Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986

Time Taken by States to Draw Down Formula Grant Funds Gao ID: GGD-89-78 June 2, 1989

In response to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the distribution of Anti-Drug Abuse Act formula grants, focusing on the: (1) length of time the Departments of Justice, Education, and Health and Human Services (HHS) took to award the grant funds to states; (2) length of time states took to draw down the funds; and (3) organizations to which states awarded the funds.

GAO found that: (1) the federal agencies responsible for administering the grant programs notified states of the available program funds within a month of the act's enactment; (2) the length of time the agencies took to issue final guidance to the states for applying and using grants varied; (3) Justice and Education simplified their 1988 fund application guidance to states, while HHS used virtually the same grant application requirements it used in 1987, but required one instead of two applications; (4) the agencies had made all of the 1988 awards by November 1988; (5) the New York grant awards process included a number of time-consuming steps and took up to twice as long as federal grant approval activities; (6) federal and state agencies' differing opinions on program implementation, state-required funds appropriation, and a temporary 3-month freeze on state-issued contracts contributed to the time New York took to apply for and receive the grant awards; and (7) because grant recipients are required to initiate drawdowns only when they actually need funds for disbursements, the drawdowns lag behind actual expenditures and understate the level of program activity initiated with grant funds.

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