Press Release

Press Release Auditor’s Office Highlights 35 Years of Protecting Municipalities

Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today released a report highlighting the 35-year history of her office’s Division of Local Mandates (DLM), which analyzes the cost impacts of state laws, rules, and regulations on local governments.
For immediate release:
12/20/2016
  • Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump
  • Division of Local Mandates

Media Contact for Auditor’s Office Highlights 35 Years of Protecting Municipalities

Mike Wessler, Communications Director

Boston — Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today released a report highlighting the 35-year history of her office’s Division of Local Mandates (DLM), which analyzes the cost impacts of state laws, rules, and regulations on local governments.

“Through its reports and analysis, DLM has played a critical role in protecting cities and towns from the burdens of unfunded mandates that strain already limited municipal budgets,” Bump said. “This Division also plays an important proactive role providing reports to lawmakers that help inform the policy decisions they make that impact local governments.”

Since its creation in 1980, DLM has received 675 petitions from municipalities and members of the Legislature asking DLM to review whether legislative or regulatory action imposes an impermissible unfunded mandate on a municipality. In response, DLM has issued 435 unfunded mandate determinations, finding in favor of municipalities 78 times. As a result of these efforts, approximately $343 million in state funding or other remediation has been provided to local communities. The Division has also issued 17 municipal impact studies, which look at issues that may not be considered an unfunded mandate but still have a significant financial impact on cities and towns.

The majority of DLM’s work has focused on seven areas: municipal government functions; conditions and benefits of municipal employment; state-imposed education requirements; environmental requirements; public safety; elections; and public health requirements. Notable mandate determination topics include:

  • Gun license fees;
  • U.S. Senate and other special election costs; and
  • Transportation costs for students who are homeless.

In 2016, DLM issued, for the first time in its history, a required review of all legislation passed in the preceding five years to determine whether those laws had significant financial impacts on cities and towns. The report also included legislative recommendations that will help DLM be more responsive to changes in state regulations in order to better prevent fiscal impacts on cities and towns.

DLM is currently reviewing a request for a mandate determination from Woburn and Oxford concerning the costs of implementing the state’s 2014 early voting law.  The Division sent a survey to all 351 cities and towns to inquire about their costs of implementing early voting and will review those responses as part of its analysis.     

The DLM 35th Anniversary Report is available here.

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Media Contact for Auditor’s Office Highlights 35 Years of Protecting Municipalities

Office of the State Auditor 

The Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump (OSA) conducts audits, investigations, and studies to promote accountability and transparency, improve performance, and make government work better.

Division of Local Mandates 

DLM responds to requests from local government leaders to determine if a state law is an unfunded mandate on municipalities. In addition, we serve as a source of information on issues harming municipal budgets, and provide recommendations to address those issues.
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