Florida – April 23, 2009

Use of Funds

An estimated 90 percent of Recovery Act funding provided to states and localities nationwide in fiscal year 2009 (through Sept. 30, 2009) will be for health, transportation and education programs. The three largest programs in these categories are the Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) awards, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund, and highways.

Medicaid Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) Funds

  • As of April 3, 2009, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) had made about $1.4 billion in increased FMAP grant awards to Florida.
  • As of April 1, 2009, Florida has drawn $817 million, or 58.6 percent of its increased FMAP grant awards to date.
  • From January 2008 to January 2009, the state's Medicaid enrollment increased from 2,151,917 to 2,391,569, with most enrollment changes attributable to two population groups: (1) children and families and (2) other individuals, including those with disabilities.
  • While funds are made available as a result of the increased FMAP, the state legislature is still determining how to make use of these funds.

Transportation—Highway Infrastructure Investment

  • Florida was apportioned about $1.3 billion for highway infrastructure investment on March 2, 2009, by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • As of April 16, 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation had not obligated any Recovery Act funds for Florida projects.
  • On April 1, 2009, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) prepared a final listing of potential Recovery Act funded projects and on April 15, 2009, the Florida Legislative Budget Commission approved the list of projects. The U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration must also approve the final listing of projects before the state can advertise bids for contracts.
  • These projects include activities such as resurfacing roads, expanding existing highways, repairing bridges and installing sidewalks.

U.S. Department of Education State Fiscal Stabilization Fund (Initial Release)

  • Florida was allocated about $1.8 billion from the initial release of these funds on April 2, 2009, by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • Before receiving the funds, states are required to submit an application that provides several assurances to the Department of Education. These include assurances that they will meet maintenance-of-effort requirements (or that they will be able to comply with waiver provisions) and that they will implement strategies to meet certain educational requirements, including increasing teacher effectiveness, addressing inequities in the distribution of highly qualified teachers, and improving the quality of state academic standards and assessments. According to Florida officials, Florida plans to apply for a waiver to obtain these funds after the Department of Education issues final instructions for waiver applications.

Florida is also receiving Recovery Act funds under other programs, such as programs under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 (ESEA) (commonly known as No Child Left Behind); programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and Workforce Investment Act employment and training programs. The status of plans for using these funds is described throughout this appendix.

Safeguarding & TransparencyBack to top

The Governor has created the Florida Office of Economic Recovery to oversee, track and provide transparency in how Recovery Act funds are spent. In addition, according to Florida officials, Florida's accounting system will be able to separately track the Recovery Act funds flowing through the state government. Florida plans to publicly report its Recovery Act spending on a state Web site. Florida state accountability organizations have identified areas where Recovery Act funds may be at greater risk of fraud, waste, and abuse, such as Medicaid, and have begun to collaborate in developing plans for oversight.

Assessing the Effects of SpendingBack to top

Florida state officials are in the early stages of developing plans to assess the effects of Recovery Act spending and told us that guidance from the federal government would be instrumental in developing their plans. On April 3, 2009, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) issued guidance indicating that it will be developing a comprehensive system to collect information, including jobs retained and created, on Recovery Act funds sent to all recipients. Florida state officials told us that they will ask OMB to allow the state to obtain data from this system on local entities in Florida that receive Recovery Act funds directly from federal agencies.

For More InformationBack to top

The above excerpts are taken from GAO's April 23, 2009 Bimonthly Review of the Recovery Act:

Recovery Act: As Initial Implementation Unfolds in States and Localities, Continued Attention to Accountability Issues Is Essential
GAO-09-580, April 23, 2009
For more information on Florida within the report, please see the following pages:
Appendix VI: Florida pages: 105 – 116
GAO Contact
portrait of of Andrew Sherrill

Andrew Sherrill

Director, Education, Workforce, and Income Security

sherrilla@gao.gov

(202) 512-7252