Our families plan for snow and fire and earthquakes and job losses and illness and a whole host of things by knowing what we have, what we need, and what to do if there’s a temporary gap between those two things. States should do the same.
In 2011 Utah passed HB138, the Federal Receipts and Reporting Act. It’s pretty simple, actually. It requires an annual inventory of most federal funds coming into the state, and a contingency plan if those funds are reduced by 5% and 25%.
The sequester and 2013 federal government shutdown demonstrated to Utahns both the need and the usefulness of this kind of planning as federal cuts directly impacted our communities. And they showed what happens without planning as the federal government implemented across the board cuts that didn’t do any prioritizing or assessing real impacts on real people.
Utah’s 2013 Federal Receipts Reporting provides a handy guide not just to federal government largess, but also to key vulnerabilities if and when federal support to the state is reduced under the budgetary pressures they’re feeling in D.C. Utah gets about a third of its budget from Washington. This money comes mostly from discretionary spending that will come under increasing pressure as our federal representatives struggle with maintaining entitlement programs for future generations. If and when cuts to state subsidies and grants do come, we should be financially ready.