The MFIA doesn't prohibit passage of unfunded mandates. It merely aids their identification, informing legislators and municipal officials regarding the costs up front so they can plan for expenses while also suggesting less costly alternatives. The act further delays, until the following legislative session, implementation of mandates having a statewide minimum negative fiscal impact of $100,000, giving municipalities more time to evaluate and plan for the new requirements. This requirement can be waived by the Legislature in emergency situations.
As a former longtime legislative fiscal director, state and county finance official, and now a city manager, I've seen the unintended, damaging impact that too hastily considered legislation can have on our local governments and state economy. That's what led me to approach former House Speaker Chris Benge and Sen. Mike Mazzei with a long-overdue, fiscally conservative proposed reform, which under their leadership became the MFIA.
Here's hoping today's committee chairmen draw on this simple but important common-sense fiscal tool to ensure better-informed, more fiscally responsible policymaking, unlike what we see from their federal counterparts.
Enevoldsen is city manager of Bixby.