By Mark Schmeissing
With all the concerns over budget cuts, government shutdowns, continuing resolutions, and legislative negotiating, it’s easy to get confused about the Community Services Block Grant formula and allocation amounts. The following explanation aims to demystify the process a bit.
The formula is laid out in the CSBG Statute in Section 674, Authorization of Appropriations, which outlines how the appropriations are distributed among the territories, tribes, states, Office of Community Services discretionary grants, and other discretionary activities listed in the CSBG Act. A very basic summary of the FY 2012 Appropriations Act which was signed into law December 23, 2011, is this: the total appropriation was $713.63 million for the CSBG Act. At first glance, this would appear to be a small but significant increase over the $703 million appropriated last fiscal year. In actuality, the final allocation was affected by a number of factors: across the board cuts; payouts to territories, discretionary, T/TA grants, and other discretionary funding; and minimum allocation formulas for small States. As a result, the final FY 2012 allocation distributed to States and tribes ends up being nearly the same as the FY 2011 allocation.
A closer analysis of the legislative set-asides and the formula calculations explains why some States will see a slight increase and some will actually see a very slight decrease in their final FY 2012 allocations compared to FY 2011. Although the FY 2012 appropriation of $713.63 million represents a slight increase over the $703 million appropriated for FY 2011, neither of these amounts include the across-the-board cuts enacted in both bills (0.2% for FY 2011; 0.189% for FY 2012). With the cuts, the appropriations came out to $701.6 million for FY 2011 and $712.3 million for FY 2012.
The formula laid out in the CSBG Act allows for 12% of the total appropriation for “Reservations” and the other 88% to go to States and Tribes for distribution to eligible entities. The “Reservations” include 0.5% of the total appropriation to be paid out to the territories, 1.5% for OCS discretionary and T/TA grants, and 9% for other discretionary activities including Community Economic Development (CED) and Rural Community Facilities grants. However, rather than follow the 9% formula for CED and Rural Facilities grants, Congress specified an exact dollar amount ($34.99 million) for these purposes in FY 2012 via the appropriations language. This change to the formula is where a majority of the increase in total appropriations went, as it resulted in a 52% increase over FY 2011 for CED and Rural Facilities grants.
The “Reservations” totaled $49.2 million for FY 2012, leaving $663.1 million for States and tribes. This amounts to a decrease of 0.23% from FY 2011 to FY 2012, however each state will see slight deviations from this amount.
There are 14 States who receive the minimum allocation amount which is equal to 0.5% of the $712.3 million appropriation ($3.56 million). This minimum allocation is an increase of 1.52% over FY 2011. The other 39 States will see a decrease of approximately 0.36% in comparison to FY 2011.
Below is a chart of FY 2011 and FY 2012 appropriations and a breakdown of how those funds are distributed.
The FY 2012 appropriations have typically been referred to as “level funding” for CSBG, however as you can see in the data above there are slight differences from your FY 2011 allocation. Please keep these formula nuances in mind as you follow legislative activity for future funding. Participants at the CSBG Orientation will receive additional information on the funding formula.