TANF Hoarding, Continued

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A couple of 12 months in the past, we tried to shine the highlight on a federal program for households and kids referred to as TANF, Non permanent Help for Needy Households.  That program supplies help for struggling households and kids – however in a roundabout way.  The federal authorities doesn’t write checks to recipients straight.  Somewhat, it supplies block grants to the states, who then arrange their very own packages following federal tips and have a tendency to their very own.

Hawaii, Tennessee, and Maine have been referred to as out by the nonprofit newsroom ProPublica in 2022 for letting TANF cash collect mud in some darkish nook as a substitute of placing it to make use of serving to households and kids.  We adopted as much as see if something vital has modified since then.


In keeping with 2021 TANF monetary knowledge, which wasn’t out there on the time of our earlier article, not rather a lot modified.  The quantity of “unobligated stability” of the federal block grants for Hawaii, which was $364 million on the finish of the fiscal 12 months ending September 30, 2020, crept upward to $378 million on the finish of fiscal 2021.  As an example, listed below are the highest ten states with essentially the most in unobligated stability in 2021 as a share of the grant made out there to that state in 2021:

  2021 Award Unobligated Stability Ratio
TENNESSEE $190,891,768 $798,337,364 418%
HAWAII $98,578,402 $378,497,946 384%
OKLAHOMA $138,007,998 $333,671,323 242%
WYOMING $18,428,651 $25,429,612 138%
NEW HAMPSHIRE $38,394,141 $52,563,544 137%
ARKANSAS $63,281,802 $81,926,947 129%
DELAWARE $36,018,484 $41,844,427 116%
MISSISSIPPI $86,481,245 $97,906,266 113%
MONTANA $37,888,854 $41,650,619 110%
SOUTH DAKOTA $21,207,402 $23,311,045 110%

Supply:  U.S. Dept. of Well being and Human Providers, Workplace of Household Help.

Within the desk, Tennessee and Hawaii take the 2 prime spots.  Maine seems to have cleaned up its act, falling to twentieth within the record.  In idea, the Aloha State needs to be on its strategy to enhancing its rating, as we enacted a regulation final session (Act 237, Session Legal guidelines of Hawaii 2022) that permitted TANF funds for use for extra issues equivalent to offering further housing help subsidies.

Now we have all of this free cash.  Why aren’t we utilizing it to do some good?

And if that isn’t sufficient of a cause to spend the cash the Feds have given us, take into account this.  After we have been going via the pandemic, our good representatives in Washington allotted near a billion {dollars} to the states within the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.  Hawaii pulled down $4.2 million.  The formulation that Congress enacted for distributing the cash gave extra to states that spent their TANF cash on advantages to low-income households with youngsters.  That is simply one other instance of our authorities saying, “If you happen to don’t spend the cash we provide you with, then don’t count on us to provide you extra.”

Lawmakers, do you want more cash to do what must be finished?  After all you do.  Effectively, here’s a strategy to get some with out breaking much more Hawaii taxpayers’ backs.