A Guide to Block Grant Proposals

The Coalition on Human Needs has developed a "Block Grant Chart."

Unsurprisingly, this administration has proposed a number of block grants in human needs programs. Under the guise of providing "local flexibility", these block grants actually shift responsibility for programs without providing the resources to pay for them. With the federal budget in deficit for years to come, block grants reduce both federal oversight and financial responsibility, leaving the burden on the states. This is an especially dangerous situation now that most states are experiencing fiscal catastrophes.

There is also a concern that block grants change program priorities. For example, categorical programs targeting certain populations may no longer be retained under a block grant. Or the emphasis on a certain type of service may be lost.

The Coalition on Human Needs has developed a very useful chart summarizing programs threatened by block grants. It includes the current structure, changes proposed by the Bush administration, legislative status, and the impact of proposed changes.

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