The state of Iowa mandates services for persons with mental retardation but not for those with mental illness, resulting in widely divergent spending for the two populations. Members of 98 of the 99 county boards of supervisors were interviewed to determine differences in attitudes about services and funding priorities. Respondents were more willing to provide supportive services to persons with mental retardation and acute treatment to persons with mental illness. Only 16 percent believed that persons with chronic mental illness should be a first priority for mental health funds. Respondents tended to disagree not about whether services should be funded but about who should fund them. Three-fourths believed that the state should fund such services.