TALLAHASSEE, Fla. - Florida continues to receive far less than its fair share of federal grant dollars, according to the latest Florida TaxWatch report. Florida ranks last in in the nation in per capita federal grants, receiving about $22.8 billion in federal grants in FY2014-15 or about $1,125 for each Floridian. The report also found that Florida pays $1.58 in federal taxes for every $1.00 returned in aid, second highest in the nation.
“Since 1996, Florida TaxWatch has tracked Florida’s federal grants and in those 20 years, the state has never ranked higher than 43rd in per capita federal grants,” said Florida TaxWatch President and CEO Dominic M. Calabro. “It is clear that Florida is hardly receiving its fair share and the state should explore every avenue to maximize federal funding and improve equity in grant distribution.”
There are numerous factors as to why Florida ranks so low in per capita federal grants. One is Florida has lower than average state spending, and this can affect federal matching funds. Internally, the state could become more effective and proactive in maximizing the drawdown of federal funds within our current spending framework. In addition, the formulas used to calculate distribution of grants also negatively impact Florida. The report states that these formulas often use outdated population data to determine how funds are allocated.
Because of these factors, the state misses out on millions of federal funds and this is extremely glaring when looking at transportation funding for the state. The Federal Highway Trust Fund, used to fund transportation projects in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories, is distributed based on formulas, resulting in Florida receiving only 26 percent of its funding for transportation from the federal government, one of the lowest percentages in the nation.
“In order for Florida’s economy to grow and to remain as one of the top tourism destinations in the country, we must receive equitable federal funding for transportation projects,” said Florida Transportation Builders Association President Bob Burleson. “Ensuring our roadways and other transportation infrastructure is properly maintained is crucial to the growth of our state and closing the grant deficit would go a long way in funding these projects.”
The full report can be read here.