Executive Director's Report

Is the 2020 Unfunded Mandates Survey on your to-do list?

By Susan M. Redford, Executive Director

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We are asking once again for your help in providing the Texas Legislature with a clear picture of how the state's unfunded mandates affect county budgets.

The deadline to fill out TAC's online 2020 Unfunded Mandates Survey is Nov. 5. TAC sent out the survey to county auditors and to county treasurers in those counties that do not have auditors on June 9. TAC developed the survey in collaboration with the Texas Association of County Auditors, the County Treasurers' Association of Texas, the Texas Conference of Urban Counties and the County Judges and Commissioners Association of Texas.

This year in particular, it is very important that we collect comprehensive information about county expenditures on unfunded and underfunded state and federal mandates.

The upcoming legislative session promises to be critical for local and state government. The session will certainly be dominated by the economic impact of the pandemic on the state budget. As our members know all too well, COVID-19 has already had a tremendous impact on counties due to unexpected emergency expenses and shortfalls in revenue collection. That means 2021 will likely be a very difficult year financially for our counties.

TAC's Legislative Team has its eye on other legislative session priorities that no doubt will affect counties. These include redistricting, elections, a new House speaker and pandemic-related statutory changes involving civil and criminal justice system operations.

How to complete the survey

This year, we included fewer survey questions in an effort to be mindful of the challenges and time constraints our members face. Some counties may not be able to answer every question, given the variations in how counties track expenditures. We encourage you to respond to the best of your ability.

If you are interested, the results of the 2018 survey are available on the TAC website. If you need help with this year's survey, please email Tim Brown.

We at TAC appreciate the work of county elected officials and county employees, especially first responders, during this very difficult period. I am looking forward to the proverbial "light at the end of the tunnel." It will be a joy to see our members in person again and to share in your successes. In the meantime, thank you for your trust in TAC, and thank you for being 254 strong!