In the final week of December, the House and Senate passed a $1.7 trillion FY2023 federal budget through September 30, 2023. President Biden signed the bill on December 29. Below are New Jersey-specific provisions and other provisions of interest to municipalities. Due to the length and breadth of information, this is the second of two blog posts. The first blog post focuses on New Jersey Specific Provisions; Transportation and Infrastructure; Healthcare; and Environment. This blog focuses on housing, community, and economic development; science and innovation; public safety and justice; finance services and general government; veterans; and community-directed spending.
Housing, Community, and Economic Development
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG): $3.3 billion for the CBDG to support community development activities to build stronger and more resilient communities.
- Choice Neighborhoods: The bill provides $350 million for the Choice Neighborhoods Initiative, the same as FY22. The Choice Neighborhoods program supports locally driven strategies that address struggling neighborhoods with distressed public or HUD-assisted housing through a comprehensive approach to neighborhood transformation.
- Public Housing: The bill provides a total of $8.51 billion for public housing, an increase of $64 million from FY22.
- Housing for the Elderly: The bill provides $1.08 billion for Section 202 housing for the elderly, including $120 million for service coordinators.
- Housing for Persons with Disabilities: The bill provides $360 million for Section 811 housing for persons with disabilities. In total, the increases to Sections 811 and 202 will provide housing for 2,910 new households.
- Housing Counseling Assistance: The bill provides $57.5 million for housing counseling assistance, unchanged from FY22.
- Financial Assistance for Home Heating: The Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) received $5 billion, $1.2 billion more than in FY22. The program provides financial assistance for home heating and cooling to low-income households, including those in New Jersey.
- Disaster Supplemental: The disaster supplemental includes $3 billion in Community Development Block Grants Disaster Recovery (CDBG-DR) for 2022 natural disasters. It also includes a $5 billion appropriation to the Disaster Relief Fund, which pays out for expenditures for FEMA individual assistance program. The Disaster Relief Fund also covers infrastructure repairs under FEMA’s Public Assistance program.
- NFIP Extension: Despite Sen. Menendez’s fight to reform the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), the omnibus only extends the program until September 30, 2023.
- Support for Disadvantaged Communities: The bill includes $800 million for RAISE Grants (formerly TIGER/BUILD), including not less than $20 million for grants to assist areas of persistent poverty and historically disadvantaged communities.
- Inclusive Zoning to Increase the Supply of Affordable Housing: The bill includes a new $85 million competitive grant program that will reward state, local, and regional jurisdictions that have made progress in improving inclusionary zoning practices, land use policies, and housing infrastructure that will ultimately increase the supply of affordable housing.
Science and Innovation
- CHIPS and Science Act: The bill provides $1.8 billion in new funding to implement the bipartisan CHIPS and Science Act of 2022. This includes $820 million in the CJS Appropriations bill and $980 million in supplemental funding to help jumpstart the initiative. The CHIPS and Science Act sets out an ambitious goal of doubling funding for science and technology programs by 2027 to help drive U.S. economic competitiveness.
Public Safety and Justice
- Community Violence Intervention: The bill provides a total of $50 million for community violence intervention programs.
- Recidivism Reduction: The bill provides a total of $35 million for programs to reduce recidivism rates for people reentering society.
- Reentry Programs and Research: The bill increases Second Chance Act funding from $115 million to $125 million to address a wide array of issues returning citizens face when reentering society after incarceration, including substance abuse treatment, mental health services, job training, and housing services.
- Public Defense: The bill provides $1.38 billion in funds for the operation of federal defender organizations to ensure adequate representation in federal court, an increase of nearly $39 million from FY22.
- Judicial Training Programs: The bill provides $22 million to the Department of Justice Office on Violence Against Women for grants to support families within the justice system, a 10% increase from FY22.
Financial Services and General Government
- Emergency Savings: The bill includes the bipartisan Emergency Savings Act, a bill to facilitate convenient and affordable access to workplace emergency savings accounts, improving financial security and reducing retirement leakage.
- Disaster Retirement Savings: The bill includes a provision that would allow for individuals to permanently be able to withdraw up to $22,000, per Stafford-declared disaster, from an employer-sponsored retirement plan or IRA without being subject to the normal 10% early distribution tax penalty. This provision would also allow the emergency distribution to spread over a taxpayer’s income over a three-year-period. This provision would be applied retroactive to January 26, 2021–the expiration date of the last Stafford-declared disaster that allowed for retirement plan distributions, thus allowing for coverage for Hurricane Ida.
- SBA Funding: The bill provides $1.22 billion for the Small Business Administration, which is $188 million more than fiscal year 2022. That includes $320 million for entrepreneurial development grants, which is $30 million above the 2022, including $140 million for small business development centers, $27 million for women’s business centers, and $41 million for microloan technical assistance. It also increased funding for SBA’s growth accelerators from $3 million to $10 million, to stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship across the country.
- Minority Business: The bill provides $70 million for the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) to help minority-owned businesses grow and succeed and to implement the new programs authorized in the Minority Business Development Agency Act, which passed as part of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act. This is an increase of $15 million, or 27%, above the fiscal year 2022 enacted level.
- Data on Child Poverty: The bill includes a program to create more frequent and timely measures of poverty, including child poverty. The bill also included funding to support these frequent and timely measures of material hardship, including measures focused on children and families. Currently, the U.S. Census Bureau releases poverty estimates annually and with a significant lag; further, this data can fail to capture the full scope of hardship and deprivation children and families confront. These changes will help us better understand child poverty and child wellbeing in real time.
- Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) Sites: The bill provides $11 million for the Tax Counseling for the Elderly Program and $40 million for the Community Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which help low- and moderate-income individuals and families nationwide comply with their tax obligations and maximize their returns and savings. Worker Protection Programs: The bill makes important investments in agencies that help workers receive the pay they earn; ensures that employers provide safe and healthful working conditions; and strengthens trading partner commitments to comply with labor rights under free trade agreements and preference programs.
- The Wage and Hour division receives $260 million, an increase of $9 million. Wage and Hour recovers wages for workers that do not receive the pay to which they are entitled, which on average amounted to $1,212 for each of the 193,349 workers assisted by the agency in 2021.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) receives $632 million, an increase of $20 million. OSHA works to ensure that employers are following the law and providing safe and healthful workplaces for their employees.
The bill includes an increase of $25 million for the National Labor Relations Board, which administers and enforces the National Labor Relations Act and protects employee and employer rights under the law.
The bill also establishes critical worker protections through the Pregnant Worker Fairness Act, a bill to provide expecting and new moms with temporary, reasonable accommodations to avoid devastating health complications and to support their families and ensure they are not fired or forced off the job, and the Providing Urgent Maternal Protections (PUMP) For Nursing Mothers Act, a bill expanding worker protections for nursing workers.
- Department of Veterans Affairs: The bill provides the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) and related agencies $135.2 billion in non-defense discretionary funding, as well as $168.6 billion in mandatory funding, to fulfill our obligations to our nation’s veterans. This is $34 billion above fiscal year 2022 levels. This includes $118.7 billion for VA medical care in fiscal year 2023, a $21.7 billion or 22.4% increase over fiscal year 2022. $5 billion is included in the Cost of War Toxic Exposures Fund, which will be used to implement the Promise to Address Comprehensive Toxics (PACT) Act.
The budget bill also included Community Directed Spending by Members of Congress. New Jersey received $181 million for dozens of projects throughout the state, detailed in comprehensive lists released by Senator Bob Menendez and Senator Cory Booker.
Contact: Paul Penna, Senior Legislative Analyst, email@example.com or 609-695-3481, x110.