Texas – April 23, 2009

Use of Funds

An estimated 90 percent of fiscal year 2009 Recovery Act funding provided to states and localities 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 approximately $1.45 billion in increased FMAP grant awards to Texas.
  • As of April 1, 2009, the state has drawn down about $665.7 million, or 46 percent, of its initial increased FMAP grant awards.
  • Texas officials noted that the funds made available as a result of the increased FMAP will allow the state to maintain the program's level of service and eligibility standards in fiscal year 2009.

Transportation—Highway Infrastructure Investment

  • Texas was apportioned about $2.25 billion for highway infrastructure investments on March 2, 2009, by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • As of April 16, 2009, the U.S. Department of Transportation had obligated $533.7 million for 159 projects in Texas.
  • According to Texas Department of Transportation officials, the department is scheduled to receive bids in April 2009 on 137 contracts that would total approximately $400 million in Recovery Act funds.
  • Texas will request reimbursement from the U.S. Department of Transportation as the state makes payments to contractors.

U.S. Department of Education State Fiscal Stabilization Fund

  • Texas was allocated about $2.66 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 Texas officials, the state's application likely would not be submitted before the state legislature (which is in session until June 1, 2009) has finalized an appropriation for public and higher education.
  • Texas officials indicated that the state plans to use its allocated federal funds to assist in continuing the historical levels of support for elementary, secondary, and higher education in the state. Education Agency officials said funds could be used, for example, to support efforts related to assessing school performance, teacher incentives, and teacher equity. Higher education officials anticipate using the funds to mitigate tuition and fee increases; support modernization, repair, and renovation of facilities; and provide incentive funding based on degrees awarded.

Texas is receiving additional Recovery Act funds under other programs, such as programs under Title I, Part A of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA), commonly known as No Child Left Behind; programs under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); two programs of the U.S. Department of Agriculture—one for the administration of the Temporary Food Assistance Program and one for competitive equipment grants targeted to low income districts from the National School Lunch program; housing programs, including weatherization assistance; and justice assistance grants. The status of plans for using selected funds is discussed throughout this appendix.

Safeguarding & TransparencyBack to top

To help ensure accountability and transparency, the Texas legislature's forthcoming general appropriations act—expected to be passed by June 2009 to function as the state's fiscal 2010-2011 biennium budget—will have a provision for tracking Recovery Act funds allocated to the state, according to the executive and legislative branch officials we contacted in Texas. To provide additional accountability and transparency, the Comptroller of Public Accounts has established a centralized budget account (with a unique funding code) for Recovery Act funds and has also established a Web page, www.window.state.tx.us/recovery, with links to www.recovery.gov/. To further help ensure accountability and transparency, Texas officials suggested that federal authorities provide concurrent notification to the state's key stakeholders—particularly the Office of the Governor, the Comptroller of Public Accounts, the State Auditor's Office, and the Legislative Budget Board[1] —when Recovery Act funds are periodically distributed to Texas agencies and/or localities. Also, Texas officials told us that despite U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) guidance, the increased FMAP funds the state has received through the Recovery Act, to date, have not been separately identified by the federal government.

Assessing the Effects of SpendingBack to top

Texas officials commented that—under the state's performance-based budgeting process—agencies already have measures in place for assessing the performance of programs. Officials also believe that the state's current monitoring and control processes and procedures are adequate to administer initiatives funded under the Recovery Act. The officials recognized, however, that some adjustments to performance measures may be needed for assessing the impact of Recovery Act funds.

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 Texas within the report, please see the following pages:
Appendix XVIII: Texas pages: 265 – 280
  • [1] According to state officials, the Legislative Budget Board is a permanent joint committee of the Texas legislature that develops budget and policy recommendations for legislative appropriations for all agencies of state government, as well as completes fiscal analyses for proposed legislation. The lieutenant governor and House speaker serve as co-chairs of the board. Other members include the chairs of the House Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. See www.lbb.state.tx.us
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Lorelei St James

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