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Unfunded Mandate


Definition: An unfunded mandate is when a new piece of Federal legislation would require another government agency, or the private sector, to perform functions for which it has no funds. When the Federal government prevents another government entity from imposing taxes, that is also considered an unfunded mandate.

The Unfunded Mandate Reform Act (UMRA) seeks to prevent unfunded mandates by identifying their costs. Since UMRA took effect in 1996, Congress has enacted fewer federal laws that impose unfunded mandates.

Also Known As: UMRA
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) tries to identify and estimate costs of unfunded mandates throughout the budgetary process.
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