At what point does the funding become funny money?

April 5, 2011 6:00 am

by Obi's Sister

Via Shannon McCaffrey/AP: Georgia is changing the way domestic violence programs are funded.

Georgia is set to eliminate all state money for domestic violence programs, replacing it with federal funds that some advocates say will limit the services shelters for battered women can provide.

Officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have raised questions about the proposal from Gov. Nathan Deal to use some $4.4 million in federal welfare money — Temporary Assistance for Needy Families or TANF — to fund domestic violence shelters, according to memos and e-mails obtained by The Associated Press through an open records request.

But the state is pressing forward with the plan anyway. It’s included in budget proposals that have passed both the House and the Senate. The chambers are working out differences in the spending plans before sending them to Deal’s desk for his signature.

HHS are the same folks who are trying to get their heads around Obamacare by issuing 1,168 waivers (to date) to mostly Democratic campaign friends and relations. Quibbles over annual coverage maximums are a far cry from a shelter being closed and/or underfunded to the point that a terrorized woman loses her life.

Alan Essig of the non-partisan Georgia Budget and Policy Institute said the rationale the state is using to justify the use of the TANF funds for the shelters “sounds like a stretch.”

And he said the state appears to be crossing its fingers that by the time federal officials rule on the funds, Georgia’s revenue picture will have improved.

What comforting words for a woman seeking shelter from abuse – “We’re keeping our fingers crossed that the shelter will even be open tonight, you know how all that federal funny money can be…”

Swapping out state funds for federal money may look good on paper to panicked budgeteers, but in real life it is a disservice to the women of Georgia.

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