An Overview of Federal Funding Levels and Selected Challenges

September 25, 2012

What GAO Found

Federal outlays for grants to state and local governments totaled more than $606 billion in fiscal year 2011. Over the last three decades, these grants have consistently been a significant component of federal spending, but the focus of this spending has changed over time. For example, during this period the proportion of federal outlays to state and local governments dedicated to Medicaid grants more than tripled, rising from 2.4 percent of total federal government outlays in 1980 to 7.6 percent in 2011. The increase in federal outlays for Medicaid and other health-related grant programs was offset by an approximately equivalent decrease in grants to state and local governments targeted for other areas such as transportation, education, and regional development.

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