Welfare Funding Still Short In Governor's Budget Proposal

Jan 18, 2016

Gov. Nathan Deal's new budget proposal includes money to plug a potential $100 million shortfall in welfare funding, but it won't be enough to fill it entirely.

To get federal funding from the Temporary Assistance to Needy Family programs, or TANF, each year Georgia is required to spend about $174 million on welfare programs.

But a recent investigation by WABE found Georgia counts nonprofit money to meet the bulk of its obligation, or about $99 million of that $174 million required spending. It’s a funding mechanism federal officials have been threatening to do away with for the past few years, though a change was put off as recently as this past fall during budget negotiations.

If the feds end the practice of counting third-party dollars toward state spending, Georgia would have to find $99 million to make up the difference.

Deal's 2017 budget proposal could offset that deficit by $25 million to $30 million, according to the Division of Family and Children Services.

The money comes from a shift in how the state funds out-of-home care for children removed from their families. The governor’s budget calls for about $50 million in state funding for such care, which would replace federal TANF funds.   

Even if that budget request passes, Georgia could end some $70 million short on its required TANF spending level.

Budget hearings are scheduled to start next week at the Capitol.