September 4, 2020 3:27PM

Federal Aid Creates Central‐​Planning Power

The Trump administration is threatening to cut federal aid to cities that do not follow its approach to policing and civil unrest. The administration also wants to cut aid to public schools that do not follow its approach to reopening. Previously, the Obama administration tried to micromanage neighborhoods and housing through control over federal aid dollars.

As a general matter, there is no reason to think that federal politicians have superior knowledge to state-local leaders regarding how to run policing, schools, housing, and other local activities. Unfortunately, having power over an armada of 1,386 aid-to-state programs makes federal politicians think they are national central planners. Trump, Obama, and other presidents exude self-confidence, but they do not know how to run the affairs of 50 states and 19,000 cities and towns across our huge nation.

This study argues that Congress should repeal all federal aid-to-state programs for many reasons, including that aid comes with costly strings attached that destroy local democracy. Richard Epstein and Mario Loyola noted about aid programs: “When Americans vote in state and local elections, they think they are voting on state and local policies. But often they are just deciding which local officials get to implement the dictates of distant and insulated federal bureaucrats, whom even Congress can’t control.”

I came across a table (p. 82) in New Jersey’s budget that lists the $15 billion the state received in 2020 from each of almost 400 federal aid programs. The data reproduced below illustrates the vast reach of the federal government’s tentacles.

One of the line items includes $10,000 for circus training in Camden. Is there anything that the federal government doesn’t subsidize?

Federal Aid for State-Local Governments in New Jersey, 2020 $000
Child Care 104,700
Child Nutrition - School Breakfast 130,000
Child Nutrition - School Lunch 375,000
Child Nutrition - Special Milk 1,300
Child Nutrition - Summer Programs 14,047
Child Nutrition Administration 13,395
Child Nutrition Technology Grant 2,000
Farm Risk Management Education Program 282
Food Stamp - The Emergency Food Assistance Program (TEFAP) 3,596
Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program 5,400
Indemnities - Avian Influenza 600
National School Lunch Program- Equipment Assistance 1,000
Produce Safety Rule Implementation 770
Specialty Crop Block Grant Program 1,600
Trade Mitigation Food Purchase and Distribution Program 2,000
Various Federal Programs and Accruals 8,761
Restricted Federal Grants 49,911
Social Services Block Grant 42,868
Title IV- B Child Welfare Services 12,117
Title IV- E Foster Care 176,937
Community Development Block Grant - Super Storm Sandy - - -
Community Services Block Grant 20,500
Continuum of Care Program 4,000
Emergency Solutions Grants Program 4,000
Family Self Sufficiency Program Coordinator 350
Housing and Urban Development Recovery Initiative - - -
Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control 4,800
Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program 140,000
Mainstream 5 450
Moderate Rehabilitation Housing Assistance 9,500
National Affordable Housing - HOME Investment Partnerships 6,000
National Housing Trust Fund 8,500
Section 8 Housing Voucher Program 265,000
Small Cities Block Grant Program 8,023
Weatherization Assistance Program 5,550
Anti- Heroin Task Force - - -
Body Worn Cameras 156
Defense Tactical Training 750
Diversity Training 100
Father/Child Visitation Program 165
Federal Reentry Initiative - - -
Health, Safety and Wellness - - -
Inmate Vocational Certifications 350
Innovative Reentry Initiatives 125
Offender Reentry 600
Prison Rape Elimination Grant 145
Promising Reentry 750
Responsible Parenting Program - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families 110
Smart Supervision 500
Special Investigations Division - Intelligence Technology 250
Special Operations Tactical Equipment 200
State Criminal Alien Assistance Program 4,300
Swift, Certain, and Fair Sanctions Program 600
Technology Enhancements 500
Various Federal Programs and Accruals 200
21st Century Schools 26,497
AIDS Prevention Education 120
Bilingual and Compensatory Education - Homeless Children and Youth 2,150
Career and Technical Education Teacher Pathway - - -
Head Start Collaboration 275
Hurricane Relief - - -
Improving America’s Schools Act - Consolidated Administration 5,040
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Basic State Grant 382,000
Individuals with Disabilities Education Act Preschool Grants 11,675
Language Acquisition Discretionary Administration 18,193
Mathematics and Science Partnerships Grants - - -
Migrant Education - Administration/Discretionary 2,327
Race to the Top - Early Learning Challenge - - -
Race to the Top - Preschool Development Grant - - -
STOP School Violence Grant 2,750
School Violence Prevention Program 500
State Assessments 8,650
Student Support & Academic Enrichment State Grants 25,798
Supporting Effective Instruction State Grants 44,840
Title I - Grants to Local Educational Agencies 362,950
Title I - Part D, Neglected and Delinquent 1,861
Vocational Education - Basic Grants - Administration 25,450
Various Federal Programs and Accruals 2,213
Air Pollution Maintenance Program 10,500
Artificial Reef Program - PSE&G/NJPDES Permit Fees 985
Atlantic Brant Migration Ecology Study 240
Atlantic Coastal Fisheries 300
Beach Monitoring and Notification 700
BioWatch Monitoring 700
Boat Access (Fish and Wildlife) 1,000
Bobcat Hair Snare Study 240
Brownfields 1,000
Clean Diesel Retrofit 500
Clean Vessels 1,000
Clean Water State Revolving Fund 68,000
Coastal Zone Management - Special Merit - - -
Coastal Zone Management Implementation 3,965
Community Assistance Program 600
Connecting Habitat Across New Jersey (CHANJ) Assessments 200
Consolidated Forest Management 500
Cooperative Technical Partnership 3,000
DOT Reconstruct Ferry Slips LSP 6,000
Development Compensatory Mitigation Technical Manual - - -
Development of Coastal Ecological Restoration - - -
Drinking Water State Revolving Fund 28,200
Endangered Species 355
Endangered and Nongame Species Program State Wildlife Grants 1,070
FEMA Port Security Grant LSP 1,100
Fish and Wildlife Action Plan 135
Fish and Wildlife Health 380
Fish and Wildlife Technical Guidance - - -
Forest Legacy 4,245
Forest Resource Management - Cooperative Forest Fire Control 1,230
Framework for Increased Risk Reduction 1,200
Hazardous Waste - Resource Conservation Recovery Act 4,750
High Hazard Dams Grants/Loans - - -
Historic Preservation - Super Storm Sandy - - -
Historic Preservation Survey and Planning 1,000
Hunters’ and Anglers’ License Fund 13,530
Improving Marsh Restoration - - -
Land and Water Conservation Fund 5,000
Landscape Restoration 350
Marine Fisheries Investigation and Management 1,750
Mighty Waterfowlers Project - - -
Multimedia 750
NJ - FRAMES - Monmouth County 900
NJ Outdoor Heritage Program 3,800
National Coastal Wetlands Conservation 3,500
National Dam Safety Program (FEMA) 120
National Geologic Mapping Program 674
National Recreational Trails 1,900
New Jersey Atlantic and Shortnose Sturgeon 365
New Jersey’s Landscape Project 990
Nonpoint Source Implementation (319H) 3,830
Particulate Monitoring Grant 1,000
Pesticide Technology 500
Port Security Sector NY - - -
Preliminary Assessments/Site Inspections 1,000
Radon Program 500
Recovery Land Acquisition 2,500
Remedial Planning Support Agency Assistance 1,000
Species of Greater Conservation Need - Mammal Research and Management 340
Statewide Habitat Restoration and Enhancement 700
Superfund Grants 5,020
Underground Storage Tank Program Standard Compliance Inspections 1,250
Underground Storage Tanks 3,157
Water Monitoring and Planning 970
Water Pollution Control Program 4,675
Wildfire Risk Reduction 300
Wildlife Management Area Conservation Program 2,000
Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Outreach 390
Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Partnership Exhibit Development 300
Various Federal Programs and Accruals 1,262
AIDS Drug Distribution Program 2,000
Abstinence Education - Family Health Services (FHS) 1,700
Addressing the Opioid Crisis Statewide 1,310
Asthma Surveillance and Coalition Building 769
Bioterrorism Hospital Emergency Preparedness 14,786
Birth Defects Surveillance Program 508
Breast and Cervical Cancer Early Detection Program 3,400
Breastfeeding Peer Counseling 1,271
Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion 3,350
Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments Program 617
Comprehensive AIDS Resources Grant 46,311
Conformance with the Manufactured Food Regulatory Program Standards 340
Coordinated Integrated Initiative 2,255
Core Injury Prevention and Control Program 300
Early Hearing Detection and Intervention (EHDI) Tracking, Research 250
Early Intervention for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities (Part C) 13,000
Ebola Hospital Preparedness and Response 6,022
Electronic Patient Care 350
Emergency Medical Services for Children (EMSC) Partnership Grants 200
Emergency Preparedness for Bioterrorism 29,581
Enhanced HIV/AIDS Surveillance- Perinatal 213
Enhancing & Making Programs & Outcomes Work to End Rape 96
Federal Lead Abatement Program 440
Food Emergency Response Network - E Coli in Ground Beef 165
Food Inspection 676
Fundamental & Expanded Occupational Health 985
HIV/AIDS Events without Care in New Jersey 373
HIV/AIDS Prevention and Education Grant 17600
HIV/AIDS Surveillance Grant 3318
Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention 450
Housing Opportunities for Incarcerated Persons with AIDS 1958
Housing Opportunities for Persons with AIDS 1764
Immunization Project 9909
Improving Mental Health for Older African Americans 240
Lab Biomonitoring Program - Impact of Biohazards on New Jersey Citizens 1,000
Maternal and Child Health (MCH) Early Childhood Comprehensive System 140
Maternal and Child Health Block Grant 13,000
Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Innovation Grant 4,000
Maternal, Infant and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program 10,582
Medicare/Medicaid Inspections of Nursing Facilities 14,500
Morbidity and Risk Behavior Surveillance 1,071
National Cancer Prevention and Control 6,889
National HIV/AIDS Behavioral Surveillance 512
National Program of Cancer Registries 1400
New Jersey Cancer Education & Early Detection (NJ CEED) 197
New Jersey Childhood Lead 316
New Jersey Personal Responsibility Education Program 1426
New Jersey Plan for Private Well Programs 290
New Jersey State Maternal Health Innovation Program - - -
New Jersey’s Reducing Health Disparities Initiative 160
Nurse Aide Certification Program 1000
Oral Health Grant 500
Overdose Data - Action 7486
Pandemic Influenza Healthcare Preparedness 1935
Pediatric AIDS Health Care Demonstration Project 2350
Pediatric Mental Health Care 445
Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System 750
Preventative Health and Health Services Block Grant 5683
Prevention & Public Health Fund - Coordinated Integrated Initiative 1187
Prevention & Public Health Fund - Immunization and Vaccines for Children 9600
Prevention and Management of Diabetes, Heart Disease and Stroke 1715
Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health - State Plan 900
Public Health Crisis - Opioids 4524
Public Health Crisis Response 5470
Public Health Laboratory Biomonitoring Planning 2156
Rape Prevention and Education Program 1896
Ryan White Part B - Emergency Relief 1300
Ryan White Part B - Supplemental 1500
Senior Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program 2000
Supplemental Food Program - Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) 151608
Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) 1319
Tobacco Age of Sale Enforcement (TASE) 2357
Tuberculosis Control Program 2595
Venereal Disease Project 3882
Viral Hepatitis Surveillance 400
Vital Statistics Component 1498
West Nile Virus - Laboratory 200
West Nile Virus - Public Health 1942
Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Farmers’ Market Nutrition Program 2600
Zika Surveillance and Intervention - - -
Various Federal Programs and Accruals 24029
Block Grant Mental Health Services 19,289
Child Care Block Grant 160,662
Child Support Enforcement Program 178,077
Clinical High Risk For Psychosis 400
Cures Grant 12,995
Developmental Disabilities Council 1,649
Electronic Health Records Provider Incentive Payments 20,000
Grants to Prevent Prescription Drug/Opioid Overdose Deaths 1,000
Health Information Technology (HIT) 5,661
Medication Assisted Drug and Opioid 950
National Family Caregiver Program 5,200
National Strategy Grant- Suicide Prevention 471
New Jersey Mental Health Awareness Training 125
New Jersey Money Follows the Person 12,941
New Jersey State Opioid Response 48,998
Older Americans Act - Title III 34,106
Program Integration of Primary and Behavioral Health Care 2,000
Projects for Assistance in Transition from Homelessness (PATH) 2,141
Refugee Resettlement Program 2,578
Social Services Administration 40,868
Strategic Prevention Framework 2,260
Substance Abuse Block Grant 49,000
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program 174,420
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Education 9,500
Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program - Fraud Grant 1,000
Temporary Assistance for Needy Families Block Grant 441,915
Title XIX Child Residential 114,000
Title XIX Community Care Program 781,895
Title XIX ICF/MR 221,166
Title XIX Medical Assistance 8,338,551
Title XXI Children’s Health Insurance Program 488,853
United States Department of Agriculture Older Americans 4,350
Vocational Rehabilitation Act, Section 120 13,322
Various Federal Programs and Accruals 6,202
Assistive Technology 600
Current Employment Statistics 2,417
Disability Determination Services 74,553
Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program 3,337
Employment Services 26,717
Employment Services Grants - Alien Labor Certification 789
Independent Living 600
Local Veterans’ Employment Representatives 1,594
National Council on Aging - Senior Community Services Employment Project 4,040
Occupational Safety Health Act - On- Site Consultation 2,674
One Stop Labor Market Information 1,046
Public Employees Occupational Safety and Health Act 2,872
Redesigned Occupational Safety and Health (ROSH) 385
Reemployment Eligibility Assessments - State Administration 3,550
Rehabilitation of Supplemental Security Income Beneficiaries 5,000
Supported Employment 975
Trade Adjustment Assistance Project 8,220
Unemployment Insurance 156,545
Vocational Rehabilitation Act of 1973 54,207
Work Opportunity Tax Credit 746
Workforce Investment Act 116,166
Workforce Investment Act - Adult and Continuing Education 18,250
Various Federal Programs and Accruals 1,802
Anti- Methamphetamine 500
Body Cameras 1500
Community Oriented Policing (COPS) Anti- Gang Initiative 1000
Community Oriented Policing (COPS) Anti- Heroin Task Force Program 3000
Community Oriented Policing (COPS) Hiring Program - - -
Community Policing Development 500
Coverdell Competitive 250
Disaster Assistance -- Other - - -
Disaster Assistance - Super Storm Sandy - - -
Emergency Management Performance Grant - Non Terrorism 9000
Encouraging Innovation 500
Enhancement of Data Analysis Center - - -
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission 300
Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS) 350
Flood Mitigation Assistance 9000
Forensic DNA Laboratory 2300
Hazardous Materials Transportation 550
Highway Traffic Safety 41150
Homeland Security Grant Program 7993
Incident Command - - -
Intellectual Property 450
Internet Crimes Against Children 600
Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) 4700
Juvenile Justice Delinquency Prevention 1013
Medicaid Fraud Unit 4913
National Crime Statistics Exchange 2750
National Criminal History Program - Office of the Attorney General 500
Non- Motorized Safety 1500
Opioids 5396
Paul Coverdell National Forensic Science Improvement 550
Port Security 3000
Pre- Disaster Mitigation Grant (Competitive) 5000
Prescription Drug Monitoring Program 1000
Preventing Wrongful Convictions 250
Project Safe Neighborhoods 700
Public Safety Innovation Acceleration Program - - -
Recreational Boating Safety 3800
Residential Treatment for Substance Abuse 480
STOP School Violence Prevention Program 500
Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) 655
Training for Juvenile Prosecution 250
UASI Nonprofit Security Grant Program (NSGP) 8685
Urban Area Security Initiative (UASI) 22750
Urban Search and Rescue 12500
Victim Assistance Grants 87800
Victim Centered Law Enforcement Training 750
Victim Compensation Award 2900
Victims of Crime Act - Building State Technology 344
Victims of Crime Act - Training Discretionary 1000
Violence Against Women Act - Criminal Justice 3890
Various Federal Programs and Accruals 1550
Antiterrorism Program Manager 198
Armory Renovations and Improvements 7700
Army Facilities Service Contracts 5000
Army National Guard Electronic Security System 350
Army National Guard Statewide Security Agreement 950
Army National Guard Sustainable Range Program 80
Army Training and Technology Lab 414
Atlantic City Air Base Environmental 70
Atlantic City Air Base Operations and Maintenance 200
Atlantic City Air Base Service Contracts 1900
Atlantic City Air Base Sustainment, Restoration and Modernization 700
Brigadier General Doyle Memorial Cemetery Building Project 5,000
Dining Facility Operations 250
Facilities Support Contract 22,100
Federal Distance Learning Program 447
Firefighter/Crash Rescue Service Cooperative Funding Agreement 2,000
Hazardous Waste Environmental Protection Program 2,953
Lakehurst Readiness Center - - -
McGuire Air Force Base Operations and Maintenance 202
McGuire Air Force Base Service Contracts 1,492
Medicare Part A Receipts for Resident Care and Operational Costs 10,699
National Guard Communications Agreement 400
New Jersey National Guard ChalleNGe Youth Program 3,200
Sea Girt Energy Grid Upgrade - - -
Sea Girt Regional Training Institute - Construction 10,000
Training Site Facilities Maintenance Agreements 120
Training and Equipment - Pool Sites 540
Veterans’ Education Monitoring 600
Warren Grove/Coyle Field 60
Various Federal Programs and Accruals 1,055
Americorps Grants 6,053
Foster Grandparent Program 1,200
Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs 5,000
Help America Vote Act 2,800
John R Justice Grant Program - - -
National Endowment for the Arts Partnership 900
National Health Service Corps - Student Loan Repayment Program 255
State Trade and Export Promotion Pilot Grant Program 850
Student Loan Administrative Cost Deduction and Allowance 9,511
Airport Fund 2,000
Boating Infrastructure Program (New Jersey Maritime Program) 1,600
Commercial Drivers’ License Program 1,100
Development and Implementation Grant - Federal Transit Administration 1,527
Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program 9,506
Financing Advanced Microgrids 300
Pipeline Safety 950
State Energy Conservation Program 1,321
Underserved Communities Electric Vehicle Affordability Program 100
Various Federal Programs and Accruals 1,325
Total Federal Aid 15,096,959

Note: some of the line items may be aggregations of multiple programs, and some small number are contracts, not grants.