Fiscal Cliff Negotiations: What's At Stake for Your State

Governors and city mayors across the country want to have a say in negotiations over the fiscal cliff, the New York Times reported on Sunday. And no wonder. State budgets rely heavily on funding from the federal government, so across-the-board federal budget cuts – which are currently scheduled for the start of 2013 – would have a big impact on the states.

Consider just a couple ways that federal money flows into your state. Back in February, when President Obama released his 2013 budget proposal, we reported the projected federal funding in all 50 states for things like the National School Lunch Program, Head Start, and the Community Development Block Grant program that funds community revitalization projects across the country.

Neighborhood House

Eric Allix Rogers/ flickr

All of these programs and many others would see their funding reduced if lawmakers in Washington go ahead with scheduled across-the-board cuts. That would leave states in a difficult position. Back in the early months of 2012, we published a series of reports called Primary Stakes which showed how states typically rely on the federal government to fund a staggering one-third or more of their budgets. Deep cuts on the federal level will pull billions of dollars from the states. Meanwhile governors will have little recourse available to them, since many states are still cash-strapped on the heels of the Great Recession.

And that's why governors and mayors are starting to make noise, asking for a seat at the negotiating table as Congress and the White House seek to hammer out a budget deal in the five weeks remaining before the new year.

To see the numbers on federal spending in your state for programs ranging from Medicare to defense contracts, visit the Federal Priorities Database.