2019

USDA Proposes Restrictions on SNAP Waivers

Issue Brief 19-09
February 15, 2019
Summary 

When Congress reauthorized the farm bill late last year, it omitted controversial proposals for stricter time limits and work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). However, the Department of Agriculture (USDA) has now submitted a proposed rule that would restrict waivers from time limits and work requirements for able-bodied adults without dependents (ABAWDs), which states can currently request based on high unemployment. The new rule would:

  • create new core standards for waiver approvals

  • restrict statewide waivers and substate grouping

  • limit the carryover of exemptions

Because of the recent partial government shutdown, the rule was not published in the Federal Register until February 1; comments will be accepted through April 2, 2019. This Issue Brief summarizes the proposed rule, and reviews work and eligibility requirements under current law. 

CMS Releases FY 2019 Medicaid DSH Allotments

Issue Brief 19-08
February 13, 2019
Summary 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have published a notice in the Federal Register that provides preliminary fiscal year (FY) 2019 and final FY 2017 disproportionate share hospital (DSH) allotments. (Preliminary FY 2018 allotments were released in July 2018.)

Preliminary FY 2019 allotments total $12.6 billion, $295 million (2.4%) more than FY 2018. Initially, states expected to see significant reductions in DSH payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) beginning in FY 2014. These cuts have been delayed multiple times, most recently until FY 2020. 

Highway Trust Fund Running on Fumes

Issue Brief 19-07
February 7, 2019
Summary 

According to a recent forecast by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Highway Trust Fund (HTF) is once again running short of funds. Outlays from the HTF, which support federal spending on transportation programs, have long exceeded the fund’s revenues, which mostly derive from a federal gas tax that has not been raised since 1993. A transfer from the general fund under the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act extended the solvency of the fund, but CBO estimates that funding is available to support the HTF’s highway account only through fiscal year (FY) 2021, and its transit account only through FY 2020.

This Issue Brief revisits the funding issues surrounding the HTF, and examines CBO’s latest forecast.

TANF, CCDF Extended Through June

Issue Brief 19-06
February 1, 2019
Summary 

The president signed legislation (H.R. 430) to extend funding for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the mandatory/matching portion of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), and related programs through June 30, 2019. This Issue Brief provides details on the extension.

ACF Announces Kinship Navigator Funding

Issue Brief 19-05
January 31, 2019
Summary 

In fiscal year (FY) 2019, Congress provided a $20 million set-aside within Promoting Safe and Stable Families (PSSF) to support kinship navigator programs. These programs link relative caregivers to services and supports that help to meet their needs as well as the needs of children they are raising. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) recently released guidance and estimated state allotments. States must apply by March 15. 

A Justice Two-Fer: First Step Act and Juvenile Justice Reform Signed

Issue Brief 19-04
January 30, 2019
Summary 

The president has signed into law both the First Step Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-391) and the Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-385). Title V of the First Step Act reauthorizes the Second Chance Act through fiscal year (FY) 2023 and authorizes $95 million in competitive grants for state and local offender reentry programs. The Juvenile Justice Reform Act amends existing juvenile justice programs and repeals the Juvenile Delinquency Prevention Block Grant.

This Issue Brief summarizes provisions of both bills that affect state grant programs.

Several Health Programs Reauthorized

Issue Brief 19-03
January 23, 2019
Summary 
The president recently signed the following bills to reauthorize discretionary health programs:

• State Offices of Rural Health Reauthorization Act (P.L. 115-408)
• Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Program Reauthorization Act (P.L. 115-377)
• BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act (P.L. 115-406)
• Preventing Maternal Deaths Act (P.L. 115-344)
• Action for Dental Health Act (P.L. 115-302)
• Sickle Cell Disease and Other Heritable Blood Disorders Research, Surveillance, Prevention, and Treatment Act (P.L. 115-327)

This brief provides details on changes to existing grants and newly authorized programs included in the laws. 
 

Farm Bill Becomes Law

Issue Brief 19-02
January 16, 2019
Summary 

The president has signed the Agriculture Improvement Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-334), a five-year reauthorization of the farm bill. The enacted bill largely omits dramatic changes in earlier proposals. However, it affects grant programs in many ways, including:

  • amending work requirements in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), and expanding employment and training services

  • expanding emergency food programs and the Food Insecurity and Nutrition Initiative

  • increasing federal support for rural broadband

  • prioritizing funding for opioid response

  • creating several new grant programs

This Issue Brief examines the law, focusing on the nutrition, rural development, and research titles, which cover most state grant programs—and in particular on SNAP, which accounts for the majority of outlays for programs funded under this and previous farm bills. 

2018 Population Estimates; Impact on Bond Caps and SSBG

Issue Brief 19-01
January 7, 2019
Summary 

The U.S. Census Bureau released state resident population estimates for July 2018 and revised data for prior years. The new data identify population shifts and affect certain formulas. 

The U.S. population continues to grow at historically low rates. Not only was this year’s increase of 0.62% the lowest in recent years, but last year’s estimate was also revised downward. Nevada and Idaho were the fastest-growing states, with growth greater than 2%. Nine states and Puerto Rico registered population declines.

This Issue Brief summarizes the new population estimates and calculates their effect on calendar year (CY) 2019 tax-exempt private activity bond limitations and fiscal year (FY) 2020 Social Services Block Grant (SSBG) allocations.

2018

HHS Publishes Child Welfare Services Allotment Percentages

Issue Brief 18-42
December 14, 2018
Summary 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released allotment percentages for Child Welfare Services for fiscal years (FYs) 2020-2021. The percentages are calculated using per capita personal income and are one of the factors used to distribute Child Welfare Services state grants.

This Issue Brief provides the new allotment percentages and calculates their impact on Child Welfare Services state allocations.

 

Tracking Opioid Funding

Issue Brief 18-41
December 5, 2018
Summary 

Congress provided almost $4 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2018 to address the opioid crisis. Funding is widespread, but primarily in the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Justice (DOJ). This Issue Brief provides an overview of grant funding to states, including funds awarded to date.

It is accompanied by a spreadsheet that provides awards by state for each program.

Update: CY 2019 Clawback Payments

Issue Brief 18-40
November 14, 2018
Summary 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently 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 states that the per-beneficiary monthly clawback charge will increase by 1.94% in calendar year (CY) 2019—the same increase announced earlier this year because no additional adjustments were required. FFIS estimates that state payments will total $11.9 billion in CY 2019, a $191.5 million (1.6%) increase from CY 2018.  

HHS Releases FY 2019 LIHEAP Funds

Issue Brief 18-39
October 31, 2018
Summary 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released $3.65 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2019 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant funds. Of the total appropriated, $36.9 million has not been allocated to states. It is uncertain whether this amount will be released later or if the secretary of HHS is transferring it to other accounts. 

Opioid Response Package Awaits President’s Signature

Issue Brief 18-38
October 19, 2018
Summary 

Congress passed the SUPPORT for Patients and Communities Act (H.R. 6), sending the agreement to the president for signature. The bill covers a wide range of issues, including:

  • expanding access to services through Medicare and Medicaid
  • improving drug safety
  • reducing the availability of opioids
  • strengthening law enforcement
  • enhancing prevention and treatment efforts

This Issue Brief focuses on grant provisions in the agreement, highlighting new programs, changes to existing ones, and Medicaid reforms. 

Congress Passes America’s Water Infrastructure Act

Issue Brief 18-37
October 17, 2018
Summary 

America’s Water Infrastructure Act (AWIA) of 2018 (S. 3021) has passed the House and Senate, and now heads to the president for approval. The legislation authorizes new Army Corps of Engineers projects, creates grant programs, modifies the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund (DWSRF), amends provisions of the Clean Water Act (CWA), and reauthorizes Water Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (WIFIA) loans. This Issue Brief highlights provisions of interest to states.

A Closer Look at Expired Farm Bill Programs

Issue Brief 18-36
October 12, 2018
Summary 

The fiscal year ended on September 30, 2018, without an extension or reauthorization of the Agriculture Act of 2014, also known as the farm bill—a recurring package of reauthorizations that govern most of the nation’s agriculture and nutrition policy. The largest and most important farm bill programs will continue to operate based on appropriated funding, but some programs may see a lapse in funding due to the farm bill’s expiration.

This Issue Brief discusses the various ways in which farm bill programs may or may not be affected by the bill’s expiration.

Disaster Reform Catches Ride on FAA Reauthorization

Issue Brief 18-35
October 11, 2018
Summary 

The president has signed P.L. 115-254, a reauthorization of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs, through fiscal year (FY) 2023. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 extends the tax and spending authority of the Airport and Airways Trust Fund and reauthorizes the Airport Improvement Program.

In addition to FAA provisions, the bill includes the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA) to reform disaster planning and mitigation. It also includes a supplemental disaster appropriation of $1.68 billion.

This Issue Brief highlights provisions of interest to states in P.L. 115-254.

Final FY 2020 FMAPs

Issue Brief 18-34
September 26, 2018
Summary 

Yesterday, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released revised state personal income data for 2017 and prior years. The federal government uses state per capita income to calculate each state’s federal reimbursement rate—the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP)—for Medicaid and certain 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 facilitates calculation of the final fiscal year (FY) 2020 FMAPs and enhanced FMAPs, which are based on per capita incomes for calendar years (CY) 2015-2017.

This Issue Brief summarizes the BEA data and provides FFIS’s estimates of the final FY 2020 FMAPs and enhanced FMAPs. FFIS estimates that FMAPs will increase in 19 states and decline in 17, ranging from a +3.64 percentage-point increase in Oklahoma to a -1.52 percentage-point decline in Utah. Comprehensive revisions to the BEA personal income data affected results in some states. 

LWCF Grants Benefit from GOMESA Provision

Issue Brief 18-33
September 14, 2018
Summary 

A portion of Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants for FY 2018—nearly $62 million originating from the Gulf of Mexico Energy Security Act of 2006 (GOMESA) have been allocated to states. These matching grants assist states in planning, acquiring, and developing outdoor recreation facilities. An additional $100 million has been appropriated from the LWCF for FY 2018 but not yet allocated.

The LWCF is set to expire after September 30, 2018, unless Congress acts to reauthorize it. This Issue Brief provides details on the FY 2018 GOMESA payments and updates FY 2017 LWCF allocations.

UPDATE: Final LWCF allocations for FY 2018 were released on September 18, and are shown in the table accompanying this brief below.

 

Farm Bill Conference Negotiations Under Way

Issue Brief 18-32
September 12, 2018
Summary 

Among the major congressional priorities this year, passing a new farm bill—a recurring package of agriculture and nutrition reauthorizations—is one of the most important items that might still be accomplished before the end of the legislative session. The House and Senate have each passed separate proposals, and have begun negotiations to reconcile their proposals in conference. However, there are significant differences between the two bills.

This Issue Brief compares the House and Senate proposals, focusing on provisions of interest to states.

House Committee Approves Big Changes to TANF

Issue Brief 18-31
August 24, 2018
Summary 

Earlier this summer, the House Ways and Means Committee approved the Jobs and Opportunity with Benefits and Services (JOBS) for Success Act (H.R. 5861). The bill provides funding for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the mandatory/matching portion of the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), and other programs through fiscal year (FY) 2023. It also makes significant changes to TANF, including limiting the use of funds, creating new performance standards, and strengthening work requirements.  

TANF and related programs are set to expire on September 30, 2018. For funding to continue, Congress must act to reauthorize or extend the programs by that date.

Perkins V Becomes Law, without “Perkins”

Issue Brief 18-30
August 15, 2018
Summary 

The federal law that governs continuing and technical education (CTE) programs, commonly known as “Perkins,” has been reauthorized as the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (P.L. 115-224). The new law—widely referred to as Perkins V—takes effect on July 1, 2019 (the beginning of a one-year transition period) and extends through June 30, 2025.

It eliminates Title II of the existing program (“Tech Prep”), which has not been funded in recent years, and includes other changes. This brief highlights the new law’s fiscal components.

Interior Announces FY 2018 PILT Payments

Issue Brief 18-29
July 20, 2018
Summary 

The Department of the Interior (DOI) announced $552.8 million in payments to counties under the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program for fiscal year (FY) 2018. 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.

The FY 2018 PILT payments are the largest amount ever allocated, and represent a 19% increase compared to FY 2017. This Issue Brief provides background on PILT and details on the FY 2018 payments.

CMS Publishes FY 2018 Medicaid DSH Allotments

Issue Brief 18-28
July 17, 2018
Summary 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a notice in the Federal Register that provides preliminary fiscal year (FY) 2018 disproportionate share hospital (DSH) allotments, and final FY 2016 allotments. (Preliminary FY 2017 allotments were released in November 2017.)

The preliminary FY 2018 DSH allotments are $288 million (2.4%) more than FY 2017. Initially, states had expected to see significant reductions in DSH payments under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) beginning in FY 2014. These cuts have been delayed multiple times, most recently until FY 2020. 

Acronympalooza! White House Proposes Government Restructuring

Issue Brief 18-27
July 13, 2018
Summary 

The White House has released Delivering Government Solutions in the 21st Century, a proposal to reorganize the federal government. Some of its components are narrow in scope and seek to streamline processes, while others call for privatizing, restructuring, eliminating, or merging entire agencies.

This Issue Brief summarizes components of the proposal that would have the biggest impact on states. Table 1 contains a full list of the proposals.

A Summary of Opioid Activities

Issue Brief 18-26
June 27, 2018
Summary 

Addressing the opioid crisis is a major item on the congressional agenda. The full House and four Senate committees have approved multiple bipartisan opioid-related bills, with additional action expected in the coming months. The bills cover a wide range of issues, including expanding access to services through Medicare and Medicaid, improving drug safety, strengthening law enforcement, and enhancing prevention and treatment efforts.

This Issue Brief focuses on the grant provisions in the bills, highlighting new programs, changes to existing ones, and Medicaid reforms. Within these areas, there are some similarities between the House and Senate, but many differences remain.  

DOT Awards $1.5 Billion in INFRA (formerly FASTLANE) Grants

Issue Brief 18-25
June 22, 2018
Summary 

When Congress enacted the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation (FAST) Act in 2015, it created a new, competitive grant program for major freight projects funded at $4.5 billion over five years, called the Nationally Significant Freight and Highway Projects (NSFHP) program.

The Department of Transportation (DOT) later rebranded the program as the Fostering Advancements in Shipping and Transportation for the Long-term Achievement of National Efficiencies (FASTLANE), for the fiscal year (FY) 2016 round of awards. Then, in July 2017, it rebranded the program again, as the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) program, significantly altering the program’s goals and selection criteria.

DOT recently announced more than $1.5 billion in INFRA grant awards for projects in 23 states, awarding all FY 2018 funding, as well as $710 million from FY 2017. This Issue Brief provides details on INFRA and the recent awards.

SAMHSA Issues Funding Announcement, Allocations for State Opioid Response Grants

Issue Brief 18-24
June 19, 2018
Summary 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) released the funding opportunity announcement and allocations for $1 billion in State Opioid Response Grants provided in the fiscal year (FY) 2018 budget. This is in addition to $485 million released in April for Opioid State Targeted Response Grants (Opioid STR).

The funds are awarded by formula, although an application must be submitted by August 13, 2018.

Farmworker Jobs Program Changes, WIOA Update

Issue Brief 18-23
June 8, 2018
Summary 

The National Farmworker Jobs Program (NFJP) provides grants to state agencies and community organizations to counter chronic unemployment among migrant and seasonal farmworkers. The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) allocates funds using a regulatory formula based on state shares of eligible participants. On May 23, ETA published a notice in the Federal Register proposing significant changes to the NFJP formula, and announcing estimated allocations for program year (PY) 2018. This Issue Brief provides details on the formula change.

ETA also recently published PY 2018 allocations for other major workforce programs, and revised its NFJP allocations for PY 2017. These funding announcements are reported in this brief as well.

HUD Announces FY 2018 Housing Trust Fund Allocations

Issue Brief 18-22
May 31, 2018
Summary 

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has allocated $267 million from the Housing Trust Fund (HTF) to states, the District of Columbia, and territories for fiscal year (FY) 2018, a 22% increase from FY 2017.

HTF funds are awarded 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 list of FY 2018 allocations.

DHS Announces FY 2018 Preparedness Grants

Issue Brief 18-21
May 25, 2018
Summary 

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has released fiscal year (FY) 2018 funding notices for the following preparedness grant programs:

  • Homeland Security Grant Program (HSGP), including:
    • State Homeland Security Grant Program (SHSGP, $402 million)
    • Urban Areas Security Initiative (UASI, $580 million)
    • Operation Stonegarden ($85 million)
  • Tribal Homeland Security Grant Program ($10 million)
  • Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP, $60 million))
  • Intercity Passenger Rail Program (Amtrak, $10 million)
  • Intercity Bus Security Grant Program ($2 million)
  • Port Security Grant Program ($100 million)
  • Transit Security Grant Program ($88 million)
  • Emergency Management Performance Grants (EMPG, $350 million)

Funding for these programs totals more than $1.6 billion. State allocations were released for SHSGP and EMPG, and local allocations for UASI. In addition, target allocations were announced for a new $10 million state set-aside within the NSGP.

Forest Service Announces SRS Payments

Issue Brief 18-20
May 24, 2018
Summary 

The omnibus spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2018 included several titles unrelated to FY 2018 appropriations. Among them was a two-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools (SRS) Act, which provides increased revenue-sharing payments to states from timber sales on federal lands. The reauthorization is retroactive to FY 2017 and expires after FY 2018.

On May 8, the Forest Service announced the payments to states for FY 2017 (paid in FY 2018).

This Issue Brief provides background on SRS reauthorization issues, and compares payments for FY 2017 with those for recent years.

FY 2018 Crime Victims Fund Allocations

Issue Brief 18-19
May 23, 2018
Summary 

The Department of Justice (DOJ) has released fiscal year (FY) 2018 allocations under the Crime Victims Fund (CVF), which primarily finances two programs: Crime Victims Assistance (CFDA 16.575; $3.2 billion in FY 2018 funding) and Crime Victims Compensation (CFDA 16.576; $129 million in FY 2018 funding).

This Issue Brief describes the programs and their recent funding, and provides state allocations for FY 2018.

FHWA Apportions Supplemental Highway Funding

Issue Brief 18-18
May 18, 2018
Summary 

The omnibus spending bill for fiscal year (FY) 2018 appropriated $2.525 billion in supplemental funding for federal-aid highways, as part of a bipartisan agreement to provide at least $20 billion in additional infrastructure spending over two years. On April 25, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) apportioned $1.98 billion of these funds to states.

This Issue Brief provides details on the supplemental highway appropriation, and compares state apportionments of this funding to apportionments of highway contract authority for the year.

States See Big Increase in FY 2018 Child Care Funding

Issue Brief 18-17
May 14, 2018
Summary 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the fiscal year (FY) 2018 allocations under the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), which include three funding streams—discretionary, mandatory, and matching. The discretionary portion, the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG), received an 83% increase in funding in FY 2018.

House Passes FAA Reauthorization, Disaster Reform

Issue Brief 18-16
May 11, 2018
Summary 

The House has passed a comprehensive reauthorization of Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) programs, through fiscal year (FY) 2023. The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 4) extends tax and spending authority of the Airport and Airways Trust Fund, reauthorizes the Airport Improvement Program (AIP), and reforms aviation policy.

The bill also includes the Disaster Recovery Reform Act (DRRA), which would reform federal disaster programs to improve pre-disaster planning and mitigation.

This Issue Brief highlights provisions of interest to states in H.R. 4.

FY 2018 LIHEAP Awards Released; Some States See Significant Increases

Issue Brief 18-15
May 3, 2018
Summary 

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released the final $609 million of fiscal year (FY) 2018 Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) block grant funds. States received an initial release of $3 billion last October. While LIHEAP funding increased 7.4% in FY 2018, state allocations varied from -2.7% in Hawaii to +28.7% in five states—Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Nevada, and Texas.

SAMHSA Releases Second-Year Opioid STR Grants

Issue Brief 18-14
April 23, 2018
Summary 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) announced the release of $485 million in second-year Opioid State Targeted Response Grants (Opioid STR). A forthcoming funding opportunity announcement will be issued shortly for an additional $1 billion provided in the fiscal year (FY) 2018 omnibus appropriations.

Funding for Opioid STR is authorized for two years (through FY 2018). However, legislation is being considered to reauthorize the program through FY 2021.

Modest Growth in Clawback Payments Continues

Issue Brief 18-13
April 5, 2018
Summary 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the parameters that will guide calendar year (CY) 2019 individual and state costs for the Medicare Part D drug benefit. CMS projects a 3.96% increase in per capita Part D expenditures. After accounting for prior-year downward revisions, the annual percentage increase is 1.94%. Based on the release, FFIS estimates that CY 2019 clawbacks will cost states $11.7 billion, a 1.7% ($194 million) increase from CY 2018.  

The Rebirth of Election Reform Grants

Issue Brief 18-12
April 4, 2018
Summary 

A grant program that was created in response to the contentious presidential election of 2000—and concerns that state election systems were badly in need of updating—has been resurrected in the wake of new concerns about potential foreign intervention in U.S. elections. Specifically, the recently signed omnibus appropriations act for fiscal year (FY) 2018 (P.L. 115-141) provided $380 million for Election Security Funds, as authorized by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA; P.L. 107-252). This brief summarizes the election assistance program and lists state awards.

FY 2020 FMAP Projections

Issue Brief 18-11
March 23, 2018
Summary 

On March 22, the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) released preliminary state personal income and per capita data for 2017. The federal government uses state per capita income to calculate each state’s federal reimbursement rate—the Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP)—for Medicaid and certain 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 facilitates projections of fiscal year (FY) 2020 FMAPs and enhanced FMAPs, which are based on per capita incomes for calendar years (CY) 2015-2017. FFIS estimates that FMAPs will increase in 16 states and decline in 20 states. However, these projections are based on preliminary data, and subsequent adjustments can have a large impact on final FMAPs. 

DOT Awards TIGER Grants

Issue Brief 18-10
March 19, 2018
Summary 

On March 9, the Department of Transportation (DOT) awarded nearly $500 million in competitive grants to state departments of transportation, local governments, and other organizations under the Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery (TIGER) program for fiscal year (FY) 2017. DOT has awarded more than $5 billion in TIGER grants since the program’s creation in 2009, but the program has been targeted for elimination, both in the president’s budget request and in an omnibus spending package passed by the House last year.

This Issue Brief provides background on TIGER grants and details on the latest awards.

Congress Considers Reviving Secure Our Schools Grant

Issue Brief 18-09
March 15, 2018
Summary 

Yesterday, the House passed the Students, Teachers, and Officers Preventing (STOP) School Violence Act (H.R. 4909). The bill amends and reauthorizes the Secure Our Schools (SOS) grant program, which has not received funding since fiscal year (FY) 2011. A companion bill was introduced in the Senate last week.

This Issue Brief describes proposed House and Senate amendments to the SOS program.

States Face Deadline to Designate Qualified Opportunity Zones

Issue Brief 18-08
March 8, 2018
Summary 

As part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (P.L. 115-97), enacted on December 22, 2017, Congress created a new program to incentivize long-term private investment in low-income communities (LICs). Under the Opportunity Zones program, investors receive tax incentives for qualifying investments in low-income census tracts nominated for inclusion in the program by governors.

This Issue Brief describes the Opportunity Zones program and how states can nominate Qualified Opportunity Zones (QOZs) before the March 21 deadline.

Abandoned Mine Funding Spikes in FY 2018

Issue Brief 18-07
March 7, 2018
Summary 

On February 24, the Department of the Interior awarded $300.7 million in mandatory fiscal year (FY) 2018 Abandoned Mine Land (AML) reclamation grants to 25 states and three tribes, an increase of nearly $120 million compared to last year. AML funding helps states eliminate dangerous conditions and pollution caused by abandoned coal mines.

This Issue Brief provides background on AML grants and a breakdown of recent funding distributions.

Administration Proposes Infrastructure Package

Issue Brief 18-06
March 5, 2018
Summary 

On February 12, 2018, the White House released its long-awaited infrastructure proposal, entitled a Legislative Outline for Rebuilding Infrastructure in America. The document is a policy proposal only, and contains no legislative text or executive actions. However, infrastructure reform is expected to be a priority for Congress in the coming year, and the administration’s proposal may serve as a framework. The proposal also recommends changes to major workforce and training programs.

This Issue Brief summarizes the proposal, focusing on new grant programs, new sources of federal funding, and other provisions of interest to states.

Overview of Superfund, Brownfields Programs

Issue Brief 18-36
March 2, 2018
Summary 

On January 18, 2018, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published a final rule establishing four new Superfund sites on the National Priorities List (NPL), as well as a proposed rule identifying 10 additional sites. The EPA also updated its Superfund Redevelopment List, which highlights 31 Superfund sites from the NPL with the highest commercial and redevelopment potential. The EPA has suggested there will be refocused effort on cleaning up Superfund sites throughout the country.

This Issue Brief describes the Superfund program and the separate-but-related Brownfields state grant programs.

ACF Releases Adoption Savings Data; Congress Delays Eligibility Expansion

Issue Brief 18-04
February 26, 2018
Summary 

In fiscal year (FY) 2010, the federal government began phasing out the income-eligibility requirements for IV-E Adoption Assistance. As a result, more children have become eligible for the federal program—which is paid for by federal and state funds—rather than state-funded programs. States are required to spend any savings from this federal expansion on child welfare services. The Administration for Children and Families (ACF) released details on the FY 2016 adoption savings, which totaled $110 million.

The eligibility expansion was fully implemented at the beginning of FY 2018. However, the Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA) of 2018 (P.L. 115-123) delayed the full expansion until July 1, 2024, as an offset to child welfare financing reforms in the agreement. 

President's Infrastructure Outline Leaked

Issue Brief 18-03
January 25, 2018
Summary 

On January 22, Politico published a leaked document outlining the administration’s plan to spur investment in the nation’s infrastructure. While the document is unofficial, it provides a relatively detailed preview of a major infrastructure plan the administration is expected to announce on or about January 30.

This Issue Brief summarizes its provisions.

Agencies Award Funds to Address Opioid Epidemic

Issue Brief 18-02
January 18, 2018
Summary 

Funding to address the opioid epidemic totaled more than $1.1 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2017. The grants are administered by the departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Justice (DOJ). This Issue Brief provides an overview of the programs and funds awarded to date. 

This report is accompanied by a spreadsheet (available on our website to FFIS database subscribers) that provides HHS and DOJ awards by state for FY 2016 and FY 2017.

Interior Announces FY 2017 Minerals Payments

Issue Brief 18-01
January 4, 2018
Summary 

Under provisions of the Mineral Leasing Act (MLA), states receive a share of revenues from the production of mineral resources on federal lands. On November 30, the Department of Interior (DOI) announced $1.44 billion in fiscal year (FY) 2017 payments to states, an 8.4% increase from the prior year.