Issue Briefs

2017

EPA Launches Water Infrastructure Program

Issue Brief 17-03
January 18, 2017

Summary 

On January 10, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced the availability of $1 billion in loans for the Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA), financed by a $20 million appropriation in the fiscal year (FY) 2017 continuing resolution (CR). WIFIA is a credit assistance program providing direct loans and loan guarantees to states and other entities for water infrastructure projects. This Issue Brief provides a summary of the WIFIA program and the application process for the new funds.

The WIIN Act: A WRDA by Any Other Name

Issue Brief 17-02
January 12, 2017

Summary 

On December 16, the president signed the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act (P.L. 114-322). The legislation authorizes new Army Corps of Engineers projects, amends programs related to water infrastructure, creates new grant programs, and authorizes emergency assistance to communities facing drinking water contamination. This Issue Brief highlights provisions of particular interest to states.

Justice for All Reauthorization Becomes Law

Issue Brief 17-01
January 12, 2017

Summary 

Last month, the president signed the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016 (P.L. 114-324). The bill amends several laws, programs, and provisions, as follows:

  • It amends the Justice for All Act of 2004, the Victims of Crime Act of 1984, the DNA Sexual Assault Justice Act of 2004, and the Innocence Protection Act of 2004, to reauthorize several grants; gives preference to some grant applicants; and directs the National Institute of Justice to establish best practices for evidence retention.
  • It also specifies that certain funds be allocated for testing and auditing backlogged rape kits; amends the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA); and requires applications for Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG) funds to include a strategic plan to improve administration of criminal justice.

This Issue Brief focuses on the provisions that affect state grant programs.

2016

Impact of 2016 Population Estimates on Bond Caps and SSBG Allocations

Issue Brief 16-64
December 29, 2016

Summary 

On December 20, the U.S. Census Bureau released state resident population estimates for July 2016. The new data identify population shifts and affect certain grant and other formulas.

The U.S. population grew by 0.70% in 2016, the lowest increase since the Great Depression. Population changes during the year ranged from a low of   -1.78% in Puerto Rico to a high of 2.03% in Utah. In addition to Puerto Rico, Connecticut, Illinois, Mississippi, New York, Pennsylvania, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming registered declines.

This Issue Brief summarizes the new population estimates and calculates their effect on calendar year (CY) 2017 tax-exempt private activity bond limitations and fiscal year (FY) 2018 Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) allocations.

HHS Publishes Child Welfare Services Allotment Percentages; Revisions Possible

Issue Brief 16-63
December 28, 2016

Summary 

On November 30, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released the allotment percentages for Child Welfare Services for fiscal years (FYs) 2018 and 2019. The allotment percentages are calculated using per capita personal income, and are one of the factors used to determine the distribution of Child Welfare Services state grants.

Based on FFIS calculations, it appears that HHS relied on per capita personal income data released by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) in March. In the past, HHS has used the revised annual state personal income estimates published in September, and FFIS calculated the percentages using the September release. HHS indicated it plans to review its calculations.

This Issue Brief provides the new allotment percentages and compares them to FFIS estimates.

Interior Releases FY 2016 Minerals Payments

Issue Brief 16-62
December 22, 2016

Summary 

Under provisions of the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA), states receive a share of receipts collected from the sale, lease, or development of mineral resources on federal lands. On November 25, the Department of Interior (DOI) released fiscal year (FY) 2016 state payments. Overall, states received $1.3 billion, a -27.8% change from the prior year.

SAMHSA Releases Funding Opportunity, Allocations for Opioid Response Grants

Issue Brief 16-61
December 21, 2016

Summary 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the funding opportunity announcement for the new State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants (Opioid STR). In fiscal year (FY) 2017, $485 million is available to states and territories. The funds are awarded by formula, although an application must be submitted by February 17, 2017.

The Congressional Review Act: Implications for States in 2017

Issue Brief 16-60
December 20, 2016

Summary 

The 115th Congress will convene on January 3, 2017. The new Congress will have an opportunity to employ a little-used provision in the Congressional Review Act (CRA) that allows for disapproval of recent agency rules under limited debate in the Senate—a potentially powerful tool for undoing the actions of an outgoing administration.

This Issue Brief summarizes the CRA’s disapproval provision, and lists major rules of interest to states that Congress could undo in 2017, including the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) implementation rules, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) assessment regulations, Child Care and Development Fund regulations, Head Start performance standards, and numerous Medicaid provisions.

21st Century Cures Includes Opioids and Mental Health

Issue Brief 16-59
December 5, 2016

Summary 

On November 30, the House passed a revised version of the 21st Century Cures bill (H.R. 34). The Senate will consider the bill this week. The compromise includes:

  • additional funding to address opioid addiction
  • mental health reforms affecting health and criminal justice
  • new Medicaid requirements
  • reductions to the Prevention and Public Health Fund


It initially included child welfare financing reform, an extension of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and a new social impact demonstration project. Those sections of the bill were eliminated prior to its passage. 

Highway Funding Can Bypass States Under New Pilot

Issue Brief 16-58
November 17, 2016

Summary 

On October 26, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced a pilot program to provide federal-aid highway funding directly to local governments, bypassing states. Under the Local Empowerment for Accelerating Projects (LEAP) program, five local public agencies (LPAs) will directly administer federal-aid highway funding, under federal oversight, for five years. The program will relieve states of direct oversight responsibilities, but also divest them of control over the use of federal funds. This Issue Brief provides a summary of the current federal highway funding process, and an explanation of the LEAP program.

CMS Announces 10% Increase in Medicare Part B Premiums for Dual Eligibles

Issue Brief 16-57
November 14, 2016

Summary 

On November 10, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a 10% increase in monthly Part B premiums for dual eligibles and certain other Medicare beneficiaries in calendar year (CY) 2017. FFIS estimates the premiums will increase the state share of Medicaid costs by $490 million. This is significantly less than the initial estimate of $1.1 billion based on projections from the Medicare Trustees Report released this summer.

Clawback Payments to Increase $1.2 Billion in 2017

Issue Brief 16-56
November 9, 2016

Summary 

On October 28, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) notified states of next year’s clawback charges—the cost-sharing payments to the federal government for the Medicare Part D prescription drug program. The CMS release indicates that the per-beneficiary monthly clawback charge to states will increase by 11.93% in calendar year (CY) 2017. This is the largest increase since the program’s inception, and the second year of double-digit increases. Based on this rate increase, FFIS estimates that state payments will total more than $11 billion in CY 2017, a $1.2 billion increase.

For several years, the Part D program benefited from a slowdown in prescription drug costs, particularly as major specialty medications lost their patent protections. With the availability of new specialty drugs (such as those for Hepatitis C), growth in prescription drug utilization, and rising drug prices overall, this trend is reversing.  

ED Awards Final School Improvement Grants

Issue Brief 16-55
November 7, 2016

Summary 

On October 25, the Department of Education (ED) awarded more than $427 million in School Improvement Grants (SIG) to states and territories for fiscal year (FY) 2016. These awards likely represent the last funding to be allocated under the SIG program, which was consolidated into the Title I grant program by the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) beginning in FY 2017.

Congress Tackles Mental Health Reform

Issue Brief 16-54
November 4, 2016

Summary 

Both the House and Senate have acted on bills to address mental health reform, and congressional leaders have indicated a compromise is possible during the lame duck session. The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) approved the Mental Health Reform Act (S. 2680) in March. The House passed the Mental Health Systems Improvements Act (H.R. 2646) in July.

The bills focus on improving the nation’s mental health treatment system by:

  • enhancing oversight and coordination of mental health programs
  • creating new grant programs to address unmet needs
  • reauthorizing and modifying existing programs

The House bill would also expand mental health coverage under Medicaid and require states to implement electronic visit verification systems for personal care and home health services. This Issue Brief compares the two versions, and provides an inventory of grants included in the bills. 

HHS Releases $3 Billion in FY 2017 LIHEAP Funds

Issue Brief 16-53
October 27, 2016

Summary 

On October 26, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released $3 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2017 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant funds under the Continuing Appropriations Resolution, 2017 (CR; P.L. 114-223). These initial awards represent approximately 89% of LIHEAP’s annualized funding under the CR.

FY 2016 Medicaid DSH Allotments Released

Issue Brief 16-52
October 27, 2016

Summary 

On October 26, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a notice in the Federal Register that provides preliminary fiscal year (FY) 2016 disproportionate share hospital (DSH) allotments, and final FY 2014 allotments. (Preliminary FY 2015 allotments were released in February.)

Overall, the preliminary FY 2016 DSH allotments are $36 million more than FY 2015. This increase is relatively small because of the estimated 0.3% increase in the consumer price index for all urban consumers (CPI-U), which is the main factor used to determine the allotments. Initially, states were expected to see significant reductions in DSH payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) beginning in FY 2014. However, these cuts have been delayed multiple times, most recently until FY 2018. 

CDC Restores Emergency Preparedness Funds, Announces Zika Funding

Issue Brief 16-51
October 24, 2016

Summary 

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded $44 million in Public Health Emergency Preparedness (PHEP) funds. The Zika Response and Preparedness Act (P.L. 114-223) included a set-aside for CDC to restore funds that had been redirected from PHEP in March to support Zika response efforts.

CDC also conducted a briefing on its spending plan for the fiscal year (FY) 2016 supplemental Zika funding it received in P.L. 114-223. It plans to provide more than $100 million to states, territories, and cities. It recently released two funding opportunity announcements:

  • $25 million for the Public Health Preparedness and Response program
  • $70 million for the Epidemiology and Laboratory Capacity for Infectious Disease (ELC) program   

 

Juvenile Justice Reauthorization Update

Issue Brief 16-50
October 19, 2016

Summary 

Last month, the House passed H.R. 5963, the Supporting Youth Opportunity and Preventing Delinquency Act of 2016. The bill would reauthorize and amend federal juvenile justice programs for five years. The Senate Committee on the Judiciary approved its own reauthorization proposal, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Reauthorization Act of 2015 (S. 1169), last year. The two bills are similar in many respects, but differ in the timing and level of reauthorization, and other matters. This Issue Brief compares the two bills, highlighting provisions of interest to states.

FY 2018 FMAPs: Several States See Big Increases

Issue Brief 16-49
September 29, 2016

Summary 

On September 28, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released revised state personal income and per capita income data for 2015, and revisions for prior years. The federal government uses state per capita income to calculate each state’s reimbursement rate—the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP)—for Medicaid and other grant programs. 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) 2018 FMAPs and enhanced FMAPs, which are based on per capita incomes for calendar years 2013-2015.

This Issue Brief summarizes the BEA data and provides FFIS’s estimates of the final FY 2018 FMAPs and enhanced FMAPs. FFIS estimates that FMAPs will increase in 25 states (with 10 states seeing increases of more than one percentage point) and decline in 12 states.    

FEMA Proposed Guidance Incorporates State Fiscal Capacity

Issue Brief 16-48
September 28, 2016

Summary 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has released Draft Individual Assistance Declarations Factors Guidance.  This guidance accompanies a proposed rule published in November 2015 that would revise the factors FEMA considers when evaluating a governor’s request for a major disaster declaration authorizing Individual Assistance. FEMA published the proposed rule to meet the requirements of the Sandy Recovery Improvement Act (P.L. 113-2). Comments on the proposed guidance must be received by October 24, 2016. According to FEMA, “Based on comments received, FEMA may make appropriate revisions to the proposed guidance.”

Senate Passes Water Resources Legislation

Issue Brief 16-47
September 22, 2016

Summary 

On September 15, the Senate passed S. 2848, the Water Resources Development Act of 2016 (WRDA). The legislation authorizes $9 billion for 25 new Army Corps of Engineers projects, creates several new grant programs, and provides emergency assistance to communities facing drinking water contamination. This Issue Brief highlights provisions of the bill of particular interest to states.

HHS Releases Final Round of LIHEAP Funds

Issue Brief 16-46
September 21, 2016

Summary 

On September 16, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released $14 million in fiscal year (FY) 2016 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant funds. States received an initial release of $3.018 billion in October 2015, and a second release of $336 million in April 2016. With this third notice, ACF has released $3.368 billion of the $3.390 billion appropriated for the program in FY 2016. No additional funds will be awarded to states. Of the remaining funds, $3 million is reserved for training/technical assistance, and $19.5 million will be transferred to other programs within HHS.

Expiring Mandatory Programs

Issue Brief 16-45
September 19, 2016

Summary 

Congress provides funding for discretionary grant programs through the annual appropriations process. It is not uncommon for these programs to receive funding even when their authorizations have expired. However, discretionary programs account for only about 25% of federal grant funding to state and local governments. The remaining 75% is for mandatory programs, which derive their budget authority directly from authorizing legislation. Most of these programs are funded apart from the appropriations process, and must be reauthorized in a timely manner to continue to operate or undertake new activities.

ED Proposes Title I Supplement-not-Supplant Regulations

Issue Brief 16-44
September 14, 2016

Summary 

On September 6, the Department of Education (ED) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM), implementing provisions of the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) that address a longstanding requirement that federal funds provided under Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) must supplement, and not supplant, state and local funds. This Issue Brief provides a brief summary of the NPRM.

HHS Awards FY 2016 Funds to Address Opioid Epidemic

Issue Brief 16-43
September 13, 2016

Summary 

The fiscal year (FY) 2016 budget included $237 million to address the opioid epidemic. The grants are administered by the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Justice (DOJ). HHS has awarded $179 million to states. DOJ awards have not yet been announced.

Adoption Assistance Updates

Issue Brief 16-42
September 8, 2016

Summary 

The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) recently awarded $47 million under the Adoption and Legal Guardianship Incentive Payments program. It also released the first annual report that compiles state data on savings from the expansion of phased-in eligibility under Title IV-E adoption assistance.

Congress is currently considering legislation to reform child welfare programs. The bill would reauthorize the Adoption and Legal Guardianship Incentive Payments program, which is set to expire at the end of this month. However, it would also delay the full expansion of adoption assistance eligibility.

An Overview of Federal Resources for Lead Prevention and Mitigation

Issue Brief 16-41
August 31, 2016

Summary 

On January 16, 2016, the president declared a state of emergency in Flint, Michigan, in response to the exposure of thousands of residents to lead-contaminated drinking water. Since that time, federal agencies have taken steps to assist Flint residents, and numerous bills have been introduced to strengthen federal drinking water regulations and provide additional funding for lead poisoning prevention. This Issue Brief provides an overview of federal funding currently available to states for preventing lead poisoning and providing clean drinking water.

100% Federal Match Under ACA Set to Decline in 2017

Issue Brief 16-40
August 26, 2016

Summary 

For states that have implemented the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the federal government pays 100% of the cost for covering newly eligible individuals through calendar year (CY) 2016. CY 2017 marks the first year that states will share in the cost. The federal match declines to 95% and continues to phase down each year until it reaches 90% in CY 2020.  

Medicare Part B Premiums Could Increase State Costs by $1.1 Billion in 2017

Issue Brief 16-39
August 25, 2016

Summary 

A recent Medicare Trustees report projects a 22% increase in monthly Part B premiums for dual eligibles and certain other Medicare beneficiaries in calendar year (CY) 2017. If this occurs, FFIS estimates a $1.1 billion increase in the state share of Medicaid costs.

CDC Awards Additional Zika Funding to States

Issue Brief 16-38
August 11, 2016

Summary 

In recent weeks, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced additional funding for states to support efforts to combat Zika. In total, $107 million has been awarded. Since Congress has yet to pass a supplemental funding bill for Zika response efforts, the administration is relying on reprogrammed funds, including unobligated Ebola funding, to provide resources.

This Issue Brief provides details on the awards and the status of Zika funding.

House Takes Piecemeal Approach to TANF Reauthorization

Issue Brief 16-37
July 29, 2016

Summary 

In June, the House passed the Social Impact Partnerships to Pay for Results Act (H.R. 5170). The bill would redirect $100 million in fiscal year (FY) 2017 Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) contingency funds to provide payments to states and local governments for projects that produce agreed upon outcomes and result in social benefit. It also extends TANF and related programs at current levels through FY 2017; these programs are set to expire September 30, 2016.

In addition to H.R. 5170, several other TANF bills have been approved by the House Ways and Means Committee. While the committee hasn’t moved forward with a comprehensive TANF reauthorization, all of these measures have bipartisan support.

Congress Sends Opioid Bill to President; Includes New Grants for States

Issue Brief 16-36
July 15, 2016

Summary 

The House and Senate have passed the conference agreement to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), sending it to the president for signature. The bill addresses prescription drug and heroin abuse, focusing on prevention, education, treatment, and recovery. It creates new state and local grants, reauthorizes existing programs, adds new grant accountability provisions, addresses opioid abuse among veterans, modifies prescribing practices, and expands treatment options.

This Issue Brief describes the agreement, and provides an inventory of grants included in the bill. 

House Committee Approves Perkins Reauthorization

Issue Brief 16-35
July 14, 2016

Summary 

On July 7, the House Education and Workforce Committee approved  the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (H.R. 5587), with bipartisan support.  The bill would amend and reauthorize career and technical education (CTE) programs authorized under the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006. It would increase authorized funding authorized for Career and Technical Education State Grants (hereafter referred to as the state grants program) by 1% annually, and provide states with greater flexibility and control.

This Issue Brief provides background on the state grants program, and summarizes major provisions of the bill.

 

Update: This brief was updated on July 18, 2016, to reflect an amendment adopted on July 7 affecting the Career and Technical Education State Grants hold-harmless provision.

Bicameral, Bipartisan Child Welfare Bill Passes House; Mixed Reactions by States

Issue Brief 16-34
July 11, 2016

Summary 

Last month, the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee announced a bicameral, bipartisan child welfare reform bill. The House passed the bill—Family First Prevention Services Act (H.R. 5456)—on June 21. It is expected to be considered by the Senate soon. The bill makes a number of changes to child welfare programs, including:

  • allowing states to claim federal reimbursement under Title IV-E foster care for time-limited prevention services as long as certain requirements are met, such as maintenance-of-effort (MOE) provisions
  • placing limits on states’ ability to claim federal reimbursement for non-family foster care settings
  • reauthorizing and modifying several child welfare programs set to expire at the end of fiscal year (FY) 2016
  • expanding eligibility for the John H. Chafee Foster Care Independence Program, and Education and Training Vouchers
  • delaying the delinking of Title IV-E adoption assistance eligibility from outdated eligibility requirements    

While states support many aspects of the bill, there have been concerns over certain provisions, including the MOE requirement and the loss of funding for congregate care.

New Rule to Increase Mineral Leasing Payments

Issue Brief 16-33
July 8, 2016

Summary 

On July 1, the Office of Natural Resources Revenue (ONRR) published a final rule amending its regulations for determining the value of fossil fuels produced on federal lands. The rule is part of a broader effort to modernize energy regulations, and is expected to increase the amount of annual royalties paid to the federal government and states.

This Issue Brief summarizes the final rule and provides information about the flow of federal leasing royalties to states.

House and Senate Opioid Bills Differ in Funding and Scope

Issue Brief 16-32
June 20, 2016

Summary 

Both the House and Senate have passed versions of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), to address prescription drug and heroin abuse. The Senate passed S. 524 in March. In May, the House passed 18 bills and combined them into one, as an amended version of S. 524. While there are common themes in the bills—such as the creation of new state and local grants, the reauthorization of existing programs, and grant accountability—they differ in scope and funding. This Issue Brief compares the two versions, and provides an inventory of grants included in the bills. 

FY 2016 JAG Allocations Announced

Issue Brief 16-31
June 15, 2016

Summary 

The Department of Justice (DOJ) Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has announced state and local allocations for fiscal year (FY) 2016 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grants (JAG). JAG is the largest sources of justice funding for state and local governments, providing assistance for a wide range of purposes. Its formula is based on population and violent crime statistics. Appropriations for FY 2016 were the same as the last two years, and totaled $376 million (plus an additional $100 million for presidential nominating conventions); set-asides and other activities reduced the amount available for formula grants to $266 million.

House and Senate Pass Competing Zika Funding Bills

Issue Brief 16-30
June 2, 2016

Summary 

Before adjourning for the Memorial Day recess, both the House and Senate passed bills to provide fiscal year (FY) 2016 funding to combat the mosquito-borne Zika virus. The bills differ in the amount of funding they provide, the flexibility given to federal agencies, and the offsets they propose. Both provide less funding than was requested by the president, who has indicated he would veto the House bill. 

Formula Changes Finalized for Developmental Disabilities Programs

Issue Brief 16-29
May 26, 2016

Summary 

On May 11, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) published a notice in the Federal Register finalizing the new formula for two grants: State Councils on Developmental Disabilities (SCDD), and Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&A).

According to ACL, the change is in response to requests for a modernized funding formula, as the current one relies on outdated information and undercounts the population of individuals with disabilities. The new formula takes effect in fiscal year (FY) 2017, although it will be phased in over three years for P&A. Overall, FFIS estimates that the new formula will be beneficial to nine states, while 24 states and Puerto Rico could lose funds. The table below summarizes the results.

Senate Appropriations Bill Expands Rescission of Highway Funds

Issue Brief 16-28
May 25, 2016

Summary 

On May 19, the Senate passed its fiscal year (FY) 2017 Transportation-Housing and Urban Development (T-HUD) appropriations bill (S. 2844). The bill includes a rescission of $2.2 billion in unobligated highway contract authority apportionments in FY 2017. Although states’ ability to deploy contract authority is limited by annual obligation limitations, state officials have expressed concern about the rescission, arguing that its explicit distribution among programs will impede their flexibility to program federal funds.

This Issue Brief describes the rescission and its potential impact on states. FFIS will examine the entire T-HUD appropriations bill in a forthcoming brief.

HUD Announces First-Ever Housing Trust Fund Allocations to States

Issue Brief 16-27
May 20, 2016

Summary 

On May 4, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) allocated $174 million from the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) to states, the District of Columbia, and territories. The allocations are the first ever from the HTF, which was created in 2008, but only recently received funding.

HTF funds are awarded to states as formula grants to improve the supply of affordable housing for extremely low- and very low-income households. This Issue Brief provides background on the HTF and a breakdown of fiscal year (FY) 2016 funding allocations.

CDC Announces Zika Funding for States

Issue Brief 16-26
May 17, 2016

Summary 

On May 13, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced $25 million in funding to 53 states, territories, and local health departments to support Zika public health preparedness planning and operational readiness. States must submit an application by June 13, 2016, and the estimated award date is August 1, 2016. 

OAA Reauthorized; Hold-Harmless Modification Affects State Allocations

Issue Brief 16-25
May 6, 2016

Summary 

On April 19, 2016, the president signed legislation (P.L. 114-144) to reauthorize Older Americans Act (OAA) programs through fiscal year (FY) 2019. The law updates the hold-harmless provision used to allocate funds for most programs under Title III (grants to states). Overall, FFIS estimates this change will result in 11 states seeing funding increases and 30 jurisdictions seeing reductions in FY 2017. The table below summarizes the results.

The new law also expands the list of allowable activities for certain programs, strengthens the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program, and modifies the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP).

LWCF State Assistance Grants Update

Issue Brief 16-24
May 5, 2016

Summary 

On April 18, the Department of the Interior (DOI) announced $94.9 million in payments to states from the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) for fiscal year (FY) 2016, a 119% increase from FY 2015. These matching grants assist states in planning, acquiring, and developing outdoor recreation facilities.

Although the LWCF is authorized through FY 2018, the Senate recently passed legislation to permanently authorize it and limit the percentage of annual funding that can be apportioned to individual LWCF programs. This Issue Brief provides details on the FY 2016 payments and summarizes the Senate’s reauthorization proposal.

Municipal Bonds Could Benefit from HQLA Final Rule

Issue Brief 16-23
May 4, 2016

Summary 

On April 1, the Federal Reserve Board of Directors issued a final rule amending its liquidity coverage requirements at major banks. The final rule amends the definition of High-Quality Liquid Assets (HQLA), which banks must hold in reserve under new federal regulations, to include some municipal bonds. A previous set of rules had specifically excluded all municipal bonds from the HQLA designation. The new rule does not include all municipal bonds, however, and delineates numerous restrictions on which bonds might qualify.

This Issue Brief provides background and a summary of the final rule, and its implications for states.

ApprenticeshipUSA Accelerator Grants Available

Issue Brief 16-22
April 27, 2016

Summary 

On April 21, the Employment and Training Administration (ETA) published Training and Employment Guidance Letter 19-15, announcing the availability of $9.5 million in ApprenticeshipUSA Accelerator grants. These non-competitive grants are available immediately to any state or territory that commits to furthering plans for expanding registered apprenticeships. ETA encourages states to apply by April 30, 2016, but the official deadline is May 15, 2016. The grants are provided in advance of $51.5 million in ApprenticeshipUSA competitive grants that ETA plans to distribute later this year.

This Issue Brief provides further detail, and a timeline of key dates for both grant programs.

SSBG Targeted for Elimination

Issue Brief 16-21
April 25, 2016

Summary 

In March, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the Reducing Duplicative and Ineffective Federal Spending Act (H.R. 4724), which would eliminate the Social Services Block Grant (SSBG). SSBG—funded at $1.6 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2016—is one of the few flexible funding sources that help states provide a wide range of services to children and adults in need.

Workforce Allotments Announced; FFIS Updates Governor's Set-Aside Amounts

Issue Brief 16-20
April 21, 2016

Summary 

On April 5, the Department of Labor published program year (PY) 2016 allotments for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Adult, Dislocated Worker, and Youth Activities programs, as well as for the Wagner-Peyser Employment Service and Workforce Information Grants programs. Total funding for the five programs increased almost 3% compared to the prior year, although 21 states saw a decline in funding.

This Issue Brief provides a breakdown and summary of the allotments, and uses them to update FFIS estimates of the WIOA governor’s set-aside amounts for PY 2016.

FFIS Projects Significant Increases in Medicare Clawback in 2017

Issue Brief 16-19
April 7, 2016

Summary 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the parameters that will guide calendar year (CY) 2017 individual and state costs for the Medicare Part D drug benefit. CMS projects a 6.99% annual percentage increase in per capita Part D expenditures. After accounting for prior-year revisions, the annual percentage increase is 11.75%. This marks the second consecutive year of double-digit increases. Prior to this, the Part D program benefited from a slowdown in prescription drug costs, particularly as major specialty medications lost their patent protection. With the availability of new specialty drugs—such as Hepatitis C drugs—growth in prescription drug utilization, and rising drug prices overall, this trend is reversing.

The release of the annual percentage increase, enrollment data for persons dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid, and FFIS projections of Federal Medical Assistance Percentages (FMAPs) for federal fiscal year (FY) 2018, allow for preliminary estimates of state clawback costs for CY 2017. Based on the projections, CY 2017 clawbacks are estimated to cost states $10.9 billion, $1.1 billion more than CY 2016.

HHS Releases Second Round of LIHEAP Funds

Issue Brief 16-18
April 6, 2016

Summary 

On April 1, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released $335.5 million in fiscal year (FY) 2016 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant funds. States received an initial release of $3.018 billion in October 2015. With this second notice, ACF has released $3.353 billion of the $3.390 billion appropriated for the program in FY 2016. At this time, ACF is holding back the remaining funds (1%), pending final budget decisions.

House Advances OAA Reauthorization

Issue Brief 16-17
April 1, 2016

Summary 

On March 21, the House passed an amended version of the Older Americans Act (OAA) reauthorization (S. 192), which was approved by the Senate last summer. The House bill is almost identical to the Senate version. It maintains the Senate’s modification to the hold-harmless provision used to allocate funds for most programs under Title III (grants to states). This change would result in no state receiving less than 99% of its prior-year allotment (instead of an amount equal to its fiscal year [FY] 2006 allotment). It also expands the list of allowable activities for certain programs, and strengthens the Long-Term Care Ombudsman program.

Issue Brief 15-28 provides details on the Senate-passed bill. This brief focuses on differences between the House and Senate versions, including the period of authorization, authorized funding levels, and modifications to the Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP). 

Senate Passes Opioid Addiction Treatment Bill

Issue Brief 16-16
March 30, 2016

Summary 

On March 10, 2016, the Senate passed the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA, S. 524). CARA creates a number of grant programs—administered by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Justice (DOJ)—to address prescription drug and heroin abuse, with a focus on expanding drug treatment and recovery programs. For most programs, the bill authorizes funding to be appropriated through the annual budget process for fiscal year (FY) 2016 through FY 2020. However, a few programs may be funded through existing appropriations or unobligated balances. This Issue Brief provides an inventory of the programs included in the bill and highlights other provisions.

USDA Announces Secure Rural Schools Payments for FY 2015

Issue Brief 16-15
March 28, 2016

Summary 

On March 18, 2016, the Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Forest Service released payments for the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) program for fiscal year (FY) 2015. These payments are awarded to rural counties for building schools and maintaining infrastructure. SRS payments for FY 2015—the last year of the program’s current authorization—total $272 million, a -4% change from FY 2014. This Issue Brief provides a summary of the FY 2015 payments.

FY 2018 FMAP Projections

Issue Brief 16-14
March 25, 2016

Summary 

On March 24, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released preliminary state personal income and per capita personal income data for 2015. 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 of 2015 preliminary data facilitates projections of fiscal year (FY) 2018 FMAPs and enhanced FMAPs, which are based on per capita personal incomes for calendar years 2013-2015.

This Issue Brief summarizes the BEA data and provides FFIS’s estimates of the preliminary FY 2018 FMAPs and enhanced FMAPs. FFIS projects that FMAPs will increase in 24 states and decline in 13 states.  However, these projections are based on preliminary data, and adjustments in the final estimates can have a large impact on final FMAPs. 

FHWA Implements Unspent Earmark Provision

Issue Brief 16-13
March 16, 2016

Summary 

On March 8, 2016, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published a memorandum implementing provisions of the fiscal year (FY) 2016 omnibus appropriations bill that allow states and territories to repurpose unspent, 10-year-old earmarks on new or existing projects. States and territories are restricted to spending most funds within 50 miles of the projects for which they were originally intended, and must obligate funds by the end of FY 2019.

FHWA also published a list of earmarks that are available to be repurposed (and information on other earmarks that may be eligible), and a set of Frequently Asked Questions. This Issue Brief summarizes the agency guidance and provides a state-level breakdown of available funding.

FHWA Publishes National Highway Freight Program Implementation Guidance

Issue Brief 16-12
March 10, 2016

Summary 

On February 29, 2016, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) published implementation guidance for the National Highway Freight Program (NHFP). The guidance allows states to begin drawing on $1.14 billion in FY 2016 NHFP apportionments. It also provides details on project eligibility, federal share limitations, transferability of funds, performance management, and planning requirements. This Issue Brief provides background on the NHFP and summarizes the guidance.

DOT Soliciting Applications for FASTLANE Grants

Issue Brief 16-11
March 4, 2016

Summary 

On February 26, 2016, the Department of Transportation (DOT) announced that it is soliciting applications for the Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE) grant program, a competitive program authorized by the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act. DOT will award $800 million in fiscal year (FY) 2016 for projects of national or regional significance that address major issues facing the nation’s freight transportation system. This Issue Brief provides details on the program and the application timeline.

HHS Publishes Final Rule for TANF EBT Transactions

Issue Brief 16-10
March 2, 2016

Summary 

On January 15, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Administration for Children and Families (ACF) published the final rule to implement the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) provisions included in the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-96). Specifically, P.L. 112-96 required 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.

Although the final rule took effect on the date it was published, P.L. 112-96 required states to be in compliance by February 22, 2014. All states submitted the initial reports by this deadline. This final rule focuses on ongoing state requirements and annual reporting.

CMS Releases FY 2015 Medicaid DSH Ceilings

Issue Brief 16-09
February 26, 2016

Summary 

On February 2, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a notice in the Federal Register that provides preliminary fiscal year (FY) 2015 disproportionate share hospital (DSH) allotments, and final FY 2013 allotments. The release includes separate limits for DSH payments to institutions for mental disease (IMDs) and other mental health facilities.

Overall, the preliminary FY 2015 DSH allotments are $240 million (2.1%) more than FY 2014. Initially, states were expected to see significant reductions in DSH payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) beginning in FY 2014. However, these cuts have been delayed multiple times, most recently until FY 2018.

ACL Proposes Formula Changes to Developmental Disabilities Programs

Issue Brief 16-08
February 25, 2016

Summary 

On February 18, 2016, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) published a notice in the Federal Register seeking comments on a new formula for two grant programs: State Councils on Developmental Disabilities, and Protection and Advocacy Systems. According to ACL, it is proposing changes because the current formula relies on outdated information and undercounts the population of individuals with disabilities. The new formula would take effect in fiscal year (FY) 2017.

DHS Announces FY 2016 Preparedness Grants

Issue Brief 16-07
February 19, 2016

Summary 

On February 16, 2016, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) released its fiscal year (FY) 2016 preparedness funding opportunity announcement for the following programs:

  • Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP), including:
    • State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP)
    • Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI)
    • Operation Stonegarden
  • Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program (THSGP)
  • Nonprofit Security Grant Program
  • Intercity Passenger Rail Program (Amtrak)
  • Intercity Bus Security Grant Program (IBSGP)
  • Port Security Grant Program (PSGP)
  • Transit Security Grant Program (TSGP)
  • Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG)

FY 2016 funding levels for the programs listed above total $1.6 billion, the same as the total in FY 2015. Fifty-state allocations were provided for two programs: SHSGP and EMPG. Local allocations were released for UASI.

UPDATE: DHS announced FY 2016 allocations for the competitive programs on June 29, 2016.

Senate Committee Approves Child Nutrition Bill

Issue Brief 16-06
February 5, 2016

Summary 

On January 20, the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry approved the Improving Child Nutrition Integrity and Access Act, (ICNIAA). The bipartisan, comprehensive child nutrition bill would provide greater flexibility to states and service providers, delay or modify recent changes to school meal nutrition standards, and increase the accessibility of most programs. The bill would also reauthorize through fiscal year (FY) 2020 those programs that require periodic extensions (most nutrition programs are permanently authorized), and maintain the current rate at which states are reimbursed for providing school meals.

FEMA Eyes Disaster Deductible

Issue Brief 16-05
January 29, 2016

Summary 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) published an advance notice of proposed rulemaking in the January 20, 2016, Federal Register. This proposal would establish a disaster deductible for recipients of assistance under FEMA’s Public Assistance Program. It comes in response to a recommendation by the Government Accountability Office and the Office of the Inspector General at the Department of Homeland Security to substantially increase the threshold for disaster declarations, a move that could make it difficult for some states—especially large ones—to receive a disaster declaration for anything short of a catastrophic event. Comments on the proposed rule must be received by March 21, 2016.

WIOA Set-Aside Restored to 15% in PY 2016

Issue Brief 16-04
January 25, 2016

Summary 

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) allows governors to set aside up to 15% of their state’s funding from the three major WIOA grant programs: the adult, youth, and dislocated worker formula grants. These funds may be used for a wide array of statewide workforce-related activities, from creating jobs to providing targeted assistance to disadvantaged youth.

In recent years, Congress reduced the 15% set-aside through the appropriations process. The fiscal year (FY) 2016 omnibus marks the first time since FY 2010 that the set-aside is at its authorized 15% level.

DHS Announces REAL ID Aviation Enforcement

Issue Brief 16-03
January 22, 2016

Summary 

On January 8, 2016, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced the schedule for the final phase of implementation of the REAL ID Act of 2005 (P.L. 109-13). The act codifies 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 phase addresses aviation, announcing the dates on which 1) the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) will no longer accept noncompliant IDs from noncompliant states without an extension (January 22, 2018), and 2) the TSA will accept only compliant IDs from compliant states (October 1, 2020).

Federal Government Expands Resources to Help States Combat Prescription Drug Abuse

Issue Brief 16-02
January 21, 2016

Summary 

Deaths from prescription drug overdose have skyrocketed in the past decade. The federal government, state and local governments, and other entities are undertaking a variety of initiatives to address this issue. At the federal level, the focus is on areas such as coordinating activities among various agencies; enhancing law enforcement efforts; tracking/monitoring trends and improving data; training health care providers and educating the public; and providing resources to state and local governments to help support prevention and treatment efforts.    

While states may use substance abuse prevention and treatment funding to address prescription drug abuse, only a few dedicated programs existed until recently. Both the fiscal year (FY) 2015 and 2016 budgets enhanced funding and created new programs.

This Issue Brief highlights funding available to states, and recent legislative and administrative actions.

Expiring Mandatory Programs

Issue Brief 16-01
January 13, 2016

Summary 

Congress provides funding for discretionary grant programs through the annual appropriations process. It is not uncommon for these programs to be funded even when their authorizations have expired. However, discretionary programs account for only about 25% of federal grant funding to state and local governments. The remaining 75% is for mandatory programs, which derive their budget authority directly from authorizing legislation. Most of these programs are funded apart from the appropriations process, and must be reauthorized in a timely manner to continue to operate or undertake new activities.