The San Francisco Bay Guardian had an interesting story earlier in the month that looked at the question of why state and local homeland security grant funds have been spent relatively slowly. The story finds that state agencies and a confusing bureaucratic process are largely responsible for these spending bottlenecks. From the story:
Each year, when California submits its request for homeland security funding to the feds, it must include a description of how it intends to use the money. However, for some time the state’s Office of Homeland Security was short the staff necessary to properly audit spending at the local level. So much of the money just sat there.
Between 2000 and 2004, California received approximately $900 million in federal funds from five homeland security and bioterrorism preparedness grant programs, according to last year’s annual budget review from the state Legislative Analyst’s Office. By early 2005, almost a third of that money still hadn’t been spent, largely due to the bureaucratic lethargy of the two state agencies charged with distributing it: the OHS and the California Department of Health Services.
Last year’s LAO report criticizing the bureaucratic bottleneck made many recommendations, but only now is Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger addressing the problem, in a report due to the legislature Feb. 1, as the Guardian goes to press.
The Legislative Affairs Office (LAO) report that’s mentioned above is available here, and is worth reading to better understand this issue. But the Governor’s report – a statewide strategic plan to improve the grants management process – is still not publicly available three weeks after its Feb. 1st submittal deadline, and I’ve been actively trying to track it down. Hopefully it will be available soon.