Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Top Heavy: Utah's Dependence on Federal Funds

During our December Caucus meeting, I was sitting next to Ken Ivory who was reviewing a report he received from the State regarding last year's bill that required state agencies to make contingency plans for both a 5% and 25% reduction in Federal funding. 

Of course, to do this, you first have to know how much of your budget comes from Federal sources.  Ken was kind enough to forward me a copy of the report.  Here is a list of state agencies and their corresponding dependence on Federal funds:

Pretty surprising results in some cases.  Here are some highlights:

1. 84.4% -  National Guard 
2. 45% -  Department of Community and Culture
3. 87.2% - Department of Workforce Services
4. 73% - Department of Heath

There are plenty more in there.  The bottom line is that in the event of the Federal fund spigot being turned off or reduced, these agencies would be hugely impacted.  What would a more self-reliant state funded bureaucracy look like?  The whole report is 250 pages so I am still digging through it.  More to come.   


  1. Jeremy,

    Interesting stuff. I work for the Utah Division of Emergency Management, which receives most of its funding through the federal government.

    We pass through a lot of the money we receive to counties and cities in Utah to help with their preparedness and disaster management efforts. So it's not just the state government that would be affected by a drop in funds, but locals who depend on the funding to maintain public safety and emergency response capabilities.

    Thanks for pointing this out. It causes real concern.

  2. While dependency on federal funds is a significant issue, the problem is compounded by the fact that the money we "receive" from the federal government... is our money to begin with.

    An additional dilemma is that a simple refusal to accept the funds will likely not encourage that situation to change. The feds will not be hampered by our refusal to accept our own money. They'll likely just shrug and divide the money amongst the rest of the states... which would likely encourage more federal draws on state resources because they now have an even *greater* "return on investment."

    Rather than simply walking away from our own money sitting on the table (with strings attached), what if we take on the bigger challenge of extricating the federal government from so many aspects of state operations? It would seem to me that is where the true problem lies, and where the decisive decisions should be made.


Welcome! Your comments and thoughts are greatly appreciated. Criticism, insights, questions and queries are always welcome. However, please be civil and composed in your presentation. I moderate comments, so be patient while waiting for your comment to appear. Debate is welcome, trolling is not.