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May 2009

GAO Tracks States Use of Stimulus Funds

Under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the Government Accountability Office (GAO) was tasked with the important role of monitoring accountability and transparency and ensuring that these funds are used as specified.[1]  In that vain, the GAO recently released a report, “Recovery Act: As Initial Implementation Unfolds in States and Localities, Continued Attention to Accountability Issues Is Essential,”  a first in a series of reports coming out of the GAO that will examine how states and localities are using ARRA funding. The GAO will be conducting a longitudinal analysis following a group of 16 states—Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Texas, and the District of Columbia—to assess their use of the ARRA funds over several years. This group will receive approximately two-thirds of the funds available under ARRA. Of the funds expected to be spent by states, approximately two-thirds will be primarily dedicated to increases in Medicaid Federal Medicaid Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funding. Among the preliminary findings, the GAO found that while states are making great strides to oversee the management and use of stimulus funds, for many it is a challenge as a result of declines in staff and general confusion regarding what they should be tracking. States are also concerned with the lack of funding provided through ARRA for accountability and oversight.

Stay tuned for GAO’s bimonthly reviews on this complex issue on the GAO web site