Contact: Darlene Schlicher (615) 741-6336 or email: [email protected]
(NASHVILLE, TN), April 8, 2010 – The State Senate today approved legislation sponsored by State Senator Randy McNally (R-Oak Ridge) asking Congress to submit to the states for ratification an amendment to stop the practice of passing unfunded mandates and programs to the states. The resolution comes just weeks after Congress passed a massive healthcare bill that the Pew Center on the States publication Stateline says, “will cost states over $20 billion in the next decade.”
“The most recent act by Congress on healthcare could cost Tennessee as much as $200 million annually,” said Senator McNally, who is Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. “Also, one other part of that bill, which the state’s insurance plan is reviewing, is how much it would cost in additional insurance premiums, so we expect that the cost will increase.”
The proposed amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 715, would ban unfunded mandates beginning 2013, except in a situation of financial emergency as declared by a two-thirds vote of Congress. It would also prohibit the federal government from authorizing state participation in federal programs or services unless funding is guaranteed by the federal government for the full duration of the programs or services. If federal funds are not appropriated for the program or service, the law enacted or regulation promulgated would become null and void.
“States are struggling right now,” McNally added. “We cannot continue to fund federal programs or mandates without making substantial cuts to critical programs, like education. Hopefully, this resolution will send Washington a message that states need stability in budgeting, rather than more federal mandates.”