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Local lawmakers' plea: No more unfunded mandates!

More than 100 municipal government officials from all over the State stood in solidarity on the steps of the historic Capitol building Wednesday afternoon to protest any new programs that the Legislature might impose on them without giving money to pay for it.

"If the state has no money, why would they think local government has money?' said Broward County Commissioner Ilene Lieberman. "No money is no money."

The press conference was put together by the Florida Association of Counties and the Florida League of Cities. The groups used the time to highlight their priorities this year. Chief among them is pension reform for police offices and firefighters, which could help ease the cost burden on local governments. 

"We honor our police officers and firefighters,'' said Tallahassee Mayor John Marks, "but the current system of extra pension benefits could not be sustained without property tax increases.''

The group is also pushing to eliminate a requirement that forces counties to increase funding for court-related infrastructure costs each year, as well as delay the mandate to upgrade voting equipment.