Massive Federal Spending Bill: What Does it Mean for Counties?

Last week, Congressional leaders came to a bipartisan agreement that would fund the federal government through the end of the fiscal year in September. President Trump signed the $1.3 trillion spending package into law on Friday, March 23. The government staves off a potential shutdown in the interim and introduces a massive spending package for non-defense and defense spending.

This agreement represents the highest level of funding for the federal government since FY 2011, and includes a significant amount of funding for counties. This includes $10 billion in new funding for local infrastructure, a $2 billion increase in funding for battling the opioid epidemic, and billions in new funding for disaster relief.

However, the funding increases for counties are not limited to those areas. Almost every department at the federal level is going to receive an increase compared to FY 2017, and counties will be a beneficiary of those increases in a number of areas.

Other highlights for counties include:

  • $600 million for a rural broadband pilot program

  • $2.5 billion in highway funding

  • $400 million in grants for the Water and Waste Disposal Program, which is actually a $171 million cut from FY 2017

  • $7.7 billion in funds to HUD’s community planning and development programs, an $866 million increase. These funds aid local economic development.

From the National Association of Counties:

The FY 2018 omnibus spending package features several significant victories for county governments.

The legislation includes historic levels of funding for public lands counties, augments efforts to revitalize America’s infrastructure, boosts support for public health and the fight against the opioid epidemic, increases justice and mental health grants, strengthens counties’ ability to prepare for and respond to disasters and increases investments in elections security.”

For more details on the comprehensive omnibus spending bill, look at NACo’s full omnibus overview.

Useful Links:

Federal Government Spending Explorer