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States have billions of dollars from the American Rescue Plan. Now they have to spend it
Indiana plans to use some of its $3 billion for police body cameras.
Maryland used a fifth of its $3.9 billion to send checks to low-income workers, establish tax benefits for families and businesses and support other relief programs.
Louisiana could spend its $3.2 billion to repair the aging water systems that left nearly a quarter of its residents without clean water from the tap during a rare Deep South freeze in February.
And in Oregon, $2.6 billion might help address isolation-induced mental health troubles in youth, or tackle homelessness in the capital city of Salem.
The American Rescue Plan, approved in March by Congress and President Joe Biden, is pouring an unprecedented $195 billion directly into states' coffers, a windfall to help them recover after COVID-19 shuttered businesses and stalled most of their state economies for months.
But now they have an enviable problem: Deciding how to spend billions of dollars in newfound revenue, which in some states goes above and beyond any shortfalls they had faced.
It is leading to a brewing fight in state capitals across the nation, a review by USA TODAY Network statehouse reporters found.
The politically charged debate that led Republicans in Congress to blast Biden&rsquos plan as a &ldquoblue state bailout&rdquo is now happening in state halls of power, where governors and lawmakers of both parties are drafting or approving budgets banking on huge inflows of cash.
&ldquoWe&rsquore in much stronger financial shape now than we have ever been as a state,&rdquo said Maryland&rsquos Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who has pushed back on rhetoric that the plan would disproportionately benefit Democratic-led states.
The money going directly to state governments is part of $350 billion the stimulus package is sending to states and municipalities &mdash which is also making cities, counties and towns flush with cash.
States with healthy budgets want to use the money to make transformative investments in long-avoided problems, like projects that repair roadways, strengthen bridges, fix water and sewer systems or expand high-speed internet access.
Many states will use their share to fill budget holes caused by COVID's economic shutdown, and others are spending on initiatives to bring equity amid a pandemic that disproportionately harmed people of color.
Yet many states are putting off spending commitments while they wait for more federal guidance and the outcome of a lawsuit filed by Republican attorneys general.
In some states, the money has led to bipartisan agreement, but that&rsquos not universal &mdash especially where budgets remain stretched.
Florida lawmakers considered cutting Medicaid payments to hospitals and higher education funding and redirecting millions from affordable housing. They ultimately passed the largest budget in state history, which was fattened by $6.7 billion in stimulus money that will support public works projects and environmental programs and bolster savings accounts.
The Republican majority's approach has frustrated many Democrats, who unsuccessfully pushed for more of the dollars to be spent quickly, and more on people than on projects.
&ldquoPresident Biden's American Rescue money saved Florida&rsquos safety net hospitals from draconian cuts proposed by Republican lawmakers during a pandemic," said state Rep. Carlos Guillermo Smith, an Orlando Democrat. "But I would have liked to see even more direct relief for small businesses and for the millions of Floridians pushed into poverty due to COVID.&rdquo
Florida Gov. DeSantis signs $101.5 billion state budget, helped by federal cash
TALLAHASSEE &ndash After vetoing $1.5 billion, Gov. Ron DeSantis signed into law Wednesday a $101.5 billion state budget that spends heavily on public works projects, the environment and $1,000 bonuses for many Floridians on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The spending plan for the year starting July 1 is by far the largest in state history &ndash 10% bigger than the current budget. And it&rsquos propped up with billions of dollars in federal aid, much of it opposed by Republicans in Congress but a windfall for Florida&rsquos Republican governor.
&ldquoThe budget really reflects a state government that is meeting the core concerns of Floridians,&rdquo DeSantis said before signing the measure during a stop at a New Smryna Beach restaurant.
Even though the flush of federal cash staved off what had been projected to be a dire budget year, DeSantis credited much of the state&rsquos financial solvency to his own decision-making and his opposition to broader lockdowns of the economy.
The biggest veto was eliminating $1 billion in federal money that lawmakers steered toward creating a new emergency preparedness and response fund that DeSantis acknowledged failed to comply with guidelines from Washington.
In the spending plan, $1,000 bonuses are paid to teachers, principals, first responders and correctional officers &mdash cash portrayed by GOP leaders as a thank you for the work so many Floridians did during the pandemic.
State workers also will be brought up to a minimum wage of $13-an-hour &ndash a $43 million provision promoted by Senate President Wilton Simpson, R-Trilby, in advance of statewide minimum wage increases approved by voters last fall.
The budget is fortified by almost $7 billion in federal aid already received for schools and to cover the state&rsquos Medicaid enrollment &ndash which provides health care to 4.6 million Floridians, more than one in five residents. Those numbers have spiked with the pandemic&rsquos job layoffs.
Lawmakers, though, also earmarked another $6.7 billion from the Biden administration&rsquos American Rescue Plan for public works projects, environmental programs and for reserves, which the budget also swells to what DeSantis said Wednesday could be about $10 billion by July 1.
Every Republican in the U.S. House and Senate voted against the American Rescue Plan, but Florida&rsquos GOP-led Legislature found ample ways to spend the state&rsquos share.
"I know it pains Gov. DeSantis to admit it, but President Biden saved the day by providing billions of dollars from the American Rescue Plan to keep Florida&rsquos economy afloat and allow us to do things like provide teacher bonuses," said Rep. Fentrice Driskell, D-Tampa. "It&rsquos unfortunate that the truth of the matter gets lost in the Florida Republicans&rsquo partisan narrative
DeSantis, who is seen as a potential White House aspirant in 2024, took some time Wednesday to criticize the Washington spending which helped Florida avoid budget woes.
&ldquoIn the last 15 months, this federal government has added more to the debt than we&rsquove ever seen since World War II, in such a short period of time,&rdquo DeSantis said. &ldquoAnd my view of that is just, look, there&rsquos got to be something that&rsquos got to be done. The bill&rsquos got to come due somehow. Whether that&rsquos higher interest rates, higher inflation, I&rsquom not sure. But it is a concern.&rdquo
Still, for now the budget is robust &ndash a marked contrast from last year, when DeSantis vetoed $1 billion mostly to shore up what became a lean COVID-19 year of job losses, business closures and a tourist industry frozen in place.
DeSantis, who refused to issue a statewide mask mandate, shuttered the state economy for only a little over a month in spring 2020. While Florida urban counties enacted stricter requirements, DeSantis&rsquo defiance of calls for broader closures have become a badge of honor for him as the state economy recovers.
In his budget-signing letter to Secretary of State Laurel Lee, DeSantis noted, &ldquowhile other states kept locking people down, Florida lifted people up the result is a strong economy with revenues of the state continuing to exceed expectations.&rdquo
Along with vetoing the $1 billion emergency fund &ndash which was aimed at giving the state more ready cash for hurricane clean-up &ndash most of the remaining $500 million in vetoes cancelled trust fund sweeps and a decision by lawmakers to put federal money into a restricted reserve fund.
Still, dozens of other hometown road, water and sewer projects, and community programs also lost varying levels of state cash through vetoes.
Among them: Sarasota County&rsquos Dona Bay watershed restoration project had $500,000 vetoed Volusia County lost $400,000 for a water resiliency effort Palm Beach County had $3 million vetoed from a historic infrastructure plan and emergency operations centers in Brooksville, Fort Walton Beach, Mount Dora and Venice all lost state funds through the governor&rsquos vetoes.
Tallahassee Community College had $50,000 vetoed from an apprenticeship program Pasco-Hernando Community College lost $1 million for a performing arts center and the State College of Florida was denied $250,000 for its nursing center of excellence.
All told, the level of vetoes was modest compared to past years. Republican leaders in the Legislature didn&rsquot squawk.
&ldquoWe are certainly in a better place today than when we started our budget planning last summer,&rdquo said Simpson, the Senate president.
While the state&rsquos 2.6 million school children will draw a modest $53 per-student increase &ndash just over a one percent boost &ndash bonus payments to teachers and principals also are complimented by $550 million for teacher pay raises intended to bring minimum salaries to $47,500.
It&rsquos the second year of the teacher pay program.
&ldquoGiven the circumstances, the final budget is a win for our students and public schools,&rdquo said Andrew Spar, president of the Florida Education Association, the state&rsquos largest teachers union.
But he said the school spending still doesn&rsquot do enough for veteran teachers and support staff, while directing too many state dollars toward private schools &ndash long a favorite approach of Florida&rsquos Republican leaders.
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But Republicans were unswayed by the extra funding, arguing that the private insurance marketplace was better equipped to cover people who earn more than the poverty level.
"We're literally to the point now where the federal government is trying to buy Wisconsin into greater government dependence," said Rep. Shannon Zimmerman, R-River Falls. "That's absurd."
Sen. LaTonya Johnson, D-Milwaukee, said blocking the expansion was "shameful," telling Republicans they were acting from a place of privilege.
"This is not about expanding a welfare program," Johnson said. "This is about making sure that human beings have medical coverage."
In addition to Evers' plan to expand Medicaid, Republicans removed a long list of items from the budget. They include the governor's proposals to:
- Legalize marijuana and use an estimated $165 million in tax revenue to fund expenses like rural schools.
- Modernize Wisconsin's unemployment insurance system at a cost of $80 million.
- Restore union rights lost under Walker's landmark Act 10 collective bargaining law.
- Require universal background checks for firearm purchases.
- Raise Wisconsin's minimum wage to $10.15 per hour.
- Create a system of automatic voter registration.
- Eliminate the one-week waiting period for unemployment benefits.
- Increase weekly benefits for unemployment insurance.
About half of the proposals Republicans eliminated, were identified by the nonpartisan Legislative Fiscal Bureau as being "policy," meaning they don't necessarily need to be attached to the budget and are more akin to a standalone bill.
But the other half of the items deleted include proposals that affect the state's bottom line, some in a big way. For example, Evers proposed scaling back a tax credit for the wealthiest manufacturers and another for capital gains — moves that would generate a combined $838 million for state government.
Republicans said they will now use the budget Evers signed two years ago as their starting point. The one he introduced in February, they argued, was never realistic to begin with.
"It's 1,846 pages of fantasy," said Rep. Tony Kurtz, R-Wonewoc, of Evers' plan.
Democrats countered that the governor's budget was a product of what the public wants. Two years ago when Evers proposed an identical expansion of Medicaid, an April 2019 survey from Marquette University Law School found 70 percent of voters supported it. That same survey found 59 percent of voters said marijuana should be legal while 83 percent favored medical marijuana.
"There's a lot in here — in the governor's budget — that Wisconsinites overwhelmingly support," said Sen. Jon Erpenbach, D-West Point. "It's what Wisconsin wants."
Federal farm subsidies: What the data says
Here’s a breakdown of how the federal government has played a role in aiding the nation’s farms through subsidies such as direct payments, crop insurance, and loans.
Published on Tue, June 4, 2019 5:00PM PDT | Updated Tue, September 29, 2020 10:58AM PDT
Since the Great Depression, the federal government has played a role in aiding the nation’s farms through subsidies, including direct payments, crop insurance, and loans.
Government payments (excluding crop insurance payments) to farms have fluctuated since 1933, from a low of $1.5 billion in 1949 to $32.1 billion in 2000. In 1949, government payments made up 1.4% of total net farm income — a measure of profit — while in 2000 government payments made up 45.8% of such profits.
In 2019, farms received $22.6 billion in government payments, representing 20.4% of $111.1 billion in profits.
At the center of many of these programs are two arms of the US Department of Agriculture: The Commodity Credit Corporation (CCC) and the Federal Crop Insurance Corporation (FCIC). The CCC aids farms and takes measures to control the prices of commodities. The FCIC works with private insurers to run the nation’s crop insurance system. Both came out of the Great Depression.
Both are also considered mandatory spending in terms of federal budget purposes, meaning their budgets are handled largely outside of the congressional appropriations process. The CCC can borrow up to $30 billion from the US Treasury for its programs that include its long-term programs created through legislation such as farm bills as well as the “Market Facilitation Program” in response to US-China tariffs implemented in early 2020. Appropriations are used to recoup losses the CCC incurs, allowing it to maintain its borrowing ability from the Treasury.
Between 1996 and 2014, the CCC had a direct payment program for farms regardless of how much of a crop is produced. The 2014 farm bill changed how the CCC provided its subsidies, repealing a direct payment system that was based on historical yields but didn’t consider if the producer actually had losses in a given year. The 2014 bill required farmers of a set of crops to choose between two types of subsidy payments: Agriculture Risk Coverage (ARC), where payments are based on a commodity’s yield and potential revenue losses, or Price Loss Coverage (PLC), where payments are made to protect against price decreases. The two programs accounted for 60.8% of CCC’s government payments in 2017. (Conservation programs accounted for about a third.)
The CCC also provides loans known as marketing assistance loans (MAL) that allow producers to use their commodities as collateral. In some cases, producers may repay their loan at less than the loan principal, known as marketing loan gains (MLG), while others who qualify for a loan and choose not to take one may receive direct payments, or loan deficiency payments (LDP). These two programs are limited to producers making less than $900,000. In 2017, the CCC gave out a net total of $11.9 million of these types of payments, though it gave out $10.4 billion in 2000.
The FCIC works with private insurers to provide federal crop insurance. In 2019, 380 million acres of cropland were covered by federal crop insurance. The federal government also pays a portion of the premiums for the policies, covering 63% of the $10.1 billion in premiums in 2019.
- For the United States the table shows spending for all levels of government&mdashfederal spending, state spending, and local spending.
- For individual states the table shows expenditures for state and local governments only.
Intergovernmental Transfers: The column labeled &ldquoGov. Xfer&rdquo in the table represents monies paid by the federal government as grants and aid to state and local governments. These are &ldquointergovernmental transfers.&rdquo
Federal Spending by Agency Code: If you drill down below the federal subfunction level you can see federal spending split up into about 4,000 agency code accounts.
You can use controls on the table to change from display of nationwide spending data to individual states. You can change the year or to drill down to view more detailed spending information. You can also view the spending data as percent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
Click the button at the right of each line of the table to display a bar chart of government spending. Click a button at the base of each column for a bar chart or pie chart. You can right click on the chart image to copy and paste it into your own content. Click the image to close the chart display.
CBO's regular budget publications include semiannual reports on the budget and economic outlook, annual reports on the President's budget and the long-term budget picture, and a biannual set of options for reducing budget deficits. CBO also prepares cost estimates and mandate statements for nearly all bills that are reported by Congressional committees. Numerous analytic studies provide more in-depth analysis of specific budgetary issues.
BUDGET PROJECTIONS FOR FY 2021
DEBT HELD BY THE PUBLIC (End of Fiscal Year)
View CBO’s budget infographics to see how much the federal government spent and took in during fiscal year 2020, as well as broader trends in the budget over the past few decades.
The federal budget deficit was $1,048 billion in the first five months of fiscal year 2021, CBO estimates—$423 billion more than the deficit recorded during the same period last year.
This document provides additional information about the baseline budget projections that CBO released on February 11, 2021.
CBO presents its projections of the federal budget for the next 30 years if current laws governing taxes and spending generally did not change. Growth in revenues would be outpaced by growth in spending, leading to rising deficits and debt.
If current laws governing taxes and spending generally remain unchanged, CBO projects, in 2021, the federal budget deficit will total $2.3 trillion, federal debt will reach 102 percent of GDP, and real GDP will grow by 3.7 percent.
CBO periodically issues a compendium of policy options and their effects on the federal budget. This document provides estimates of the budgetary savings from 83 options that would decrease federal spending or increase federal revenues.
CBO presents its projections of what federal deficits, debt, spending, and revenues would be for the next 30 years if current laws governing taxes and spending generally did not change.
CBO projects a federal budget deficit of $3.3 trillion in 2020, more than triple the shortfall recorded in 2019, mostly because of the economic disruption caused by the 2020 coronavirus pandemic and the enactment of legislation in response.
View CBO’s budget infographics to see how much the federal government spent and took in during fiscal year 2019, as well as broader trends in the budget over the past few decades.
On February 10, the Administration transmitted its annual set of budgetary proposals to the Congress. CBO estimates that in the coming decade deficits under those proposals would be smaller and debt held by the public would be lower than amounts in CBO’s baseline projections—but larger than the Administration projected. CBO’s estimates do not account for changes to the nation’s economic or fiscal outlook arising from the recent public health emergency.
From the end of 2008 to 2019, the amount of federal debt held by the public nearly tripled. This report describes federal debt, various ways to measure it, CBO’s projections for the coming decade, and the consequences of its growth.
In CBO’s projections of the outlook under current law, deficits remain large by historical standards, federal debt grows to 98 percent of GDP by 2030, and the economy expands at an average annual rate of 1.7 percent from 2021 to 2030.
Federal Budget in Billions of Dollars - History
Explore resources provided by the Research Division at the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
2020: -3,131,917 (+ more)
Updated: Oct 16, 2020
Millions of Dollars ,
Not Seasonally Adjusted
Data in this graph are copyrighted. Please review the copyright information in the series notes before sharing.
Units: Millions of Dollars , Not Seasonally Adjusted
Frequency: Annual, Fiscal Year
Dates represent the end of the fiscal year. Fiscal year series are updated with official OMB figures in January or February. In October, the latest fiscal year is updated with figures from the Treasury Department (September figures from the Treasury's fiscal year to date series).
The table shows overall actual federal expenditures for major functions for a six year window, as reported in the historical tables in the latest presidential budget.
If the most recent year, 2020, shows many values as budgeted, it is because the details of actual expenditure for the latest year have not yet been released.
You can move the the six-year window, change the units displayed, or drill down to view more detailed spending information.
For a discussion of the sources of the government spending data used here read How We Got the Data for usgovernmentspending.com.
Budget Updates: The presidents budget is typically published each year in February.
Cumulative Federal Deficit
- Cumulative FY21 Deficit Through May 2021: $2,064 billion
- Cumulative Budget Deficit Over Same Period in FY20: $1,880 billion
The cumulative deficit for the first eight months of FY21 was $184 billion larger than it was through the first eight months of FY20. The increase in the cumulative deficit reflects growth in spending this year of $771 billion that was partially offset by a $588 billion increase in revenues.