Federal Spending Bill Includes Increased Funding for Many Governors' Priorities

By Brian Sigritz posted 10 days ago

  

Federal Spending Bill Includes Increased Funding for Many Governors’ Priorities

On March 23, President Trump signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-141). The $1.3 trillion bill increases spending by $80 billion for defense and $63 billion for non-defense discretionary programs. Many programs that received increased funding under the new federal spending bill, or omnibus, are similar to ones that governors have focused on this year in their State of the State speeches and fiscal 2019 budget proposals. Governors have called for more state spending and proposed new initiatives in areas such as the opioid crisis, school safety, infrastructure, rural broadband, clean water, education, child care, mental health, the Census, and election security. These areas that governors have emphasized in their own states were also addressed in the omnibus spending bill:

  • Opioids – includes approximately $4 billion to help tackle the opioid crisis
  • School safety – $2.3 billion in funding, including an increase of $700 million for the Student Support and Academic Enrichment Grants to improve school safety
  • Infrastructure – additional funding includes $2.5 billion for highways, $834 million for transit, and a $1 billion increase for TIGER grants
  • Rural broadband – $600 million to help expand rural broadband service
  • Clean water – includes a 21 percent increase for the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Fund and a 35 percent increase in the Drinking Water State Revolving Loan Fund
  • Education – boosts Education Department funding by roughly $3.9 billion
  • Child care – child care development grants will nearly double to $5.2 billion
  • Mental health – includes a 28 percent increase in the Mental Health Block Grant
  • Census – provides a $1.3 billion increase for the U.S. Census Bureau to help prepare for the 2020 census
  • Election security – provides $380 million to help states upgrade voting technology

In addition to the Consolidated Appropriations Act providing increased federal funding in fiscal 2018 to a number of areas that match governors’ priorities in their own states, the earlier Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123) signed into law on February 9th helped provide states with some level of clarity of the amount of federal funding to expect for next year as they begin to enact fiscal 2019 budgets.