Jeffrey D. Straussman
Impositions by higher-level governments on lower-level governments that require the lower-level governments to do something or refrain from doing something under the threat of criminal or civil sanction and/or the removal of funds. They take the form of procedures, responsibilities, and activities that must be carried out by the lower-level government. The sources of the mandates are the federal and state constitutions, statutes, administrative rules and procedures, and court orders. Mandates may be "direct orders" or they may be "conditions of aid" (Catherine Lovell and Charles Tobin 1981).
Mandates are the subject of much political, legal, and fiscal debate in the United States because of their number, penetration, and cost throughout the intergovernmental system. To understand mandates, it is first necessary to have a comprehensive classification of the different types that exist. Catherine Lovell and Charles Tobin (1981) have provided the following useful classification of the myriad mandates that exist in the U.S. intergovernmental system. The following draws heavily from their work.
The first way to think about mandates is to consider the requirements that mandates impose, the method that is used to impose them, and the application of the mandates.
Requirements may be either programmatic or procedural. Programmatic mandates specify the content of what should be done. They may identify