As many people are aware, President Obama recently released his FY 2013 federal budget. Given the current congressional deadlock and election year politics, it is likely that no budget will pass until after the election. In terms of competitive grants, the President offered a series of reductions, consolidations and compromises that, while reasonable, will create difficulties for local communities
Given the state of deadlock, we were originally not going to publish anything on this topic. However, the document provides a reasonable starting point for discussion (such reason is likely why there will be no discussion in the current political climate). Here are the 10 things about the proposed federal budget you may not know. It:
1) Consolidates existing FEMA Programs into a competitive National Preparedness Grant Program. This $2.9 billion program will give funding to state and local governments to train, exercise and hire first responders
2) Merges 38 Department of Education Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) authorities into 11 competitive grant programs with broader foci and discretion for school district.
3) Provides $534 million for School Turnaround Grants for Low Performing Schools
4) Decreases discretionary funding at the Department of Justice by just 0.4%
5) Provides $257 million for the Hiring of Police Officers and $52 million for problem-solving grant supporting drug courts
6) Provides $125 million for the DOL Workforce Innovation Fund and consolidates several programs, such as Women and Non-Traditional Occupations or WANTO grant under this umbrella
7) Eliminates Environmental Education Grants
8) Reinstates Brownfields Grants
9) Cuts $350 million from Community Service Block Grants while proposing a competitive framework to target the agencies most successful in meeting community needs.
10) Mandates the use of technology to cut the billions spend on meetings, travel and mailings. (OK this is not grant related but, as a former manager, it is such an obvious place to save that I am glad it is here)
The federal budget attempts to rationalize competitive grants by focusing funds in areas of agency expertise. For example, the Department of Agriculture will lose some of their rural housing dollars to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Similarly, some HHS programs dealing with job training will disappear and the Department of Labor will assume some of those functions.
The federal budget proposal provides a reasonable basis for discussion. This analysis is but a small sample of the type of work we can provide our clients to give them a competitive edge in the funding marketplace. If you would like more information on how we can help your organization, municipality, or school district, contact us at 617-202-3926.