The Legislature passed S.B. 47, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, during its 2015 General Session. The bill removes the previous exemption for the Department of Workforce Services (DWS) for Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) funds from the state's Federal Funds Procedures Act by requiring that DWS now report one-time TANF requests greater than $1.0 million over the amount most recently approved by the Legislature. The Legislature also approved intent language requiring DWS to provide to the Office of the Legislative Fiscal Analyst a detailed report on its TANF reserve amount, including the current balance and any uses of the reserve since the 2015 General Session or planned and projected uses of the reserve in the future. DWS will also report on these additional one-time TANF projects to both the Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee and the Executive Appropriations Committee during the 2015 interim.
The Department of Workforce Services administers the federal TANF program - a flexible funding source for states to assist needy families. The ongoing TANF block grant base budget for FY 2015 is $68 million. During the 2014 General Session, DWS indicated it had $107 million in excess TANF spending authority. This additional spending authority is referred to as TANF reserve. In response, the Legislature reviewed numerous potential uses of this TANF reserve and eventually authorized $17.3 million during its 2014 General Session for 12 programs that qualified by meeting one of the four specified TANF purposes.
The Legislature also approved intent language directing DWS to proceed with identifying other uses of its TANF reserve. DWS identified an additional $51.5 million in TANF uses and reported these items to the 2014 interim Social Services Appropriations Subcommittee. Subsequently, DWS estimated a $29 million increase in its TANF reserve for one-time collaborative TANF projects involving the divisions of Child and Family Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health, and Juvenile Justice Services in the Department of Human Services, as well as other collaborative projects at the departments of Health and Corrections, and Salt Lake County. Additional details on TANF funds in Utah and plans for future spending can be found at: