific program areas.

The ACIR (1978) report is primarily concerned with state-

mandated costs on local government. It is significant to note that

the final report for the study recognized that mandates can effect

either the revenue or expenditure side of local budgets. Given

that mandates impose either a requirement or a constraint, it is

logical to assume that a requirement mandate causes an expenditure

of resources while a constraint would limit the revenue generating

capacity of the local government. Within this context, Lovell and

Tobin (1981) conclude that some 84 percent of the federal mandates

and about 90 percent of the state-initiated mandates cause some

expenditure of resource by the recipient local government. However,

the remaining 10 percent of state-initiated mandates might have the

most effect upon the operational capability of local governments

since it is these mandates that limit or constrain the resources

to finance the mandated activities. Likewise, they hamper the

capacity of local governments to properly fund existing programs.

This often results in displacement wherein mandated activities are

conducted at the expense of non-mandated ones. Thus, there is a

compounding factor that must be considered. But where either of

these occur, whether singly or in combination, local discretion is

eroded through encroachment upon the traditional role of the local


The ACIR (1978) study looked at many aspects of state-initiated

mandating. The first effort of that study was to determine whether

state mandating has any relationship with selected characteristics.

Table 3-5 depicts the findings of such an analysis. There are only

two significant findings: the relatively small number of mandates

in the South; and the strong tendency for locally dominated state

fiscal systems (where local governments contribute more than 50

percent of state-local tax revenue) to have more mandates. On a

regional basis, only 37 percent of the functional components were

mandated in the South. In Table 3-6 the education functional areas

are removed from the statistics and the figure is even more striking

in that only 33 percent of the functional components are mandated

in the South. Thus the assumption can be made that local government

is more traditionally oriented in the South, or that efforts to

resist mandating are more prevalent in that region. That assumption

needs to be studied in order to establish the validity of the state-

ment. In Table 3-7 is the summary data of the state mandating practice

according to the specific program areas.

Table 3-5

State Mandates Classified by Region
State Dominance of the Fiscal System, Population Change,
And Restrictions on Length of Legislative Session,

Functional Components Functional Components
Mandated Not Mandated Total
Region Number Percent Number Percent Number Percent

Northeast 357 59 248 41 605 100
Midwest 451 54 392 47 843 100
South 424 37 713 63 1137 100
West 534 55 442 45 976 100
Total 1762 50 1799 50 3561 100

State Dominance of the
Fiscal System
Local Dominance 414 61 261 39 675 100
Strong State Role 994 51 968 49 1962 100
State Dominance 358 39 566 61 924 100
Total 1762 50 1799 50 3561 100

Population Changes
Decline to 10% Increase 747 47 828 53 1575 100
10% to 20% Increase 581 50 573 50 1154 100
20% or Greater Increase 438 53 394 47 832 100
Total 1762 50 1799 50 3561 100

Legislative Sessions
Annual Unlimited 696 54 599 46 1295 100
Annual Limited 715 45 876 55 1591 100
Biennial 355 53 320 47 675 100
Total 1762 50 1799 50 3561 100

Note. From Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1978, p. 40.

Table 3-6

State Mandates in 64 Noneducation Functional Areas
Classified by Region, State Dominance of the Fiscal System
Population Change, and Restrictions on Length of Legislative Session,

Functional Components Functional Components
Mandated Not Mandated



Number Percent


Number Percent Number Percent


State Dominance of the
Fiscal System
Local Dominance 339
Strong State Role 795
State Dominance 271
Total 1401

Population Changes
Decline to 10% Increase 608
10% to 20% Increase 457
20% or Greater Increase 340


Legislative Sessions
Annual Unlimited
Annual Limited










Note. From Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1978, p. 41.

Table 3-7

Comparison of State Mandating Practice

in 77 Specific Program Areas

Program Area (Number US Southeast Mideast
of mandates in parents) Avg Avg FL Avg PA

Total Mandates Reported 35 27 43 37 41

Local Employees Retirement
and Working Conditions (15) 7 5 5 6 5

Police (14) 7 5 5 6 5

Fire (14) 6 4 7 6 9

Environmental Protection (8) 4 3 8 4 7

Social Services (6) 1 1 1 1 0

Miscellaneous (7) 3 2 3 2 2

No Mandate Reported 36 43 33 38 35

Number of Mandates with no
Response 6 7 1 1 1

Note. From Advisory Commission
p. 44.

on Intergovernmental Relations, 1978,


The ACIR (1978) study provides some interesting sidelights to

the mandating practice. For example:

1. Most commonly mandated function;

a. Solid waste disposal 45 states.

b. Special education programs 45 states.

c. Workman's compensation 42 states.

d. Retirement system 35 states.

2. Most "questionable" mandate;

a. Public library hours two states.

b. Park and recreational programs three states.

c. Local payment for regional transit three states.

3. States with most mandates;

a. New York (60 of 77 listed).

b. California (52 of 77 listed).

c. Minnesota (51 of 77 listed).

d. Wisconsin (50 of 77 listed).

4. States with least number of mandates;

a. Generally, the southern states.

b. Alabama (11).

c. West Virginia (8).

5. Mandates deemed most inappropriate;

a. Compulsory binding arbitration (other than police, fire and


b. Mandated salary and wage levels (other than fire, police

and education).

Thus it is clear that the mandate issue is comprehensive. There do

not appear to be many areas that have escaped. But there are some


areas where the logic for mandating is unclear. What is clear is

that significant encroachment has occurred as a result of mandating.

The extent of this encroachment can be judged from the sentiments

expressed by respondents to a second set of questions that were

included in the ACIR study.


The ACIR (1978) study probed the attitudes of respondents as to

the appropriateness of specific mandates under varying conditions of

state financial assistance. For each of the 77 functional components

included, respondents were asked to choose one of six designations:

1. appropriate mandate, without reimbursement;

2. appropriate mandate, partial reimbursement;

3. appropriate mandate, full reimbursement;

4. inappropriate mandate, even if fully reimbursed;

5. inappropriate mandate, reimbursement not applicable; or

6. no opinion.

The statistics for this attitudinal survey are contained in Table 3-8.

The most important findings of this phase of the survey are:

1. Unfunded state mandates are considered appropriate by only

15 percent of the respondents; and

2. with partial or full state reimbursement the 77 mandates,

as a group, are regarded as appropriate by exactly 50 percent

of the respondents; and

3. fourteen percent felt that mandates were inappropriate even if


Attitudes toward state mandates differed according to the level of


0 4-
Ci 0

C- 41


(1) c=

Or O
D- &-

S- -0

CL m
CL a
Qi- Ci

a 0 0
41 10

U =
a3 0 r-

0 0)
C' *r Ci~

CD c_ Ln

0 4-C1C
9- m4 4c

lo u au (-)
r- 41 4 ->
00 0V)0

Ci V/l0 (LJ
4U c:
0 4.) o/)
.I rt3 0 >1
"0 0.01
<0 r -
0 C3 4.)

4.) 4.)C
C') U) 0)

0 0 >

Ci >

4.3 0
4.)> <
Ci: -




S 0

C- 3
1-1 -

- C\ C1 CDJ -O

- C0J CDl LO () 0

S r- -,- c\j -
- -l C'i C'M C\J

- I, L-O C0 LO
t0 LO I- en c')
Oi i LO m c2

a) 4-' 4-
41' c: = c
aC C, Cu
z;> E U CM CM

0- n cuOL
0- 4 S 0
ca- 10 =
0. -0 E-
SO-'O :- E <

fu =: *- -i- Jau m CM4
t si 4E C Lo
- 0 ^3 1- CM

a i

.4.) Q) E
+C> 4-)

0 4-' 0: CJ
S- Id iI
0.-0 41 S-

c 0.0



1i0 Ei
4-' 4-' Ci
S.- 3 Cin.

S- (U fc
CL cJ *=
0 7: 4-' I
n3 -if i->

00 +0> CU


Ci- Ci-

0) C~~I -
0' C\J 0)1

00 C" m- 0) LO

(7 r-. oC r~- m
co ir- r-. c'j Io
C- = Cm n 0)

o5 0) .-I 5-- ,-I<

0o In CM CT0 Lt)

" CM- In i CM U

-It ro 00

0m Ci

i- ^t Ci lIn In
- (D .-4 COi



4-1 3 41- 4-1 0
S. -0 3 in I-
0 E 0 a U
n _-c

the respondent. Governors most commonly held that mandates were

appropriate without reimbursement by the state for any resulting

cost increase (28 percent). This was countered by the state munic-

ipal league representatives, 26 percent of whom felt that mandates

were inappropriate under any condition. Significantly, mandates do

not divide along state and local lines. Only 7 percent of the

county association respondents felt mandates were inappropriate

even if fully reimbursed, far less than their municipal counter-

parts, and half the rate registered by the governors.

A similar set of survey questions was developed for the person-

nel area. The finding of this survey for personnel other than police,

fire and education are at Table 3-9. Significantly, all of the

individual retirement system mandates are considered to be appropriate,

as is indicated by the positive score. In addition, mandates regulating

unemployment and workman's compensation received a positive score

but only by a small amount. The remaining state mandates in this

category, relating to hours, wages and conditions of employment

other than collective bargaining, are regarded as inappropriate, as

indicated by the negative score.

The data in Table 3-10 is quite different. State mandates

affecting police protection, aside from those relating to retirement

systems, were generally regarded as inappropriate. Only two others

received positive scores; a requirement to provide police services

and a mandate to set training standards. Taken together, these 14

police subfunctions were considered "appropriate" by 44 percent and

"inappropriate" by 41 percent of the respondents.

Table 3-9

Attitudes of State and Local Officials Toward State Mandates
That Govern Local Personnel Matters Other Than
Police, Fire and Education
and the Number of States Mandating These Activities


Type of Mandate S

Disability Pension Benefits
Minimum Years and/or Age for
Eligibility for Normal
Workman's Comensation
Normal Retirement Benefit Levels
Minimum Vesting Period
Early Retirement at Reduced
Benefit Levels
Local Benefits Increased if
State Benefits Increased
Collective Bargaining with
Employee Organizations
Unemployment Compensation
Regulations of Other Working
Employee Qualifications
Salary and Wage Levels of
Elected Officials
Compulsory Binding Arbitration
of Impasses
Employee Hours
Salary and Wage Levels of
Appointed Officials







"Appropriateness" Rating
Degree of Degree of
Appropri- Inappro-
ateness priateness

26.4 -5.4

32 13.9

19 6.3 18.7


26 -16.2


20 -25.1

Note. From Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1978, p. 54.









Table 3-10

Attitudes of State and Local Officials Toward Appropriateness
of State Mandates That Deal with Local Police Matters
and the Number of States Mandating These Activities

Type of Mandate States
Police Training Standards 41
Minimum Years and/or Age for
Eligibility for Normal
Police Pension 43
Normal Police Retirement
Benefit Levels 43
Police Minimum Vesting Period 40
Early Police Retirement at
Reduced Benefit Levels 34
Police Required to Provide
Service 27
Local Police Benefits Increased
if State Benefits Increased 20
Collective Bargaining with Police
Employee Organizations 25
Police "Heart" and/or "Lung"
Law Disability Provision 15
Level of Police Service 5
Compulsory Binding Arbitration
of Police Impasses 14
Other Police Working
Conditions 12
Hours of Police Work 13
Police Salary Levels 15






"Appropriateness" Rating
Degree of Degree of
Appropri- Inappro-
ateness priateness
20.5 -2.8





2.3 17.1


















Note. From Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1978, p. 55.

Table 3-11

Attitudes of State and Local Officials Toward Appropriateness
of State Mandates That Deal with Local Fire Department Matters and
the Number of States Mandating These Activities

Type of Mandate States

Minimum Years and/or Age for
Eligibility for Normal Fire
Person 41
Fire Minimum Vesting Period 38
Normal Fire Retirement Benefit
Levels 41
Early Fire Retirement at Reduced
Benefit Levels 32
Fire Training Standards 9
Local Fire Benefits Increased
if State Benefits Increased 20
Fire "Heart" and/or "Lung" Law
Disability Provision 19
Collective Bargaining with Fire
Employee Organizations 29
Fire Department Required to
Provide Service 15
Compulsory Binding Arbitration
Fire Impasses 14
Other Fire Working Conditions 17
Hours of Fire Work 18
Level of Fire Service 4
Fire Salary Levels 9


"Appropriateness" Rating
Degree of Degree of
Appropri- Inappro-
ateness priateness


12.2 23.1

10.8 20.9
10.4 18.6

.6 14.9

-2.3 12.3




Note. From Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, 1978, p. 56.









A state mandate to set fire training standards was the only

one of eight such mandates relating to fire protection services

judged appropriate according to the attitudinal survey data con-

tained in Table 3-11. Five of the six mandates relating to

retirement systems, however, were considered appropriate. As

was the case in the police survey, "heart" and/or "lung" law

disability pension mandates are not considered appropriate.

The ACIR (1978) study respondents were asked to list the four

mandated functions which,"in your judgement, after deducting state

reimbursement have the most substantial fiscal impact on" (p. 61)

specified local governments. At the municipal level, the four

most fiscally significant mandates were:

1. Normal retirement benefit levels (for personnel other than

police, fire and education);

2. Solid waste disposal standards;

3. Collective bargaining (for personnel other than police,

fire and education); and

4. Normal police retirement benefit levels.

This overall pattern held for nearly all regional and respondent


At the county level, responses to the question posed by the

ACIR (1978) study indicated that the four most significant mandates


1. Judicial mandates;

2. General assistance, local share of payment costs;

3. Solid waste standards; and

4. Police required to provide services.


There is one significant finding here. At the municipal level,

solid waste standards were listed as the second most financially

significant mandate. And at the county level this mandate was

listed in the number three position. The significance is that

when the respondents were asked to consider the "appropriateness"

of environmental protection mandates, all requirements and con-

straints in the area were considered appropriate. This indicates

that the problem is financial rather than social.

In sum, more than one-third of the respondents held that state

mandates were appropriate provided there is full or partial reim-

bursement of additional costs resulting from the mandates. A large

number of unreimbursed state mandates impose a serious financial

burden on local governments and makes more serious the problem of

tax equity if local governments must finance the mandated activities

principally by the general property tax. And therein lies the

crux of the problem. States are not prone to finance the mandated

activities but that is another story of its own. But what of

the other two-thirds? If one-third agree that the mandates are

appropriate with reimbursement, then, by inference, two-thirds must

feel that mandates are not appropriate even with some form of

reimbursement. Thus we have a conflictual condition. Can there

be any doubt as to a justifiable cause for concern among officials

of local governments? The extent of encroachment upon the tradi-

tional role of the local government is evident. But there still

remains the question of what are the implications of this encroach-

ment upon the operational capability of the local government.

Localized Data

The Florida Assessment

One final look at the encroachment question. As stated at the

beginning of this chapter, one of the source documents pertaining to

determining the extent of mandating --read encroachment-- would be

the Catalogue of State Mandates published by the Florida Advisory

Council on Intergovernmental Relations in 1980. A major portion of

the Executive Summary to this document is quoted due to its signifi-


Statutory mandates, here defined as any responsibility, action
or procedure imposed upon local government by existing legis-
lation, are catalogued in this report. This listing represents
several months of searching the Florida Statutes for sections
that contain laws with potential and actual cost implications
for local government. However, it is only a listing and mandate
categorization system, and makes no attempt to quantify their
fiscal implications other than a distinction between "negligible"
and "substantial." The body of the report addresses past mandates,
and is intended to provide legislators, local officials, or other
policymakers with a comprehensive picture of their pervasiveness
and areas of impact. For without a knowledge of the range and
scope of mandates, they can neither be understood, nor their
negative fiscal consequences for local government, fully
Therefore, this cataloguing effort should be viewed as the
first of several steps leading to the formulation of a definitive
state policy with regard to the mandates issue. It provides a
data base useful and essential at the beginning of the policy-
making process and for a re-examination of the relevence of past
mandates with respect to current policy.
If enactment of HB-4D is indicative of the State's current
policy with regard to mandated costs, publication of this report
is particularly timely. This law is unusual in that it exempts
from a millage limitation the costs imposed by new mandates for
fiscal year 1980-81. Because of this legislation the Advisory
Council has included a brief analysis of mandates passed during
the 1980 session as an appendix to this catalogue.
While few areas of local government were found to be immune
to mandates, those areas of predominant mandating activity with
substantive fiscal impact were personnel, public protection,
health and exemptions. However, mandate areas with substantial
impact upon county government did not generally coincide with
those impacting both city and county government. For counties,

the numerous statutory changes implementing Article V amend-
ments that abolished municipal courts are, when considered
cumulatively, mandates with the greatest costs for counties.
For municipalities and counties affected collectively by
mandates, those imposing the greatest costs may be the numerous
constraints, limitations, and exemptions that erode their
revenue generating capacity. Various personnel requirements
also impose substantial costs upon local governments, such as
non-contributory pension systems and various pension benefits
defined by statute. (Executive Summary)

There are many significant points in the above quote. First, it is

to be noted that the inventory is limited to legislative mandates.

Within this limitation the catalogue was still able to identify 159

mandates some of which have multiple implications and functional

components. Second, the report is critical of the State of Florida

for its lack of mandate policy. Third, there is an apparent skirt-

ing of the statutory requirement to provide funding for any general

law which is a mandate for new activity or service, or grants an

exemption or changes the local tax base. These points need to be

analyzed further.

At the beginning of this chapter, it was stated that the purpose

of this section was to examine the extent of encroachment upon the

traditional roles of local government, and its implication upon the

operational capability of these units. The extent of mandating has

been clearly identified and encroachment established. It is now

time to look at one law, its mandates, and its implications upon the

operational capability of local governments.


In 1980, the Florida legislature enacted House Bill 4-D, commonly

referred to as Project TRIM (Truth in Millage). This bill contains

three mandated actions within the language of the bill:


1. Limits property tax increases for 1980-81 to 8 percent over

prior year, with some exceptions.

2. Effective in 1981-82, eliminates the reimbursement to local

governments for the senior homestead exemption.

3. Provides for personal notice to each taxpayer regarding

assessments, taxes, and budget hearings; prescribes pro-

cedures for implementation.

What are the implications of this bill? The first mandate listed

might look good but it is rather facetious. From a political point

of view, it can be stated that taxes were not allowed to rise by more

than eight percent over that of the prior year. But it is only one

side of the coin the millage side. There are two components to

the property tax revenue; the tax millage rate and the assessed value

of the property. As a consequence, when more revenue is needed, and

the millage rate is constrained, the assessed value of property can

be increased to a level where the needed revenue will be generated.

The implications are plain. It changes the variable incident to the

generation of tax revenue to the tax base or assessed property values.

Thus it is a change in the traditional role of government to raise

revenue by regulating the millage rate. Additionally, it places a

heavy workload on the Property Appraiser to insure that property values

are adjusted so as to accommodate the dictum of the mandate.

The second mandate contained in the bill is more direct. Under

the statutes in existence prior to the enactment of HB 4-0, the state

reimbursed local governments for revenue lost as a result of an

additional $5,000 in homestead exemptions being granted to senior

citizens who were homeowners. This mandate simply deleted the

reimbursement with no mention of a possible source for replacement

of the lost revenue. The financial impact of this action upon the

local governments of the state was estimated to amount to some

$31.5 million for the first year. As such, it represents a loss

of revenue to each local government in relationship to the number

of senior citizens residing in a given locality. This loss of

revenue was particularly severe for those small communities that

had a high concentration of senior citizens residing within their


The third mandate indicated is particularly bothersome to local

officials. The tax notification process is costly and time-consuming.

Each taxpayer must be notified as to what the assessed value is of

his/her property; the millage rate that would be required to generate

the~same amount of revenues as the prior year; the millage rate re-

quired to generate the revenues recommended by the taxing authorities;

and the date, time, and location of budget hearings. There is an

appeal process that allows a person to have the assessed value of

his/her property evaluated. As was indicated above, many of these

problems impose requirements or constraints upon the operational

capability of officials of these local governments.


This chapter has demonstrated, through a review of available

literature, the extent of encroachment upon traditional roles of

local governments that is caused through mandating. It was pointed

out that in 1978 local governments were subject to some 1900 mandates.

These mandates include virtually every aspect of local government

operations. And they are increasing in numbers, range, and scope at

an alarming rate.


As to the cause and effect relationships, it was brought out

that such relationships exist between mandating activity, inter-

governmental relations, and the change to creative federalism. The

probability is good that these relationships will continue as long

as federal grants are used to finance social needs.

The data compiled by the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental

Relations was used to portray the areas of local government that are

most commonly impacted upon by state-initiated mandates. The find-

ings of this study also show the lack of support at the local level

for most mandates, and the financial implications inherent in most


Finally, the question was localized to the Florida arena where

one law, its mandates, and their implications were argued. The feel-

ing here is that such mandates seriously encroach upon traditional

roles of government. And where encroachment exists there is a loss

in the operational capability of the local government unit.


The Federal System

Federalism is what federalism does. (Peterson, 1981, p. 66)


The relations of local government to any ordinate level of

government is predicated on the seemingly contradictory principles

of union and independence. How these principles are reconciled, in

practice, and at any given time and place, goes to the very heart

of the American political system, and our federal system. The

question is whether a given function should be the responsibility of

the ordinate level of government, or is it more appropriately dele-

gated to the subordinate level of government within that system.

Most political science analysts feel that cities are the same

as nation-states, and vice versa. This position is argued by

Peterson (1981). Cities differ in a variety of ways from the ordinate

levels of government. Local politics is not like national politics;

it is the most limited in its capacity to do what is needed. The

city, and, by inference, other subordinate levels of government, is

part of a larger socio-economic and political context. The primary

interest of local governments is the maintenance and enhancement of

their economic productivity. It is to their land area that subordinate

levels of government must attract productive labor and capital. The

place that these units of government fit into the overall structure

determines the policy choices, or the lack thereof, that are avail-

able to their elected officials. Peterson contends that it is the

consideration of these interests that limits local government policy,

and conditions what they are able to do.

There are many ways to address the question of appropriate assign-

ment of jurisdiction and authority, or role, among diverse territorial

units of local government. But it seems logical to assume that such

role assignment, with its inherent jurisdiction and authority, must of

necessity be a central element of the policy implementation process.

For without such authority, the jurisdiction ceases to meet the

minimum requirements of being a local government; it has no designated

role; it is a non-entity. The immediate implications are that mandated

actions, by definition, diminish the role of local government as has

been demonstrated in earlier chapters of this study. There is a need,

however, to analyze the concept of federalism and its inherent role

assignments so that the extent of the implications can be postulated.

But what is federalism? Is it something that is clearly ident-

ifiable? Maybe, but by whose standard? To quote Deil Wright (1978):

We have been exposed to "the New Federalism" (Nixon), "Creative
Federalism" (Johnson), "national federalism" (Sundquist),
"Centralized and peripheralized federalism" (Riker), "cooperative
federalism" (Corwin), "mature and emergent federalism" (MacMahon),
and others too numerous to mention. At least thirty-four "types"
of federalism have been recorded. Clearly, federalism is a much-
used and much-abused term. (p. 19)

If it can be said that mandates create a major concern for local

officials, it can likewise be stated that part of the problem lies in

the fact that there is no concise meaning or understanding of federalism.


It is argued that federalist issues are at the heart of any

discussion of the mandate issue. Hamilton and Jefferson argued the

merits of a strong central government versus the rights of states

and local governments. It might be candidly stated that that argu-

ment still remains to be settled. But there are many interpretations

of the form of federalism that need to be considered.

Pragmatic Federalism

During the period 1789 until about 1901 the United States operated

under what has been termed Dual Federalism. This concept envisioned

a national or ordinate level of government and a regional or subordinate

level of government, or, as more commonly referred to, the federal

government and state government. The validity of this concept was

reinforced by various Supreme Court decisions, primarily during the

tenure of Chief Justice John Marshall. Significantly, neither the

constitution nor the court decisions mention local government. And

this was always a bone of contention for those individuals that adhere

to the concept of territorial democracy. But in 1868, Judge Dillon

established what has been figuratively called "Dillon's Rule." This

interpretation of the Constitution said that counties and municipal-

ities were "creatures of the State" and derived their power from the

state within which these local governments are located. It is readily

recognized that such an interpretation is in contradiction with the

territorial democracy point of view.

The partnership that resulted from Dillon's Rule remained

relatively stable until the advent of the Progressive Party and

President Teddy Roosevelt's New Nationalism around 1900. President

Roosevelt (1910) argued for a change in federal-state relations,

essentially, due to the purported distrust of state and local

governments as partners in the federal scheme. The key change in

New Nationalism was the advocacy of national policies for regional

implementation. But the device that gave meaning to this concept

was the enactment of the 16th Amendment in 1913 which gave the

federal government the power to tax the incomes of corporations and

individuals. This marked the beginning of an era wherein huge amounts

of revenues were collected by the national government, distributed

to the local and state levels of government for spending, all the

while carrying out the policies and procedures of the national govern-


The period between 1901 and the early 1960's is also known as

the era of Cooperative Federalism. Whereas the New Nationalism of

President Teddy Roosevelt advocated the intrusion of national policies

into the local arena, Cooperative Federalism institutionalized this

concept. This period saw a great amount of policy emanating from

the ordinate level of government which pertained to those general

welfare services that had previously been considered "local" in

nature. This was especially true during the New Deal era of President

Franklin D. Roosevelt. No longer were there significant areas that

were exclusively the domain of the lower echelons of government.

Although there are many examples of the ordinate level of government

assuming the role of the policymaker and the overseer of programs,

the fiscal impact upon local governments was relatively insignificant.

However, the precedent was established.


Although mandating in some form or other had been around since

the founding of the Republic, it was the enactment of the Federal

Road Act of 1916 that really gave meaning to the concept of mandat-

ing to accomplish national goals or objectives. For it was through

implementation of this act that federal agencies began to specify

conditions pertaining to the utilization of the appropriated funds.

Most importantly, these implementation procedures gave the federal

government the overseer role to include supervision and auditing


Thomas Dye (1973) has some very significant comments pertaining

to this sort of an arrangement. Dye contends that, theoretically,

the federal government may not enact laws to regulate the general

welfare directly. But it can tax, borrow, or spend money for this

purpose. Thus the national government can provide financial assist-

ance to the local governments for the purpose of building highways

and then pass a law that threatens to withhold the revenues unless,

for example, the recipient governments pass a law that prohibits the

posting of billboards along the highways that are constructed. More

recently, the Congress passed and President Reagan signed into law

a provision whereby these highway funds will be withheld from states

that do not enact a measure which sets age 21 as the minimum age for

consuming alcoholic beverages. This, according to Dye's views, is

regulation through its taxing power, even though the field is

specifically reserved to the subordinate level of government.

But it was not until 1964 that the real change in federalism

occurred. This period marks the era of President Lyndon B. Johnson

and his "Great Society." The philosophy espoused for the Great Society


programs clearly advocated the national government with the role

of setting policy: Congressional legislation began to state that

the purpose of the statute was to accomplish a national goal.

Implementation would be accomplished through subordinate levels -

to include state governments, local governments, and psuedo-private

organizations. Funds to implement these programs would be provided

by the ordinate level but with "strings" attached. Thus, President

Johnson is credited with implementation of the concept of Creative

Federalism. And this initiated some of the strongest debate that

Congress has witnessed.

There were many advocates of the Creative Federalism concept.

But there were also many that did not agree. But the sentiment that

prevailed is perhaps best expressed in an address by Senator John L.

McClelland of Arkansas which is contained in 110 Cong. Rec. 1964

(cited in Cappalli, 1982):

The strength of our federal system is no greater than the
strength and vitality of the many governments that compose it.
Fiscal capacity is both an essential ingredient of this strength
and one vital measure of it.
If State and local governments are to absorb additional
functions or to take on an increasing share of emerging govern-
mental responsibilities, the question arises whether they are
financially able to carry the load. States, and more partic-
ularly local governments, are said to lack resources adequate
for the discharge of the duties and responsibilities required
of them. If it is impossible for them to satisfy the demands
of their citizens for governmental services, traditional local
self-reliance may be weakened and pressures may increase for
Federal participation in services hitherto regarded as primarily
State and local responsibilities. From the earliest days of
the Republic, it was obvious that fiscal imbalances among levels
of government would have to be reduced if the Federal form of
government was to endure and if government as a whole was to
be responsive to the people.
There are many obstacles in the way of expanding State and
local revenue to enable these governmental levels to assume
their proper responsibilities. There is not now and there never

has been a single solution. From the beginning, it was obvious
that a combination of measures would be required to make possible
a proper allocation of activities and to insure adequate financ-
ing of these activities.
Agitation for fiscal readjustment between the components
of the Federal system is neither novel nor recent. It recurrs
with every significant expansion in governmental activity and,
in one form or another, has been a continuing problem since the
formation of the Republic. Of course, the problems that confronted
earlier generations seem not too difficult in retrospect, but they
loomed large to those that had to deal with them.
Governments existing by the will of the governed are destined
to be confronted with fiscal problems, since free people seem to
have both an appetite for governmental services and an instinct-
ive aversion to taxes. (Chapter 1, p. 1)

The basic question is: Why would the United States be interested in

distributing conditioned donations to public and private bodies through-

out the country?

Assuming the supported projects are worthwhile endeavors, there

is political capital to be gained. To be the sponsor of a popular

public program is to have a strong advantage at the hustings. Politics

to one side, in its first article the United State Constitution explic-

itly authorizes the Congress to use its taxing and spending authority

to promote the general welfare. The Supreme Court has held that the

Congress is not restricted to the enumerated grants of authority in

Article I when it is exercising its Spending Power. It may act at

large in pursuance of the "general welfare," and the Supreme Court

has bestowed large tolerance on Congress to determine when and how to

act in the public interest. To illustrate the extent of this support

of the general welfare, Cappalli (1982) states that even after the

budget holocaust of 1981 there remains some 170 assistance statutes

which fund or authorize 825 programs to the tune of $92.1 billion



Thus we have the basic concepts of federalism as viewed from a

pragmatic approach. But how well does the view coincide with the

textbook version of federalism?

Federal Theory The Academic Debate

The origin of debate concerning federal theory as constituted in

American democracy can be traced, not to noted American scholars, but

to two non-Americans. The first of these was Alexis de Tocqueville,

a French aristocrat, who toured the United States in 1830 and subse-

quently wrote Democracy in America. He was followed by Lord James

Bryce of England who published The American Commonwealth in 1888. It

must be noted that the first textbook on American government appeared

around 1900; the first on state government in 1916.

De Tocqueville (cited in Press and VerBurg, 1983) approved of the

system of checks and balances which he observed, as well as the federal-

ism concept. But he feared "a tyranny of the majority" if it were to

be used by a majority to suppress individuality and excellence. De

Tocqueville was of the opinion that in the American federal system,

locally elected officials, rather than a national bureaucracy, adminis-

tered the policies of the nations. In many respects this view

approximates the findings of the ACIR (1978) study.

Bryce (cited in Press and VerBurg, 1983), more so than de Tocqueville,

studied the structure of state governments. His particular interest

was in the social and economic aspects of the subordinate levels of the

federal system. He argued that government and politics should be

approached in terms of its political setting a position very close

to that of V. 0. Key, Jr.

University of Florida Home Page
© 2004 - 2010 University of Florida George A. Smathers Libraries.
All rights reserved.

Acceptable Use, Copyright, and Disclaimer Statement
Last updated October 10, 2010 - - mvs