Block and Categorical Grants
Based on your readings for this week, compare and contrast a Block Grant and a Categorical Grant. Evaluate which grant is most useful in terms of law enforcement operations? Why?
Today there are more than 1,100 different federal aid programs for the states, with each program having its own rules and regulations. The system is a complicated mess, and it is getting worse all the time.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. Under the U.S. Constitution, the federal government was assigned specific, limited powers and most government functions were left to the states. To ensure that people understood the limits on federal power, the nation’s founders added the Constitution’s Tenth Amendment: “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”
The Tenth Amendment embodies federalism, the idea that federal and state governments have separate areas of activity and that federal responsibilities were “few and defined,” as James Madison noted. Historically, federalism acted as a safeguard of American freedoms. President Ronald Reagan noted in a 1987 executive order, “Federalism is rooted in the knowledge that our political liberties are best assured by limiting the size and scope of the national government.”1
– See more at: http://www.downsizinggovernment.org/fiscal-federalism#sthash.ulhRJS91.dpuf
Money plays a key role when it comes to I the federal government and it’s relationship with the state. The one who finds the states is congress, and they stipulate how the funds can be used. This is to make sure the states cooperate with federal polices. The states have relied on federal money since World War II. “The national government has also relied on the states to administer some federal policies, a practice called fiscal federalism” (Sparknotes, 2015). The term used for giving money to the states for a particular purpose is called grants-in-aid.
Grants are funds which are non-repayable usually paid out by a grant maker often the government to a recipient which is usually a nonprofit entity for example educational institution. There are usually two types of grants which are block grants and categorical grants. Block grants given by the government usually are discreet since the local government is at free will on how they would want to use the grants provided. These grants usually are not given for a specific purpose since the party receiving the grants has the choice of how to use the grants.
Block grants are usually not competitive which hence give the local government an opportunity to choose on the projects which will be funded with the money. In another case, categorical grants are only used for specific purposes which are usually stated by the federal government. These type of grants are used to fund on specific projects and the local government has no option of choice. Due to this fact, the categorical grants are usually very competitive. Local governments and organizations usually must apply for the grants and there after the federal government will choose on were to allocate the grants (Frekos, 2011).
Block grants are more advantageous since they will usually allow local governments to have a choice on where they would like to allocate the grants. The local governments are at a better position to identify were they would like the grants to be spent.
In another case categorical grants might be advantageous since the federal government gets to allocate the grants in consideration of the merits hence choose worthy applicants. When the local government is given block grants, it might also lead to the waste of the grants since there is no regulation (National Center for Early Defibrillation, 2010).
Categorical grants may also be disadvantageous since the federal government may not always have an idea as to how much each project should consume. I think that the categorical grant is more useful in law enforcement. This is due to the fact that the grants that are been provided each will be accounted for hence there will be no waste nor will the grants be mismanaged in any way since the federal government gives out their specifications.
In several nations, there are strict processes and procedures in place that make it attainable to audit the utilization of the grant cash, and confirm it’s really going on to those approved.
Dilger, R. J., & Boyd, E. (2014, July 15). Block Grants: Perspectives and Controversies. Retrieved from fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R40486.pdf
Frekos, B. (2011). Law enforcement officials eye budget cuts. Star-News. Document ID: 2307287991.
National Center for Early Defibrillation, (2010). Funding Your AED Program. Retrieved from: http://www.early-defib.org/03_06_05.html
SparkNotes: Federalism: Federalism in Practice. (2015). Retrieved from www.sparknotes.com › … › Home › SparkNotes › Federalism – Similar
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