Hays County Courthouse, San Marcos, TX – The Hays County Commissioners Court on Tuesday approved a resolution calling for the end of unfunded mandates from the Texas Legislature.
Precinct 1 Commissioner Debbie Gonzales Ingalsbe will take the resolution to the Capitol and hopes to testify if there is a hearing, representing Hays County and as president of the South Texas Judges and Commissioners Association.
“After each Legislative session, counties are handed required programs and services that we must implement, but no funding accompanies these mandatory activities,” Ingalsbe said. “In Hays County, more than 43 percent of our County taxes went to unfunded mandates in 2018 to the tune of approximately $34.3 million.” She noted that during the State’s review process of the mandates, those that do include funding can have monies significantly reduced over time or cut entirely.
Some of the recent required costs for Hays County include nearly $15 million to operate the County jail, $5.7 million for indigent health care, $1.5 million to support the Adult Probation and Juvenile Probation departments, and $7.3 million for the state judicial system.
Ingalsbe said that counties understand it’s not realistic to request removal of current unfunded mandates but want to halt any additional ones.
“Last legislative session the House of Representatives passed a constitutional amendment prohibiting unfunded mandates, but the Senate failed to pass it,” Ingalsbe said. “We hope to gain approval from both chambers this year.”
The proclamation reads in part: It is in the best interest of Texas counties and their taxpayers to support and favor passage of legislation in the form of an amendment to the Constitution of the State of Texas that would expressly prohibit the imposition of a mandatory governmental program on Texas counties, whether by an act of the Texas Legislature or a state agency or by executive order, unless the State of Texas has fully funded and disbursed all necessary funds to enable Texas counties to operate said governmental program.
The resolution has also been sent to the Texas Association of Counties, the Conference of Urban Counties, and the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas, which all help and support county efforts. Read the entire resolution here.