State Grant Transparency and Accountability Act

Summary

The collection and reporting on the use of public grants is an important tool for properly stewarding tax dollars.  The purpose of this Act is to improve transparency and accountability in the state grant making process by creating a publicly accessible web portal containing categorized expenditure information detailing the use of a state grant.  The bill would set compliance requirements for grant recipients and provide probation and suspension remedies for noncompliance.

State Grant Transparency and Accountability Act

Summary

The collection and reporting on the use of public grants is an important tool for properly stewarding tax dollars. The purpose of this Act is to improve transparency and accountability in the state grant

making process by creating a publicly accessible web portal containing categorized expenditure information detailing the use of a state grant. The bill would set compliance requirements for grant recipients and provide probation and suspension remedies for noncompliance.

Model Policy Section 1. {Purpose}
The State Department charged with overseeing State grants, within 12 months after the effective date of this Act, shall establish grant data standards and maintain a website, known as the State Transparency and Accountability Portal (STAP) overseen by a Chief Grants Manager, containing a publicly accessible database with information received from all State agencies as defined in this Act.

Section 2. {Definitions}

(A) “State agency” means the offices of the constitutional officers identified in the state constitution, executive agencies, and departments, boards, commissions, Authorities under the Governor.

(B) “Chief Grants Manager” means an employee of the “State agency” that will act as a single point of contact to help avoid duplicate applications submitted by different state agencies and avoid duplication of grant awards made by different state agencies. .

(C) “Grants manager” means an employee of the “State agency” that reports to the “Chief Grants Manager” and manages grant applications and analysis for the “State agency.”

(D) “Grants,” or “Grants of State funds” means payment obligations awarded by the State and which is funded directly by State revenues rather than a federal program. All state issued grants require approval from the chief grants manager.

(E) “Grant data standards” means

(A) That grantors and grantees will use a statewide grant data taxonomy that mirrors the federal GREAT Act regarding grants data standards as much as possible.
(B) That grantors and grantees will use the standard “chart of accounts” for program purposes.
(C) That the data reported by grantees to the Chief Grants Manager should reflect the success or failure of a grant relative to its stated goal, or “performance metrics.”
(D) That the data reported by the grantees and grantor to and by the Chief Grants Manager will be reported using a machine-readable format.

(E) The grant should have a unique identifier so that the Chief Grants Manager is able to track grant applications submitted by state agencies, as well as all ongoing grants awarded to state agencies.

(F) “Grantee,” or “Grant recipients” means individual or entity awarded a grant of State funds.

(G) “Grant System” means the preferred statewide grant management software, financial accounting and budgeting software selected by the state government

Section 3. {Grantee data collection.}

(A) As soon as possible after the effective date of this Act, the Department shall develop a statewide grant data taxonomy, a uniform chart of accounts for program purposes, and select a preferred statewide grant system. For entities that receive more than 60% of their total revenue from grant funding, the state will require that recipients use the grant system. Beginning {insert date} the Chief Grant Officer will collect and organize the standardized grantee financial and performance data for the State Transparency and Accountability Portal. This statewide grant data taxonomy shall take into account federal grant data standards published by the US Office of Management and Budget (OMB) pursuant to OMB’s Memo M-18-24, and also those federal grant data standards established pursuant to the Grant Reporting Efficiency and Agreements Transparency Act of 2018 (the GREAT Act), should it be signed into law.

(B) The uniform chart of accounts, using the grant data standards developed by the Department, of each grantee shall provide for the remittance of the following information to the Department not later than 30 days after the first disbursement of funds under that grant:

(1) the name, mailing address, e-mail address, phone number, and fax number of the individual or entity that was awarded grant of State funds;

(2) in the case of an entity, its tax identification number, the dates when its fiscal year begins and ends, the name and title of its contact person, the uniform resource locator (URL) for its website, and a classification of the amount of its funding that comes from each of the following categories: federal governmental sources, state governmental sources, local governmental sources, and other sources of funding; and (3) a succinct statement of the goals to be achieved through the award of the State grant funds.

(2) A completed grant application if one was required by the State agency

(3) In the case of a tax-exempt entity, a copy of its publicly filed and publicly disclosed IRS form 990, excluding Schedule B.

(D) The standardized grantee performance reporting form developed by the State Agency shall provide for the reporting of the following information:

(1) The outcomes aimed for and achieved by the State-funded grant program (stated in a manner that expressly quantifies the public benefits resulting from the use of public moneys) since the date the State grant was awarded or the date the form was last filed by the recipient for that program, whichever is later;

(2) an assessment of the total and unit costs incurred to achieve the stated outcomes since the date the State grant was awarded or the date the form was last filed by the recipient for that program, whichever is later; and

(3) The uniform chart of accounts for grantee program activities will account for, and is not limited to, each of the following categories of expenses. Program outcome categories must reflect the stated program outcome goals. Grantees must report their expenditures since the date the State grant was awarded or the date the form was last filed by the recipient for that program, whichever is later:

(A) personnel;

(B) contractual services;

(C) office supplies and materials;

(D) service-related supplies;

(E) travel;

(F) communications and postage;

(G) utilities;

(H) printing and binding;

(I) repair and maintenance;

(J) meeting and conference expenses;

(K) non-travel related employee training expenses;

(L) classified advertising;

(M) office rental;

(N) furniture rental;

(O) equipment rental;

(P) vehicle rental;

(Q) dues and subscriptions;

(R) insurance and bonding;

(S) books and reference materials;

(T) mortgage principal, interest, and bank fees;

(U) buildings and improvements;

(V) leasehold improvements;

(W) services other than contractual services;

(X) stipends, scholarships, bonuses, and grants;

(Y) food; and

(Z) any other expenses.

(E) Each recipient of a grant of State funds exceeding $10,000 shall report the above in a machine- readable, format.

(F) When a State grant making Agency requires the grant recipient to report performance data, such performance data shall be reported in a machine-readable format. Further, wherever feasible, such performance data shall be drawn directly from the originating source system.

(G) Each recipient of a grant of State funds shall accurately complete their chart of accounts in compliance with the grant data standards for each grant of State funds awarded on or after {insert date} and shall submit a copy of the completed form to the Department not later than 3 months after the last day of each fiscal year of the grantee during which State grant funds are received.

Section 4. {Grantee information reporting.}

(A) The State agency shall publish a copy of the grantees chart of accounts and performance metrics in the publicly available online portal no later than 30 days after receipt.

(B) If a recipient of a State grant awarded on or after {insert date} fails to comply with subsection (c) or
(e) of Section 3, then that grant recipient shall be placed on a publicly available non-compliance list, which shall be maintained on the Department’s STAP website and updated by the Department on a

monthly basis. If that grant recipient remains on the non-compliance list for more than 2 months, then it shall be placed on a publicly available suspension of funding list, which shall also be maintained on the Department’s STAP website and updated by the Department on a monthly basis. Once a grant recipient’s name appears on the suspension of funding list, no disbursements of State grant funds shall be made to that grant recipient and no State grants may be awarded to that grant recipient until such time as the grant recipient reestablishes compliance. The Department shall maintain a searchable archive of suspension of funding lists.

(C) Each grant agreement entered into between a State agency and a grant recipient on or after {insert date} shall contain provisions that are consistent with the requirements of this Act.

Section 5. {Grant management.}

(A) The Governor shall designate a Chief Grants Manager.

(B) Within 24 months following passage of this Act, only a Certified Grants Manager may accept a grant on behalf of the State, or approve the award of a grant made by the state.

(C) The Chief Grants Manager shall establish a clear policy directive to define and prevent, or mitigate, conflicts of interest in connection with grant application review, award and oversight.

(D) Each State Agency that receives grants (e.g., from a Federal, non-profit, or commercial source) shall gather data needed to evaluate the Agency’s success in obtaining grants.

(E) Each entity that receives a State grant shall use a grant management, accounting and budgeting software tool from a list that has been identified and approved by the Chief Grants Manager [or a tool that is provided by the State].

Section 6. {Transparency of budget, revenue and spend.}

(A) The State Transparency and Accountability Portal (STAP) shall:

(1) Present both budget plan and actual spend financial data for each state agency and program, in an easy-to-compare format. This data shall be presented in formats that are useful to target audiences, including citizens/taxpayers, media, vendors, financial analysts within the government, and independent auditors.
(2) Present both actual spend and actual revenue data, in an easy-to-compare format.

(3) Present all spend data, including purchases, contracts, grants, interest on debt, future obligations (and changes in their value), and tax expenditures.

(4) Provide checkbook-level transactional data for actual revenue and actual spend.

(5) Present financial information in a format that is easily searchable, and downloadable at no charge in a machine readable XBRL format.

(B) The Governor shall annually provide to each taxpayer a taxpayer “receipt” that shows the major programs on which the State spends, and the proportion or amount of taxes paid by that taxpayer which support each of those major programs.

Section 7. {Severability clause.} Section 8. {Repealer clause.} Section 9. {Effective date.}
This Act takes effect upon becoming law.

Adopted by the Tax and Fiscal Policy Task Force at the Spring Task Force Summit May 3, 2013.

Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors, August 5, 2013.

Reapproved by the ALEC Board of Directors, May 24, 2018.

Approved by the ALEC Board of Directors, August 5, 2013.

Reapproved by the ALEC Board of Directors, May 24, 2018.

Re-approved by the ALEC Board of Directors, December 26, 2018.