Brookings Mountain West presents “Capitalizing in the Nation’s Capital: Matching State and Regional Resources to Administration Funding Priorities” a talk by John Hudak, Fellow, Governance Studies.
This presentation explores the relationship between the funding and policy priorities established by presidential administrations and the financial resources provided to individual states and regions. Information gathered from a newly compiled database of all federal project grants from 1996-2008 helps illuminate the distribution of money across the 50 states. These data are complemented by field research in federal and state bureaucracies. Would you be surprised to learn that the executive branch delivers more money and grants to swing states than all other states? Furthermore, the proximity of a presidential election further enhances this preference to deliver funds to swing states. In addition, presidents target funds to specific issues and project ideas/themes in ways that have clear geographic distributional effects. The paper concludes that presidential electoral interest drives the distribution of federal funds and that states—and particularly states in the Intermountain West region—can capitalize on these policy forces in ways that assist state and local economies.