WASHINGTON – The National Association of Counties (NACo) applauded the passage of the bipartisan FY 2020 legislative package, which includes several provisions important to America’s counties.
“Leaders on both sides of the aisle came together to deliver predictability and continuity,” said NACo Executive Director Matthew Chase. “We thank Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy for their bipartisan efforts.”
Included in the bill are several provisions for which NACo has long advocated. Specifically, counties welcomed the following:
- Full funding for the Payments In Lieu of Taxes program and a two-year reauthorization of the Secure Rural Schools program. These programs help counties with untaxable federal lands – 62 percent of counties nationwide – provide essential services, including law enforcement, search and rescue, road maintenance, health and education.
- The full repeal of the 40-percent “Cadillac Tax.” Repealing the excise tax on employer-sponsored health coverage will help county governments, which employ 3.6 million Americans, provide quality health care to employees, in efforts to attract and retain a talented workforce for public service.
- $425 million in new election security funding. With counties responsible for more than 100,000 polling locations and 700,000 poll workers every two years, new federal investments will assist states and counties in better securing and administering elections across the country.
- $5 billion for disaster relief. Counties lead local disaster mitigation and response efforts. With more than a quarter of counties experiencing a disaster in the past two years, counties work with the federal government on many ongoing recovery projects.
- $1.5 billion for local opioid response efforts. As providers of health, human services and justice programs in many states, counties play a central role in administering federal, regional and community-specific efforts to address the opioid epidemic and substance abuse.
- National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) extended until September 2020. NFIP provides insurance coverage to property owners for damages and losses due to flooding. The program also provides critical flood mitigation assistance to state and local governments and helps to stabilize local housing markets.
- $640 million investment in expansion of rural broadband services. New investments in rural broadband will provide economic development opportunities, improved education and health care services.
- $10.1 billion in Transit Formula Grants. Counties are directly involved in the operation of 78 percent of all public transit systems. These grants help counties build and maintain transit systems and ensure the safety of riders.
- $244 million in the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program (SCAAP). Under SCAAP, state and local governments are reimbursed for the cost of incarcerating undocumented immigrants who have been convicted of certain crimes.
Additional measures supported by counties include the Family First Transition Act, which will help ensure quality child welfare services as counties transition to the new Family First Prevention Services Act; increased investments in community and economic development through Community Development Block Grants, the HOME Investment Partnerships program and the Economic Development Administration; and Medicaid programs like the Disproportionate Share Hospital Payments that invest in serving uninsured and indigent populations.
“Counties are on the front lines serving our communities every day, and we achieve the best results when federal, state and local governments work together,” said Chase. “Counties need a strong federal partner, and this legislation is an example of government aligning to support our shared priorities.”Standard