Statement of Theresa A. Gullo, Chief, State and Local Government, Cost Estimates Unit, Budget Analysis Division, Congressional Budget Office on: How States Budget and Plan for Emergencies
CONGRESSIONAL BUDGET OFFICE (U S CONGRESS) WASHINGTON DC
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This report discusses how states budget and plan for emergencies, in particular, natural disasters. To support this testimony, the Congressional Budget Office CBO conducted a survey of states and collected data from the National Association of State Budget Officers NASBO, the National Emergency Management Association NEMA, and the Council of State Governments CSG. Based on that information, CBO concludes that the majority of states have procedures for funding disaster assistance programs that parallel current federal practices. Like the federal government, state legislatures typically appropriate small sums to emergency-response accounts annually. When a disaster occurs, governors declare a state of emergency and request a supplemental appropriation from the legislature. In that way, state legislatures tend to maintain control over the total amount spent for disasters, while governors are given the discretion to decide how and when that money is spent. In another approach, some governors declare an emergency and then borrow unobligated funds from other accounts without first getting legislative approval. Even when governors have that authority, they usually have access only to funds that have already been appropriated by the legislature.
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