A James Madison Institute report released this weekexamines Florida’s federal grant process and suggests new policy measures to improve accountability.
“Florida’s Federal Grants: Special Handling Required” notes the Sunshine State’s high reliance on federal funds, which accounted for 12 percent of the state’s total receipts between 2012 and 2015.
Overall, Florida ranks 30th out of the 50 states when it comes to federal grants dependency, with over $23 billion in federal grant receipts annually. Additionally, 13 percent of land in Florida is federally owned.
The report does list some things Florida is doing well, including making reporting of federal money adoptable and accessible to both agencies and watchdogs, and making the governor’s office and Legislature aware when agencies apply for grants.
“While Florida has been a leader on financial accountability so far, more can be done,” the report said. “Florida’s next steps should include more consistent reporting by agencies, more thorough integration of grants into the budget process, and strict scrutiny for grants.”
Among the suggestions for improvement, JMI recommends reporting requirements for local agencies that apply to funds directly, continuous monitoring of grants for mission creep and cost increases, and requiring the amount of federal dollars being spent each year to be listed in the state budget so lawmakers can see the impact they have on the state budget.