Senator Boucher Calls For Municipal Relief From State Mandates

February 23, 2009

Testifies In Favor Of Bills Before Legislature’s Planning & Development Committee

Senator Toni Boucher (R-26) recently testified before the General Assembly’s Planning & Development Committee is favor of several legislative proposals intended to alleviate the financial burden imposed on municipalities by state mandates.

“We are living through historic economic times that many predict will change our country and state forever, and we have to be prepared to make difficult, but necessary, adjustments. Mandates that may have merit and made sense when enacted may no longer be feasible. In listening carefully to our residents, our local boards, selectmen and mayors it is clear that we must provide them with relief from financial burdens that cannot be borne under the constraints they are now experiencing,” said Senator Boucher.

Senator Boucher expressed her support for several bills intended to provide mandate relief, including, but not limited to:

  • HB 5526, An Act Concerning In-School Suspensions
  • HB 5550, An Act Providing For A Statutory Cap On Unfunded Mandates.
  • HB 5869, An Act Concerning The Approval Process For Unfunded State Mandates
  • HB 6388, An Act Providing Mandate Relief To Municipalities

Senator Boucher noted that officials representing several municipalities in her district testified, or provided written testimony, that highlights the severity of their local budget problems and the need for relief from state mandates. 

“I continuously speak with local elected officials in my district , as well as officials at state agencies, and they need us to repeal or suspend the requirement for in-schools suspensions; delay treating 16 and 17 year old violent offenders as adults; freeze wages and salaries; reform binding arbitration to provide greater flexibility to mediators and arbitrators; reform the burden of proof  in the unilateral outplacement of special education cases; reform or rescind prevailing wage requirements; and remove certain mandates on health care plans,” said Senator Boucher, adding that the state should formally review all existing state mandates, funded and unfunded, that impact municipalities. 

“I understand how state mandates burden towns by requiring them to carry out state policies with little or no state funding because I served as chair of a local school board, a selectman, and as member of the state education board during previous serious recessions. This recession is much worse, and some economists predict that it could be the closest we will come to conditions experienced during the Great Depression. We should hope for the best, but plan for the worse,” said Senator Boucher.