Twenty state mandates imposed on Virginia’s cities and counties would be eliminated under legislation unveiled by Governor McDonnell.
The proposals were the recommendations of a gubernatorial Task Force for Local Mandate Review. The goal is to give localities a break from the red tape as well as to save the costs of implementing the mandates each year.
The proposals are just the first round since the panel will continue its work through the year. The wide-ranging provisions include eliminating: a Circuit Court’s ability to mandate a new local courthouse, a rule to publish requests for procurement proposals in local newspapers, and a requirement that the state approve locations of red-light cameras. They would also repeal a new mandate to require most teachers to learn about civics. McDonnell said giving localities some relief right now is essential.
“We’ve seen some steady, although small recovery in state sales and income taxes. But we see the burden on localities increase because property tax values have plummeted over the last five years—that is, real estate taxes—and are stable at best, starting to recover in some areas. But they’re facing some unusual situations with their own tax base.”
The Governor also directed state education officials to identify ways to reduce local reporting requirements by 15%. The provisions will be rolled into an omnibus bill.
-by Anne Marie Morgan