An unfunded mandate?

Brief by Central Staff

Rural Life – May 1995 – Colorado Central Magazine

CARBON COUNTY, Utah — We hear a lot about unfunded mandates these days. In essence, an unfunded mandate occurs when the federal government requires the states to do something, like “motor voter registration,” and then doesn’t provide the money — financing is left to the states. This way, one set of politicians gets to take credit for a program, while another set gets to suffer the political heat for raising taxes to pay for the programs.

The current regime in Washington opposes unfunded mandates, and also plans to cut or eliminate spending on public broadcasting and arts and humanities programs.

Which inspired the county commissioners in Price, Utah, to pass a resolution which notes, among other things, that “arts, humanities, museum services and public radio/television add to the quality of life for the citizenry,” but also that the availability of such cultural amenities “in a rural area promotes the competitiveness of our communities and healthy economic activity.”

And so, “the reduction or removal of federal support for these programs will serve to further aggravate the differences between rural and urban areas, and will, in fact, result in a de facto ‘Unfunded Mandate’ for rural areas to attempt to simply maintain the level of access and support for these programs and activities.”