Federal Aid to States (Selected Programs)

Feb. 18, 2011

Federal Aid to States – Selected Programs

Each year the federal government provides hundreds of billions of dollars to states through grants and assistance programs. Many of these programs are critical to states and their citizens, particularly as the current difficult economic climate is forcing states to make tough budget choices.

The Obama Administration has had to make its own tough choices. One goal of the FY2012 budget is to reduce the annual federal deficit, projected at $1.6 trillion for FY2011. As a result, a number of popular programs, such as the Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) program, have seen significant cuts. Meanwhile, the Administration has sought to maintain funding levels for federal programs that assist those hardest hit by the recession, like the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program.

The Administration has also sought to boost funding for programs that it considers critical for creating new jobs and promoting economic recovery. For example, federal transportation and other infrastructure programs have received funding increases.

This year analysis of the Administration’s budget request was complicated by the fact that Congress did not complete its work on the FY2011 budget until April 8, 2011, six months after the end of FY2010. The budget passed by Congress, and later signed by President Obama, was in the form of a Continuing Resolution (CR) that funded all government functions at FY2010 levels, except for: (1) the Department of Defense, for which a separate appropriation was passed as part of the overall spending bill; and (2) those programs for which funding was specifically cut. [Note: At a minimum, the spending packaged included a 0.2% "across the board" spending cut for all "non-security" discretionary spending.] 

Funding levels for certain programs in FY2010 may seem unusually high. This is due to the impact of additional stimulus funds made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

NPP has created data tables for a number of programs and grants for states for fiscal years 2010 and 2012. This is not an exhaustive list of federal aid to states. The programs shown were selected by NPP from materials provided by the President's Office of Management and Budget (OMB) as part of the Obama Administration's Fiscal Year 2012 budget request. Specifically, the data comes from the pdf version of OMB's “Analytical Perspectives.”

The materials can be accessed in one of two ways. You can see state level data for each of the programs available, or you can see the funding for every program for each state.

Numbers presented here are in current dollars. All numbers are for federal obligations, which are binding agreements that require payment. An “obligation” is much like a bill for fuel received during the heating season which requires payment.