Workforce Investment Act: Interim Report on Status of Spending and States' Available Funds Page: 4 of 29
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seven of the states, along with officials at Labor headquarters, five regions,
and four national associations. In selecting the states, we focused
primarily on those with the larger WIA allocations. These states were
geographically dispersed, included states with single and multiple
workforce areas, and represented a range of expenditure rates and
experience levels in implementing WIA. In selecting local areas, we chose
from among the largest local areas in the state. We conducted our work
from April to August 2002 in accordance with generally accepted
government auditing standards.
On August 15 and 22, 2002, we briefed your staffs on the results of our
analysis. This report formally conveys the information provided during
In summary, we found that Labor does not have accurate information on
states' WIA spending due to reporting inconsistencies-all states do not
report expenditures or commitments in the same way. Lacking accurate
information on funds that have been committed by the states and local
areas, Labor overestimates the funds that states have available to spend.
Even if expenditures are understated, however, Labor's data show that
WIA funds are being spent within the authorized 3-year timeframe. In fact,
as of March 31, 2002, states had spent essentially all of their program year
1999 funds within the 3 years allowed, and 83 percent of their program
year 2000 funds in under 2 years.
To determine how states manage their spending, Labor has established its
own spending benchmarks, using them to assess whether states are on
track with their spending, to target technical assistance, and to formulate
budget requests. However, some state officials told us they did not
understand why Labor assessed spending based on these annual
benchmarks when states had three years in which to spend their funds.
Moreover, the benchmarks were often not communicated to the states. In
addition, some state officials remained confused by some of the financial
reporting requirements because Labor's guidance and assistance has not
been clear and definitive.
Several factors affect when expenditures occur or are reported. State
officials told us that cumbersome processes to get approval to spend
funds, lengthy contract procurement procedures, and untimely billing by
key services providers, especially community colleges, all delayed the
timing of expenditures, sometimes by as much as 3 to 8 months.
Fluctuations in funding levels also affected many states' and local areas'
willingness to commit funds for the long term and inhibited their ability to
GAO-02-1074 Workforce Investment Act
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United States. General Accounting Office. Workforce Investment Act: Interim Report on Status of Spending and States' Available Funds, report, September 5, 2002; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc291144/m1/4/: accessed October 16, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.