National Association of Counties Releases Analysis of Government Spending Bill Impacts on Local Government

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Key wins for counties include long-supported Medicaid reform, full funding for Payments in Lieu of Taxes program

WASHINGTON — The National Association of Counties (NACo) applauds the inclusion of items in the two “minibus” packages for government spending reflecting support for county priorities. Among the items supported by counties, states will now permanently have the option to waive the Medicaid Institutions of Mental Disease (IMD) exclusion for substance use disorder treatment and services. The bills also fully fund the Payments in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program, enabling counties with public lands to provide critical services on those lands.  

“The fruits of a strong intergovernmental partnership are reflected in these spending bills,” said NACo Chief Government Affairs Officer Mark Ritacco. “Seeing priorities counties have advocated for, like Medicaid reform, Payments in Lieu of Taxes, and funding for rural broadband programs, included in the fiscal year 2024 spending packages indicates alignment in many areas where our federal partners know what counties need to thrive and serve our residents.”

County priorities in the two minibus packages include:

  • Full funding ($515M) for the PILT program to ensure counties with federal lands within their boundaries can continue providing mandated services such as law enforcement and search and rescue
  • Making permanent the option for states to waive the Medicaid IMD exclusion for substance use disorder treatment and services
  • Continued funding for rural broadband programs including the ReConnect, Distance Learning and Telemedicine and the Community Connect programs to address the nation’s digital divide
  • $924M for Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance grants providing resources for counties addressing public safety challenges
  • Increased funding for the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children program, which provides critical nutrition support for women and children
  • $2.77B for the Clean Water and Drinking Water State Revolving Funds  
  • Over $10B for critical block grants that support essential human services programs, including the Child Care and Development Block Grant, the Social Services Block Grant and the Community Services Block Grant
  • Funding for election security grants to improve the administration of federal elections, enhance election technology and make security improvements
  • $3.2B for U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grants to state and local governments, including funding for the state Homeland Security Grant Program and the Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response grant program to assist local fire departments
  • $5.7B for the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act programs, helping counties tackle and overcome challenges facing job seekers and employers in their communities

In spite of robust support for county priorities, several key areas were omitted in the spending bills. Given that counties are mandated to provide essential services for all residents regardless of immigration status, counties are concerned to see a $150M reduction in funding for FEMA’s Shelter and Services Program, which supports those services. Counties also advocated for extended funding for the expiring Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), through which 23 million households have access to affordable broadband internet.

For a summary of NACo’s response to the first minibus package, click here. For a summary of the second minibus package, click here

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