All federal grants have fallen by $1.8 billion (21 percent) since FY 2010 after adjusting for inflationView the Summary
See how austerity in the wake of the great recession has cost New York City $1.8 billion in federal grants over the past decade.View the Data
Federal Budget Recap — A Decade of Historical Disinvestment and Misplaced Priorities
Federal spending on low- to middle-income Americans is at historic lows in part as a result of post-Recession austerity, while the recently passed $1.5 trillion Tax Cut and Jobs Act for the powerful few and profitable corporations is being used by the bill’s proponents to justify deeper cuts to critical programs. Three developments since FY 2010 define the state of current federal spending: the 2011 Budget Control Act (BCA) and Sequestration, the 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA), and the 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA).
- The 2011 Budget Control Act and Sequestration: The BCA set caps on defense and nondefense discretionary funding through 2021 and further reduced funding over time through across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration on programs such as Head Start, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, Children (WIC), Social Services Grants, Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, and the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP). Starting in 2013, these caps were lowered when Congress failed to pass deficit reduction legislation as laid out in the BCA. While a series of short-term budget deals reduced the amount by which the caps were lowered, since 2010 non-defense discretionary programs overall have seen significant reductions.
- The 2018 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA): The TCJA has now widely been regarded as a $1.5 trillion giveaway to wealthy households and profitable corporations. In 2025, when the TCJA is fully phased in, lower- and middle-income groups in the bottom 60 percent (below $91,700 a year) will receive a $400 tax cut on average, while those in the top 0.1 percent (more than $4.7 million a year) will receive a pay out of $252,300. As predicted, corporate executives have been showered with stock buybacks while promises that the average worker would receive a $4,000 pay raise have not materialized. Unless overhauled, the TCJA will widen income inequality and strain spending for decades to come.
- The 2018 Bipartisan Budget Act (BBA): The BBA increased the BCA caps on non-defense discretionary spending by $63 billion in FY 2018 and $68 billion in FY 2019. It also extended direct spending on several health programs, provides a few narrow tax breaks, and raises the cap on non-defense appropriations. As a result, significant investments were made in the 2018 omnibus spending bill (a bill spanning multiple budget areas, not used in current budget documents), such as Housing for Urban Development (HUD) and the Child Care and Development Block Grant (CCDBG). While the budget agreement began to reverse some of the BCA cuts, many areas remain funded below 2010 levels adjusted for inflation, and spending outside of Social Security and Medicare remain below a 40-year historical average and is projected to decline further.
These developments clearly demonstrate that Congress has only selectively expressed concern about deficits. Funds have flowed to a variety of interests, such as tax cuts for profitable corporation, the extraction of fossil fuels, military conflict, housing subsidies the nation’s wealthiest households, and a flawed criminal justice system. But our federal budget has neglected to prioritize our mothers, children, friends, families, and neighbors. It has deprioritized the need for a trained workforce, the prevention and treating of illness, ensuring that working people can feed their families, and that older adults can retire in dignity. In a nation rich in resources, it is not a question of how to pay for the things most Americans want; it is a matter of prioritization.
Consequences in NYC of Federal Disinvestment and Misplaced Priorities
All Federal Grants
FPWA analysis of NYC CAFR data. FPWA’s analysis of all federal grants excludes American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) spending following the Great Recession and Disaster Relief, such as for Hurricane Sandy, to reflect the federal government’s longer-term spending intent. See more charts on Tableau and/or download the data
Social Services Grants
Take Action: Federal Disinvestment and Misplaced Priorities Matter to All New Yorkers
Importantly, NYC’s historic commitment to caring for people who are struggling to afford basic needs means that it is often left to fill the gaps when the federal government abdicates its responsibility. That is, the money that NYC spends on social services in the absence of sufficient federal support could be spent on other investments equally important to the City’s quality of life, such as transportation, safety, education, cultural institutions, and the environment.
- Government Shutdown: Email your member of Congress and ask them to pass a set of bills to fund the government that enjoy overwhelming bipartisan support in both chambers — not hold the government hostage for unrelated, anti-immigrant policies — before February 15.
- Census 2020: Join New York Census 2020 to make sure every New Yorker is counted in 2020.
- Public Charge: Join Protecting Immigrant Families to stop the proposed change to the Public Charge rule.