Voters will pass judgment this fall on the advisory initiative proposing a state constitutional amendment to prohibit enactment of unfunded state mandates on local governments.

Last month Gov. Jim Edgar signed legislation allowing the item, which many local governments support, to go on the Nov. 3 ballot.

The governor said voters can "send a message to their elected representatives in the General Assembly and let them know how they feel about the state telling their local governments how to do their business without providing the necessary funds to implement those mandates."

If approved by voters, the proposed constitutional amendment would then have to pass the legislature with a three-fifths majority vote in order to be placed on a November 1994 ballot for final voter approval, according to Dan Egler, a spokesman for Gov. Edgar.

"Each year, local governments face well-intentioned new mandates to provide new services," the governor said. "When these mandates are imposed without the adequate appropriation of funds, however, a burden is placed on local governments and local taxpayers. Often, officials must turn to the property tax to pay for the new program or service."

A law prohibiting unfunded mandates has been in effect since 1981, but lawmakers routinely skirt it by inserting exemptions to the mandates act in bills. One state official has said it would be much harder to get around a constitutional amendment.

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