LINCOLN, Neb. – When it comes to the $787 billion in federal stimulus money flowing from Washington to the states, it will cost money to spend money.
Nebraska’s governor’s office told lawmakers it expects to spend more than $1.2 million over two years to oversee disbursement of about $1.5 billion Nebraska stands to receive in federal stimulus funds.
Other states are in similar straits. But Washington – at least for now – isn’t handing out money for states to hire auditors and accountants, and the stimulus law requires stringent reporting from states to ensure transparency.
“I don’t really have a good solution of where to come up with the money,” the Nebraska governor’s chief of staff, Larry Bare, told lawmakers this week on the Appropriations Committee.
States across the country are asking how they’re supposed to oversee the disbursement of billions of dollars intended to boost the economy with no budget to do so.
“The administration has been working with state officials to tackle the oversight challenges that they are facing,” said Tom Gavin, a spokesman for the White House Office of Management and Budget.
As with all federal money distributed to states, government rules allow states to allocate a portion for administrative costs. But states are complaining that the money isn’t enough to cover the cost of increased oversight and reporting obligations.