Wayne Pulver with the Legislative Budget Board (LBB) testified and gave a brief overview of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. See attached for handout. Pulver noted the following:

  • $14.4 billion in ARRA funding appropriated
  • $177.5 million that was additionally awarded after the session and after the appropriation bill was passed BUT would have most likely gone into the bill if the legislature had known about it.
  • $1 billion in ARRA funds NOT YET received/reported when TOTALING the amounts EXPECTED and the amounts received/reported ABOVE the expected amount (see handout for further details)
  • $1 billion + when breaking down just the amounts Texas is still expecting to receive

Those amounts still expected include:

  • $1 billion for the Texas Education Agency (TEA) for second phase of stabilization funding which will be drawn down shortly for this school year.
  • $88 million for the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC). HHSC had not yet billed the feds for the anticipated caseload.
  • $56 million for the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), those funds have been obligated.   

ARRA funds were made available to the state for two specific recurring programs:

1)      Enhance states ability to pay for Medicaid services, Enhanced FMAP – $4.7 billion

2)      Foundation School Program – $3.3 billion

Therefore recurring costs total: $8 billion

Pulver also noted there are several grants and programs supported by ARRA programs. He pointed out the 81st Legislature put in an information rider to identify the funds that were outside the state budget which totaled approximately $5.4 billion.

Deadlines for spending ARRA funds will vary from program to program. Federal Government will advise agencies on how to apply for funds. Agencies can look for these competitive grants on federal site.

Websites to track ARRA funding:

Comptroller Stimulus Site: http://www.window.state.tx.us/recovery/

Federal Recovery website: http://www.recovery.gov/Pages/home.aspx

Mike Morrissey from the Office of Governor began his testimony noting there are still inaccuracies on the federal site:

  • Sometimes the federal government awards funding before the agency or entity is aware they will be awarded the funds.
  • Job numbers are not cumulative but are being reported from quarter to quarter.
  • Guidance is still needed in a few areas.

Morrissey argues the ARRA funds are only three-tenths of one percent of the gross state product making ARRA funding an unlikely contributor to Texas job growth.

Morrissey points out a time lag between award of ARRA funds and “actual draw down of funds” (stabilization was offered as an example). He argues as of last federal reporting quarter $14 billion was awarded to Texas but Texas has received only $4.6 billion of that funding as of June. Texas’ experience with ARRA disbursements is “about average” with other states, notes Morrissey.

He offered he only knows of one agency in danger, right now, of not getting all its awarded funds spent – TANF supplemental. The danger is due to changing guidelines. The application was approved but the application required additional answers from the feds that have not been given yet, Morrissey states. The money expires at the end of this month and, Morrissey estimates, the amount is $120-130 million.

When funding is spent, it will show up on Comptroller site says Morrissey. Additionally, cities and counties can go directly to the federal government for additional funds and the federal site would be the best resource for that information.

Archive of hearing: http://www.house.state.tx.us/fx/av/committee81/00920a02s.ram