While our Constitution lays out the home rule powers of local governments and purports to protect them against special state legislation, these provisions have been weakened by judicial decisions.  The Legislature has also seen fit to impose many mandates on local governments without providing the funding needed to carry out those mandates.  To avoid tax increases, localities then have to reduce spending for local priorities.

Needed changes:

  • Make unfunded mandate legislation hard to pass by requiring heightened local fiscal impact analysis and ample opportunity for community input;
  • Strengthen local legislative autonomy by limiting state preemption;
  • Strengthen the requirement for a Home Rule Message before enacting legislation aimed at a particular local government.