Rep. Betts: Don’t Shift Burden to Municipalities

Common sense really does exist! A simple yet clear example of common sense solving a financial problem was revealed in last Monday’s Bristol Press’s editorial.

The editorial reported that the City Clerk for Bristol will no longer tolerate raising money for state government when the expenses for following an unfunded state mandate exceeds the money the state gives to Bristol to do the job.

The example cited applies to residents who get their hunting and fishing permits. Every year residents must come to the city clerk’s office and they now pay $19 for these permits (have you noticed the increases approved by the state legislature?).

The disturbing news is that our city incurs $7 in costs to collect this money and give it to the state. The reason Bristol loses money in the deal is not because the city is inefficient in the sale of the permits; it is because the state has so many requirements and mandates that the city simply can’t break even on the permit sales.

Now is the time to build on this example. It is time to streamline government- at all levels; but, for that to happen, the state must allow local governments to streamline themselves.

One idea would be to suspend the state mandate that teachers have professional development days. In Bristol I have been told that this one mandate is an $800,000 line item in the school budget. Surely suspending expensive unfunded state mandates for two years is a far more preferable solution than raising taxes, eliminating programs, reducing services, or laying off government employees.

If you agree with this common sense approach please join me, Senator Welch, mayors and school superintendents throughout the state, and all the republican legislators in asking the democrat leaders and governor to take action this year on providing financial relief from unfunded state mandates. Achieving relief from unfunded state mandates will mean taxpayers will keep more of their money in their pockets.

Leave a Reply

Layout Image