Block Grants

Brief

Block Grants

Details of the Bush Proposals

Abstract

This report examines the design and potential impact of current proposals to block grant Child Welfare, Food Stamps, Head Start, housing assistance, job training, Medicaid, transportation, and local law enforcement. The authors conclude that fixed funding may drive states to cut services or narrow eligibility during periods of fiscal stress. Four of the 10 proposals include maintenance of effort (MOE) provisions, but only the Medicaid proposal adjusts the level of required state spending for inflation. Requirements for public participation, data collection, and performance evaluation vary widely across the proposals. In a new twist, several proposals allow states to choose whether to participate in the block grants or continue under current programs.

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