Issue Briefs

2015

HHS Announces Ebola Emergency Funding

Issue Brief
February 24, 2015

Summary 

On February 20, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released allocations for Ebola emergency funding under the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP) and Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP). The funds—included in the fiscal year (FY) 2015 enacted budget (P.L. 113-235)—are for enhancing state, local, and health care system preparedness for Ebola.

In total, $307 million is available in formula grants to states, territories, and four local governments (Chicago, the District of Columbia, Los Angeles County, and New York City), and $32.5 million in competitive funds for the development of a regional Ebola treatment strategy. Table 1 provides the formula allocations by program. HHS has issued the funding opportunity announcement for HPP; the announcement for PHEP will be forthcoming.



With SRS Expired, Forest Service Payments Fall Sharply for FY 2014

Issue Brief 15-04
January 30, 2015

Summary 

On January 15, 2015, the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service announced payments to states for their share of revenues from federal forests in fiscal years (FY) 2013 and 2014. These payments are awarded to rural counties for building schools and maintaining infrastructure. The FY 2014 payments totaled $50 million, a decline of -81.8% from FY 2013 payments, caused by the expiration of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. This Issue Brief analyzes the FY 2014 payments and the potential effect of lost SRS payments on other federal revenue-sharing programs.



HHS Releases Additional FY 2015 LIHEAP Funds

Issue Brief 15-03
January 30, 2015

Summary 

On January 21, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released $302 million in Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant funds. States received an initial release of $3.1 billion in federal fiscal year (FY) 2015 funds in October 2014. With this second notice, ACF has released $3.357 billion of the $3.390 billion appropriated for the program in FY 2015. At this time, ACF is holding back $33.9 million (1%) of the total funding. Overall, LIHEAP funding decreased by -1% in FY 2015, preceded by a 5.2% increase in FY 2014, and a -6.2% reduction in FY 2013.



Recent Trends in EPA Grant Funding

Issue Brief 15-02
January 29, 2015

Summary 

State and Tribal Assistance Grants (STAG) provide funding for Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) programs that are under the primary control of state, local, or tribal governments, as well as other governmental partners. There are two broad categories of STAGs: infrastructure grants and categorical grants. Table 1 summarizes the various programs, and this Issue Brief examines the programs and recent trends.



DHS Issues REAL ID Final Rule

Issue Brief 15-01
January 14, 2015

Summary 

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced a final rule on the enforcement plan for the REAL ID Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-13) on December 29, 2014. The act mandated the 9/11 Commission’s recommendation that states meet specific standards when issuing driver’s licenses and identification (ID) cards used for federal purposes. The final rule maintains the phased enforcement plan announced in December 2013, but modifies the date by which all residents of compliant and extension states must hold a license that satisfies REAL ID standards to October 1, 2020. All other jurisdictions will be subject to enforcement beginning January 19, 2015.



2014

2014 Population Estimates Released; Impact on Bond Caps and SSBG Allocations

Issue Brief 14-44
December 31, 2014

Summary 

On December 23, 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau released resident state population estimates for July 2014. The new data identify population shifts and affect certain grant-in-aid and other formulas. The U.S. population continues to grow at a historically slow rate, with an increase of 0.75% in 2014. Population changes during the year ranged from a low of -1.32% in Puerto Rico to a high of 2.16% in North Dakota. In addition to Puerto Rico, Alaska, Connecticut, Illinois, New Mexico, Vermont, and West Virginia registered declines.

This Issue Brief summarizes the new population estimates and calculates their effect on calendar year (CY) 2015 tax-exempt private activity bond limitations and federal fiscal year (FY) 2016 Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) allocations.



HHS Publishes Child Welfare Services Allotment Percentages

Issue Brief 14-43
December 29, 2014

Summary 


On November 28, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the allotment percentages for Child Welfare Services for fiscal years (FYs) 2016 and 2017. The allotment percentages are one of the factors used to determine the distribution of Child Welfare Services state grants. This Issue Brief provides the new allotment percentages and calculates their impact on state allocations.



Interior Releases FY 2014 Minerals Payments

Issue Brief 14-42
December 10, 2014

Summary 

Under provisions of the Mineral Leasing Act, states receive a share of the receipts collected from the sale, lease, or development of mineral resources located on federal lands. On December 2, 2014, the Department of Interior (DOI) released federal fiscal year (FY) 2014 state payment information under the mineral leasing program. Overall, states received $2.2 billion in mineral leasing revenues for FY 2014, an 11% increase from FY 2013. An additional $4.9 million was disbursed to counties and certain political subdivisions. This Issue Brief provides a breakdown of the FY 2014 mineral revenue payments.



States Face Compliance Challenges with New VA Education Benefit

Issue Brief 14-41
December 10, 2014

Summary 

On August 8, 2014, the president signed the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act of 2014 (Choice Act, P.L. 113-146). Beginning July 1, 2015, Section 702 of the Choice Act requires public institutions of higher education (IHEs) to charge in-state tuition rates to qualifying veterans and dependents living in the state, regardless of formal residency. Public IHEs that do not comply will be unable to receive Post-9/11 GI Bill and Montgomery GI Bill-Active Duty (MGIB-AD) funding. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) wrote in an October 2014 letter to governors that most states and territories are not fully compliant with the new law’s provisions. This Issue Brief explains Section 702 and what actions states must take to become compliant.



President Signs Child Care Reauthorization; Includes New State Requirements

Issue Brief 14-40
December 10, 2014

Summary 

On November 19, 2014, the president signed into law the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDBG) Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-186), which reauthorizes the program for the first time since 1996. The law adds a number of new state requirements, more than doubling the size of the statute. Many of these changes were included in proposed regulations issued by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in May 2013 to improve the safety and quality of child care.

P.L. 113-186 requires states to establish educational, health, and safety standards in 10 specified areas for child care providers receiving federal funding. States will also be required to conduct background checks for child care staff, modify their eligibility processes, meet new licensing requirements, and increase funds set aside to improve the quality of child care. While the law authorizes additional funding for CCDBG to implement these new requirements, this funding is not guaranteed. Funding levels are determined through the annual appropriations process.



Administration Requests Emergency Funding to Fight Ebola

Issue Brief 14-39
November 25, 2014

Summary 

The administration submitted to Congress an emergency request for fiscal year (FY) 2015 of $6.19 billion to address Ebola at home and abroad. Of the total, $4.65 billion would be used for immediate response while $1.54 billion would be placed in a contingency fund. States would receive $228 million for two existing programs—Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) and the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP)—as well as $69 million to establish Ebola treatment centers.



Part D Clawback Payments to Increase in CY 2015

Issue Brief 14-38
November 6, 2014

Summary 

The Medicare Modernization Act (MMA, P.L. 108-173) that established the Medicare Part D prescription drug program requires states to make cost-sharing payments to the federal government, commonly known as the “clawback.” As required by the MMA, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) must notify states by October 15 of their clawback charges for the coming year. The recent CMS release indicates that the per-beneficiary monthly clawback charge to states will increase by 1.39% in calendar year (CY) 2015, following last year’s decline of -6.07%.   



FY 2015 Federal-Aid Highway Funding Update

Issue Brief 14-37
October 28, 2014

Summary 

On October 1, 2014, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) issued three notices to states on federal fiscal year (FY) 2015 funding for highway programs. It released partial FY 2015 apportionments for major highway programs based on Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21, P.L. 112-141), extended by the Highway and Transportation Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-159). FHWA also provided states with their FY 2015 obligation limitations under the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2015 (CR, P.L. 113-164). While the apportionments inform states of their authorized amounts, the total amount of obligations that can be incurred in a given year is determined by the appropriations process. Since the CR runs until December 11, 2014, states have access to only a portion (19.7%) of their annual obligation limitation.

In addition, the FHWA notices identify states subject to highway safety penalties, which require them to transfer a portion of their funds to highway safety activities. Like last year, a special apportionment for the High Risk Rural Road (HRRR) safety program is required for some states. Under MAP-21, states whose fatality rate on rural roads increases over a two-year period must obligate a portion of their Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) funds to the HRRR program.

A separate notice informed states of their reductions in National Highway Performance Program (NHPP) funds as a result of Budget Control Act (BCA) sequestration effective on October 1, 2014, for FY 2015.



HHS Acts Quickly to Release LIHEAP Funds

Issue Brief 14-36
October 17, 2014

Summary 


The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that it is making $3.05 billion available in fiscal year (FY) 2015 Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant funds under the Continuing Appropriations Resolution 2015 (CR, P.L. 113-164). The CR keeps the federal government running until December 11, 2014. For most discretionary programs, the CR provides annualized funding at the FY 2014 enacted level reduced by a small across-the-board (ATB) rescission. The initial LIHEAP awards represent 90% of a state’s annualized allocation under the CR.



FNS Releases FY 2013 SNAP Bonuses, Error Rates

Issue Brief 14-35
October 17, 2014

Summary 


On October 10, 2014, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) published the second installment of fiscal year (FY) 2013 performance bonuses to state agencies administering the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Each year, FNS awards $48 million in performance bonuses to state agencies with the highest or most-improved performance on four measures: payment accuracy, case and procedural error rates (CAPER), participation rate, and application-processing timeliness.

The 2014 farm bill (P.L. 113-79) requires states to reinvest the bonuses in the SNAP program. Prior to the FY 2013 awards, there were no restrictions on how states could use the funds. This Issue Brief provides details on the FY 2013 awards and penalties, and examines recent improvements in SNAP payment accuracy.



SSBCI Investment Picking Up Steam

Issue Brief 14-34
October 8, 2014

Summary 

The State Small Business Credit Initiative (SSBCI), established in 2010, provided $1.5 billion in formula funds to states, municipalities, and territories to support investment in small businesses and manufacturers. Initially, most jurisdictions were slow to spend or obligate their funds. However, recent reports  from the Treasury Department show that more than $891 million (61%) of the allocated funds have been disbursed by states, reflecting a significant increase in activity. However, disbursement remains slow in many states. While 10 states have spent, obligated, or transferred at least 90% of their allocation, 18 jurisdictions have used less than half.



Upcoming Budget and Program Deadlines

Issue Brief 14-33
October 3, 2014

Summary 

Congress is on recess until after the November elections. While it was unable to finalize a budget for fiscal year (FY) 2015, it passed a continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government running until December 11, 2014. The CR did not address all programs set to expire on October 1, 2014, but it provided short-term extensions for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Export-Import Bank, and the Internet tax moratorium. In the meantime, congressional appropriators plan to work on an omnibus appropriations bill to be considered during the lame-duck session, but the timing and whether an agreement will be reached or approved by Congress remains uncertain.

Looking into next year, a host of programs covering all major program areas are set to expire. These are mandatory-funded programs that require action by Congress to continue, rather than discretionary programs that can be funded through annual appropriations despite lacking authorization. In addition, Congress will again need to raise or suspend the debt ceiling.

This Issue Brief identifies expired or expiring programs and highlights important deadlines for those programs. The table below summarizes the deadlines. Table 1 provides funding details.



Final FY 2016 FMAPs

Issue Brief 14-32
October 1, 2014

Summary 

On September 30, 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released revised state personal income and per capita personal income data for 2013 as well as revisions for prior years. The federal government uses state per capita personal income to calculate each state’s reimbursement rate for Medicaid and other grant programs such as Title IV-E adoption assistance and foster care. This matching rate, calculated annually, is known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP). The Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) uses an enhanced FMAP, which is higher than the Medicaid matching rate.

The BEA release allows calculation of the final fiscal year (FY) 2016 FMAPs and enhanced FMAPs, which are based on per capita personal incomes for calendar years 2011-2013. Beginning in FY 2016, the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) increases the enhanced FMAPs for CHIP by 23 percentage points. However, ACA did not provide allotments for CHIP beyond FY 2015.  

This Issue Brief summarizes the BEA data and provides FFIS’s estimates of the final FY 2016 FMAPs and enhanced FMAPs. Based on the new data, FFIS estimates that FMAPs will increase in 22 states and decline in 16 states.



IDEA Full Funding Update

Issue Brief 14-31
September 30, 2014

Summary 

In 1975, Congress passed the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA, P.L. 101-476) to ensure that all children with disabilities would receive a free, appropriate public education. With this law, Congress committed to funding up to 40% of the Average Per Pupil Expenditure (APPE) in public elementary and secondary education for every student receiving special education services. The 40% full funding target has led to some confusion about congressional intent. Many people believe that Congress committed to funding 40% of total special education expenditures. In fact, Congress committed to funding 40% of the national APPE multiplied by the number of children in special education.

Congress has never appropriated sufficient funds to reach the 40% threshold. For example, in fiscal year (FY) 2014, it appropriated $11.5 billion, -$23.5 billion less than the full funding amount. This brief examines recent IDEA appropriations and compares actual state grant allocations to those required to meet the 40% commitment.



Funds Provided for State WIC EBT Implementation

Issue Brief 14-30
September 9, 2014

Summary 

On July 9, 2014, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded nearly $34 million in fiscal year (FY) 2014 funding to 19 states, the District of Columbia, and tribal organizations to support technology improvements in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). Most of the funding will be used to implement electronic benefits transfer (EBT) systems, which give beneficiaries greater flexibility in determining when and how to spend their benefits. The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 (P.L. 111-296) requires all state WIC agencies to fully implement EBT technology by October 1, 2020. This Issue Brief provides background on the EBT upgrade, funding provided to states to implement new systems, and state progress on meeting the new requirements.



HHS Awards Public Health Preparedness Funds

Issue Brief 14-29
August 27, 2014

Summary 

In July, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced $229 million in federal fiscal year (FY) 2014 awards for the Hospital Preparedness Program (HPP), and $612 million for the Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) program. These grants are awarded to states, territories, and four local governments (the District of Columbia, New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles County). While PHEP received a 4.6% increase in FY 2014, grants for HPP were reduced by -31.1%.

Beginning in FY 2012, HPP and PHEP funds were consolidated into one funding announcement and awarded jointly. HHS notes that complying with application and reporting requirements will be a high priority in FY 2014, as several grantees have failed to submit information according to deadlines.



House Budget Committee Releases Proposal to Overhaul Poverty Programs

Issue Brief 14-28
August 21, 2014

Summary 

On July 24, 2014, the House Budget Committee released a discussion draft entitled Expanding Opportunity in America. The six-part plan for overhauling federal poverty policies would affect almost every major federal anti-poverty program. The centerpiece is a pilot program that would allow participating states to consolidate 16 mandatory and discretionary federal grants into a single comprehensive Opportunity Grant. The plan also calls for an overhaul of the federal education and criminal justice systems, and an expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), which would be partly offset by eliminating the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) and other grant programs.  

This Issue Brief reviews the major components of the draft and their potential impact on states.



FY 2014 JAG Allocations Announced

Issue Brief 14-27
August 6, 2014

Summary 

In July, the Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) announced state allocations for the fiscal year (FY) 2014 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) program. JAG is one of the largest sources of federal justice funding to states and local governments, providing assistance for a broad range of purposes. The JAG formula is based on population and violent crime statistics. While appropriations for FY 2014 totaled $376 million (a 3% increase from FY 2013), set-asides and new compliance penalties reduced JAG awards to states by -2.5% compared to FY 2013.



Highway Trust Fund Fix Heads to President

Issue Brief 14-26
August 1, 2014

Summary 

On July 31, 2014, Congress passed the Highway and Transportation Funding Act of 2014 (H.R. 5021). The bill addresses the Highway Trust Fund’s (HTF) impending shortfall by infusing $10.8 billion. H.R. 5021 also extends programs authorized under Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21, P.L. 112-141) until May 31, 2015. With passage of the bill, the Department of Transportation (DOT) should not need to implement the cash management plan described in a July 1 letter to state DOTs. This Issue Brief explains how H.R. 5021 affects federal programs directed to states.



FY 2015 Marks End of CHIP Allotments

Issue Brief 14-25
August 1, 2014

Summary 


The Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) provided an increase in the enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) for most expenditures under the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2016. However, ACA authorized funding for CHIP only through FY 2015. As this date approaches, discussions over the future of the program have begun. This Issue Brief discusses the current financing of the program, implications of expiring funding, and recent reauthorization proposals. 



DOI Releases FY 2014 PILT Payments

Issue Brief 14-24
July 16, 2014

Summary 

On June 17, 2014, the Department of Interior (DOI) announced $437 million in payments to counties under the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for federal fiscal year (FY) 2014. These payments compensate local governments, usually counties, for property tax revenue that would otherwise be collected on non-taxable land owned by the federal government. This year’s PILT allocation represents an 8.7% increase over total payments made in FY 2013. This Issue Brief provides background on the PILT program and details on the FY 2014 payments.



Congress Reaches Agreement on Workforce Reauthorization

Issue Brief 14-23
June 26, 2014

Summary 

On May 21, 2014, the House and Senate announced a bipartisan, bicameral agreement, the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), to reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 (WIA, P.L. 105-220). The agreement eliminates 15 current workforce programs, sets authorized funding levels for WIA formula grant programs, maintains the 15% set-aside for governors to address state-determined workforce needs, and includes several other provisions that guide state workforce boards and programs. In addition, the agreement reauthorizes the Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (Title II of P.L. 105-220) and makes amendments to programs authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (P.L. 93-112). This Issue Brief summarizes the provisions of importance to states included in the agreement.



Water Resources Act Reforms Corps Projects

Issue Brief 14-22
June 25, 2014

Summary 

On June 10, 2014, the president signed into law the Water Resources Reform and Development Act of 2014 (WRRDA; P.L. 113-121). The law authorizes $17 billion for 34 new Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) projects in 18 states and eight modifications to current projects in seven states. It offsets this cost by deauthorizing $18 billion for inactive projects authorized before 2007. Under P.L. 113-121, “nonfederal interests,” such as state and local governments, will have more authority to influence Corps projects. The law also makes changes to the Clean Water State Revolving Fund (SRF) program administered by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Finally, it authorizes funding for a new pilot project for the construction of water infrastructure projects. This Issue Brief provides a summary of the provisions of importance to states included in the law.



A Detailed Look at the ACA Prevention and Public Health Fund

Issue Brief 14-21
June 12, 2014

Summary 

The Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) created and provided a direct appropriation for the Prevention and Public Health Fund (PPHF), beginning in fiscal year (FY) 2010. PPHF has been used to fund new programs included in health care reform and enhance funding for a number of existing programs. In some instances, PPHF has supplanted, rather than supplemented, federal funding for programs. Funding for PPHF has been reduced over time due to sequestration under the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA, P.L. 112-25) and other legislation.

This Issue Brief takes a detailed look at the uses of PPHF and provides state allocations for PPHF grants of interest to states. 

 



The Highway Trust Fund Shortfall: FAQs

Issue Brief 14-20
May 29, 2014

Summary 

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that the highway account of the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) will have difficulty meeting its obligations by the end of fiscal year (FY) 2014. According to a letter from the secretary of the Department of Transportation (DOT), the highway account will dip below a critical threshold of $4 billion as early as July, and the transit account will fall below $1 billion in August. Once the HTF approaches the threshold, DOT has indicated it will use cash-management strategies to avoid insolvency, which may include delaying reimbursements to states. This Issue Brief provides answers to questions about the looming HTF shortfall.



Medicare Part D Parameters, Clawback Estimates for CY 2015

Issue Brief 14-19
May 8, 2014

Summary 


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced the parameters that will guide calendar year (CY) 2015 individual and state costs for the Medicare Part D drug benefit. CMS projects a 4.07% annual percentage increase in per capita Part D expenditures, following last year’s first-ever negative annual percentage increase (-2.76%). These data, as well as enrollment data for persons dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, and FFIS projections of Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAPs) for federal fiscal year (FY) 2016, permit preliminary estimates of state clawback costs for CY 2015.



Forest Service Releases FY 2013 SRS Payments

Issue Brief 14-18
April 23, 2014

Summary 

On April 4, 2014, the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service released fiscal year (FY) 2013 payments under the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program. These payments are awarded to rural counties for building schools and maintaining infrastructure. The FY 2013 SRS payments totaled $276 million, a -5.2% decrease from FY 2012. In addition, USDA has determined that FY 2013 payments were not subject to sequestration under the Budget Control Act (BCA). This Issue Brief provides a summary of the FY 2013 allocations and the application of BCA sequestration to FY 2012 and FY 2013 payments.



DOJ to Sanction Noncompliant States

Issue Brief 14-17
April 23, 2014

Summary 

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79, PREA) requires governors to certify to the Department of Justice (DOJ) that all state prison facilities are in compliance with national standards to prevent, detect, and respond to prison rape by May 15, 2014. To avoid any penalty, a governor may either submit certification of compliance, or a letter of assurance that the state will use at least 5% of specified funds to achieve full compliance with PREA standards. States failing to submit either of these will lose 5% of fiscal year (FY) 2014 DOJ grant funding for prison purposes, including a portion of Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG); the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act’s Title II Formula Grants (Juvenile Justice); and the Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors (STOP) Violence Against Women Formula Grants as a penalty for noncompliance. Due to guidance delays from DOJ, it appears that nearly every state and territory will be unable to certify compliance.

UPDATE: DOJ issued a statement about its newly released PREA compliance report. Of the 56 jurisdictions that are subject to the standards, 48 are in compliance or have submitted assurances.



Senate Approves DATA Act; Excludes New Recipient Reporting Requirements

Issue Brief 14-16
April 22, 2014

Summary 

On April 10, 2014, the Senate approved the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act, S. 994). The bill reflects the compromise reached by House and Senate negotiators on their respective versions. The House is expected to approve the bill once it returns from recess next week.

S. 994 expands the information federal agencies must report on USAspending.gov; establishes common data elements and standards to allow comparisons from multiple systems; and focuses on reducing fraud, waste, and abuse. It also establishes a two-year pilot program to help develop recommendations to standardize reporting elements, eliminate duplicative reporting, and reduce compliance costs for federal award recipients. Unlike previous versions of the DATA Act, the Senate bill does not mandate full multi-tier recipient reporting or require recipients to report on the use of funds.



CBO Reviews Unfunded Mandates in 2013

Issue Brief 14-15
April 11, 2014

Summary 

On March 27, 2014, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released A Review of CBO's Activities in 2013 Under the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act. The annual report showed decreases in both the number of statements that identified mandates (92) and the total number of mandates enacted into law (22) in 2013. This decrease parallels a decline in public laws enacted. This Issue Brief summarizes CBO’s findings.



Senate Passes Emergency Unemployment Extension

Issue Brief 14-14
April 9, 2014

Summary 

On April 7, 2014, the Senate passed the Emergency Unemployment Compensation Extension Act of 2014 (H.R. 3979), which would extend Emergency Unemployment Compensation (EUC) for five months through June 1, 2014. The extension is retroactive to January 1, 2014, when the program expired. The bill also provides a similar five-month retroactive extension of provisions related to the Extended Benefits (EB) program and reemployment and eligibility assessment (REA) funding. It also includes several other provisions governing unemployment insurance (UI) programs. Finally, the bill uses federal pension smoothing and an extension of customs user fees as an offset for the UI costs. This Issue Brief summarizes the provisions of importance to states in the bill.



President Signs Bill to Extend Health Programs, Delay DSH Reductions

Issue Brief 14-13
April 7, 2014

Summary 

On April 1, 2014, the president signed the Protecting Access to Medicare Act (P.L. 113-93), which delays for one year, until April 1, 2015, the scheduled 24% reduction in the Medicare reimbursement rate for physicians. In addition, the law extends a number of health programs operating under short-term extensions, as well as programs included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) scheduled to expire within the next year. The measure also delays the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) reductions included in ACA for another year. Finally, it includes two new demonstration projects for states. 



FY 2016 FMAP Projections

Issue Brief 14-12
March 26, 2014

Summary 

On March 25, 2014, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released preliminary state personal income and per capita personal income data for 2013. The federal government uses state per capita personal income to calculate each state’s reimbursement rate for Medicaid and other grant programs such as Title IV-E adoption assistance and foster care. This matching rate, calculated annually, is known as the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP). The BEA release of the 2013 preliminary data permits projection of fiscal year (FY) 2016 FMAPs, which are based on per capita personal incomes for calendar years 2011-2013.

This Issue Brief summarizes the BEA data and provides FFIS’s estimates of the preliminary FY 2016 FMAPs. FFIS projects that FMAPs will increase in 17 states and decline in 21 states. Some states could see substantial changes in their FMAPs compared to FY 2015. These projections are based on preliminary data, and states have found that adjustments in the final estimates can have a large impact on their FMAP. 



DHS Announces FY 2014 Preparedness Grants

Issue Brief 14-11
March 24, 2014

Summary 

On March 18, 2014, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its fiscal year (FY) 2014 preparedness funding opportunity announcement for the following programs:

  • State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP)
  • Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)
  • Operation Stonegarden
  • Emergency Management Performance Grants Program (EMPG)
  • Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP)
  • Nonprofit Security Grant Program
  • Intercity Passenger Rail Program (Amtrak)
  • Port Security Grant Program
  • Transit Security Grant Program

Preparedness grant programs fund a wide range of activities including planning, organization, equipment purchase, training, and exercises. Final FY 2014 funding levels for the programs listed above total $1.6 billion, a 6.9% increase from $1.5 billion provided in FY 2013.



CMS Releases FY 2014 Medicaid DSH Ceilings

Issue Brief 14-10
March 18, 2014

Summary 

On February 28, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a notice in the Federal Register that provides preliminary fiscal year (FY) 2014 disproportionate share hospital (DSH) allotments. The release includes separate limits for DSH payments to institutions for mental disease (IMDs) and other mental health facilities.

Overall, the preliminary FY 2014 DSH allotments are $108 million (0.9%) more than FY 2013. Initially, states were expected to see significant reductions in DSH payments beginning in FY 2014. However, the Bipartisan Budget Act (P.L. 113-67) delayed the DSH reductions included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) for two years.



DOL Announces Ready to Work Grants

Issue Brief 14-09
February 27, 2014

Summary 

On February 19, 2014, the Department of Labor’s (DOL) Employment and Training Administration (ETA) announced the availability of approximately $150 million for the H-1B Ready to Work Partnership competitive grant program. This new program is aimed at providing job skills training, career development, and counseling to long-term unemployed workers in industries that hire foreign employees under H-1B nonimmigrant visas. This Issue Brief provides details on the Ready to Work competitive grant program and outlines the next steps for states interested in applying for funding.



Twenty Jurisdictions Receive TANF Contingency Funds in FY 2014

Issue Brief 14-08
February 24, 2014

Summary 


On February 19, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) posted to its website monthly awards and estimates under the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Contingency Fund for fiscal year (FY) 2014. Nineteen states and the District of Columbia have received funds in FY 2014. ACF estimates that the $610 million appropriation for FY 2014 will be exhausted in March 2014. 



President Signs Five-Year Farm Bill

Issue Brief 14-07
February 21, 2014

Summary 

On February 7, 2014, the president signed the Agriculture Act of 2014 (P.L. 113-79), which reauthorizes programs under the farm bill for federal fiscal years (FYs) 2014-2018. The final bill represents the conference agreement reached after both the House and Senate passed separate versions of the legislation last year.

The agreement would reduce direct federal spending by a total of -$16.5 billion from FYs 2014-2023, according to the Congressional Budget Office’s (CBO) cost estimate. The law makes several changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), including creating new limits on state “heat and eat” policies and placing additional requirements on retailers to prevent fraud and abuse. While P.L. 113-79 adopts many provisions included in either the House or Senate proposal, it notably does not include a provision that would have preempted states’ ability to put conditions on how agricultural goods and livestock are raised within their borders or for sale in the state.

Previously, FFIS published Issue Brief 14-04,which outlined the major funding provisions in the new law. This Issue Brief provides further details on the policy provisions and changes of importance to states included in the 2014 farm bill.

 



HHS Releases Proposed Rule for TANF EBT Transactions

Issue Brief 14-06
February 14, 2014

Summary 


On February 6, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) published a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) on the new Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) requirement that places restrictions on cash assistance. Specifically, the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96) requires states to adopt policies and practices to prevent TANF-funded assistance from being used in any electronic benefit transfer (EBT) transaction in liquor stores, casinos, or adult-entertainment establishments. The law requires states to be in compliance by February 22, 2014.

The NPRM describes the new requirements and proposed amendments to the TANF regulations. It provides states with suggestions for implementation and discusses some challenges and concerns raised by states. ACF seeks comments on the NPRM, which must be submitted by May 7, 2014.

Even though the rulemaking process is not finalized, states must meet the statutory requirement of submitting a report to HHS by February 22, 2014, outlining their implementation of the policies and practices required by law. In addition, states must modify their state TANF plans by that same deadline.

 



States Receive Almost All FY 2014 LIHEAP Funds

Issue Brief 14-05
January 31, 2014

Summary 


On January 30, 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released $454 million in Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant funds. States received an initial release of $2.9 billion in federal fiscal year (FY) 2014 funds in November 2013. With this second notice, ACF has released $3.390 billion of the $3.425 billion appropriated for the program in FY 2014. At this time, ACF is holding back $34 million (1%) of the total funding. Overall, LIHEAP funding increased by 5.2% in FY 2014, preceded by a -6.2% reduction in FY 2013 and a -26.1% decline in FY 2012. Moreover, Puerto Rico and the territories receive a significant increase in FY 2014 because the secretary of HHS announced that the set-aside for territories will increase to the statutory maximum.  



House Passes Farm Bill Agreement

Issue Brief 14-04
January 29, 2014

Summary 

On January 29, 2014, the House passed the Agriculture Act of 2014 (H.R. 2642), which reauthorizes programs under the farm bill for federal fiscal years (FY) 2014-2018. The Senate is expected to pass the bill this week. The final bill represents the conference agreement reached after both the House and Senate passed separate versions of the legislation last year.

 



OMB Finalizes Major Grant Reforms

Issue Brief 14-03
January 10, 2014

Summary 


On December 26, 2013, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) published final guidance in the Federal Register to implement specific reforms for federal policies relating to grants and cooperative agreements involving state and local governments as well as universities and nonprofit organizations. The reforms cover a wide range of areas, including administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements.

The final guidance is similar to the notice of proposed guidance (NPG) that OMB published on February 1, 2013, although it does reflect some feedback received through the comment period. OMB received more than 300 responses from the grant community on both the NPG and the advanced notice of proposed guidance (ANPG) issued on February 28, 2012. The reforms are a result of several executive orders to reduce administrative burdens and increase flexibility, while at the same time targeting improper payments and improving program performance. Moreover, they reflect various ideas from OMB’s collaboration with federal, state, and local representatives and other key groups to evaluate potential federal grant reforms.

The final guidance streamlines requirements from eight existing OMB circulars into one document—Uniform Administrative Requirements, Cost Principles, and Audit Requirements for Federal Awards—that applies to grants and cooperative agreements made to state, local, and tribal governments, institutions of higher education, and nonprofit entities. The consolidation is intended to eliminate duplicative and conflicting provisions, clarify where policies are uniform, and highlight the differences that exist among entities. It also makes several modifications to existing requirements. The guidance is effective on December 26, 2014, for nonfederal entities, with some flexibility for a smooth transition period.

 



HHS Announces Final Year Awards for CHIPRA Performance Bonuses

Issue Brief 14-02
January 8, 2014

Summary 

The Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act of 2009 (CHIPRA, P.L. 111-3) provided a new opportunity for states to obtain bonus payments for simplifying their Medicaid and CHIP programs and successfully enrolling children who are eligible for Medicaid. These payments are designed to help states offset a portion of their costs associated with increased enrollment.

On December 30, 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that 23 states received $307 million in performance bonuses in fiscal year (FY) 2013. These states also received bonuses in FY 2012, and nine states have been awarded funds each year since the program began in FY 2009. FY 2013 marks the final year of the program’s authorization. In total, states have received $1.1 billion in performance bonuses over the five-year period.



2013 Population Estimates Released; Impact on Bond Caps and SSBG

Issue Brief 14-01
January 3, 2014

Summary 


On December 30, 2013, the U.S. Census Bureau released resident state population estimates for July 2013. The new data identify population shifts and affect certain grant-in-aid and other formulas. The U.S. population continues to grow more slowly than it has since the Great Depression, with an increase of 0.72% in 2013.  Population growth during the year ranged from -1.00% in Puerto Rico to 3.14% in North Dakota. In addition to Puerto Rico, West Virginia and Maine registered declines.

This Issue Brief summarizes the new population estimates and calculates their effect on calendar year (CY) 2014 tax-exempt private activity bond limitations and federal fiscal year (FY) 2015 Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) allocations.