November, 1978 Home   Newsletters

December, 1978

January, 1979

General Meeting - Earth Resources
Have You Heard... What the League Did on Election Day?
Update: Federal Funds Committee (Barbara Farwell)
Media Workshop
Let's Earn $ for League

Update: Federal Funds Committee

One of Honolulu's major sources of federal money is General Revenue Sharing. This is "no-strings" money -- money that can be used for almost anything. The General Revenue Sharing Act was passed by Congress in 1972 after much controversy and compromise. President Nixon had pushed for revenue sharing as a decentralization of Big Government and a more efficient means of getting money to States than fragmented categorical grants.

The Act was limited to 5 years duration, and in 1976 was extended by another 3 years and 9 months. In the new Act several changes were made: 1) unlike the original, there were no provisions for specified yearly increases; 2) restrictions on use of funds were lifted; 3) revenue sharing money could now be used as matching funds for other grants; 4) state/local officials were barred from using GRS funds for lobbying on GRS; 5) recipient governments would have to develop procedures to increase public input into use of funds; 6) the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations (ACIR) was directed to conduct a 3-year study of revenue sharing. How much revenue sharing money a state or local government receives depends on population and tax effort; it is an automatic payment.

Honolulu has used its general revenue sharing money almost entirely in the areas of public safety, highways and streets, recreation and culture, public transportation, environmental protection, and more recently, on "multi-purpose and general government." Expenditures have been for both capital improvements and operating and maintenance expenses.

Citizen participation was built into the revenue sharing act by requiring certain public hearings; however, these hearings may be combined with general budget hearings. This is one area your committee is investigating: who is deciding where Honolulu's $15 million in revenue sharing is going, and are citizens participating in these decisions?

The impact of revenue sharing will be seen in citizen participation, in whether tax pressures have been eased, and if it has prevented the reduction/elimination of services and increased taxes.

Barbara Farwell

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