Here is a suggestion for members of Congress and of President-elect Obama’s transition team as they craft a plan to help state and local governments meet their obligations to the people during this dramatic downturn in the economy. And it will cost the federal government, and federal taxpayers, nothing.
For calendar year 2009, waive all requirements for state or local matching for federal funding.
In Missouri alone, we stand to lose tens of millions in federal dollars because the economic downturn makes it unlikely we can provide the mandatory local match.
The aid package Obama plans to sign should include this waiver of the requirement for local matching from our state and local governments, including nonprofit agencies and other private vendors that receive federal funds to provide public services via grants or contracts.
This proposal will enable state and local governments, and the private and nonprofit agencies they partner with, to continue to provide vital services to those of our fellow citizens most in need. It would only compound the current economic tragedy to have people go without services because their local or state government is too financially pressed to provide the local match for federal funds that otherwise are available.
Executive director, Missouri Association for Social Welfare