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Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis
     DOL Home > Federal Register > By Agency > VETS
VETS Proposed Rules

Funding Formula for Grants to States   [6/11/2010]
[PDF]
FR Doc 2010-13870
[Federal Register: June 11, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 112)]
[Proposed Rules]               
[Page 33203-33205]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr11jn10-16]                         


[[Page 33203]]

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DEPARTMENT OF LABOR

Veterans' Employment and Training Service

20 CFR Part 1001

RIN 1293-AA17

 
Funding Formula for Grants to States

AGENCY: Veterans' Employment and Training Service (VETS).

ACTION: Advance notice of proposed rulemaking; request for comments.

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SUMMARY: In this advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM), VETS is 
requesting comments, including data and other information, on issues 
related to the funding formula applicable to the Jobs for Veterans 
State Grants that are administered by VETS as authorized by 38 U.S.C. 
4102A(b)(5). The funding formula for these grants is governed by 38 
U.S.C. 4102A(c) (2) (B) and 20 CFR part 1001, subpart F.
    VETS plans to consider the information received in response to this 
notice in deciding whether or not to propose changes to those aspects 
of the funding formula that are within the Secretary's discretion.

DATES: Submit comments in response to this ANPRM by September 9, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Submit comments as follows:
     Federal e-Rulemaking Portal: Submit comments 
electronically at http://www.regulations.gov. Follow the Web site 
instructions for submitting comments.
     Fax: Commenters may fax submissions, including attachments 
that are no longer than 10 pages in length, to Gordon Burke, at (202) 
693-4755. VETS does not require hard copies of these documents.
     Regular mail, express delivery, hand (courier) delivery, 
and messenger service: Written comments, disk, and CD-ROM submissions 
may be mailed or delivered by hand delivery/courier to The Veterans' 
Employment and Training Service, U.S. Department of Labor, 200 
Constitution Avenue, NW., Room S-1325, Washington, DC 20210. Note that 
security procedures may result in significant delays in receiving 
comments and other written materials by regular mail. Therefore, in 
order to ensure that comments receive full consideration, VETS 
encourages the public to submit comments via http://www.regulations.gov 
as indicated above.
     Instructions: Please submit your comments by only one 
method. All submissions must include the Agency name (VETS) and the RIN 
for this rulemaking (i.e., RIN 1293-AA17). Submissions, including any 
personal information provided, are placed in the public docket without 
change and will be available online at http://www.regulations.gov. 
Therefore, VETS cautions commenters about submitting statements they do 
not want made available to the public, or submitting comments that 
contain personal information (either about themselves or others) such 
as Social Security numbers, birth dates, and medical data.
     Docket: To read or download submissions or other material 
in the docket go to http://www.regulations.gov. VETS will make all the 
comments it receives available for public inspection during normal 
business hours at the above address. If you need assistance to review 
the comments, VETS will provide you with appropriate aids such as 
readers or print magnifiers. VETS will make copies of the ANPRM 
available, upon request, in large print or electronic file on computer 
disk. VETS will consider providing the ANPRM in other formats upon 
request. To schedule an appointment to review the comments and/or 
obtain the ANPRM in an alternate format, contact the office of Gordon 
Burke at (202) 693-4730 (VOICE) (this is not a toll-free number) or 
(202) 693-4760 (TTY/TDD). You may also contact Mr. Burke's office at 
the address listed above.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Information regarding this ANPRM is 
available from Pamela Langley, Chief, Division of Grant Programs, 
Veterans' Employment and Training Service, U.S. Department of Labor, 
200 Constitution Avenue, NW., Room S-1312, Washington, DC 20210, 
Langley.Pamela@dol.gov, (202) 693-4708 (this is not a toll-free 
number).

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Table of Contents

I. Background
II. Request for Data, Information, and Comments
III. Authority and Signature

I. Background

    The Jobs for Veterans Act, enacted November 7, 2002, as Public Law 
107-288, amended DOL veterans program laws in 38 USC, chapters 41 and 
42, and requires the Secretary of Labor to make funds available to each 
State, upon approval of an ``application'' (i.e., a State Plan), to 
support the Disabled Veterans' Outreach Program (DVOP) and the Local 
Veterans' Employment Representative (LVER) Program. These two programs 
provide employment services to veterans and transitioning service 
members. 38 U.S.C. 4102A (b)(5). The annual formula grants to States 
for these programs are called the Jobs for Veterans State Grants 
(JVSGs).
    The statute requires that the amount of funding available to each 
State reflect the ratio of: (1) The total number of veterans residing 
in the State who are seeking employment; to (2) the total number of 
veterans seeking employment in all States (38 U.S.C. 
4102A(c)(2)(B)(i)(I) and (II)). Additionally, the statute permits the 
Secretary to establish: (a) Minimum funding levels; and, (b) hold-
harmless criteria; both of which have been included in the regulations. 
The minimum funding level seeks to assure small States of sufficient 
funds to support a basic level of services to veterans, while the 90 
percent hold-harmless applied since FY 2006 seeks to mitigate the 
impact upon States whose funding may be significantly affected by 
fluctuations in the data applied to calculate funding levels. 38 U.S.C. 
4102A(c)(B)(iii). The Secretary is authorized to establish by 
regulation the criteria, including civilian labor force and 
unemployment data, used to determine the funding levels. 38 U.S.C. 
4102A(c)(B)(i). The Secretary exercised this authority by promulgating 
regulations at 20 CFR Part 1001.
    This statutory formula was phased in over the fiscal years 2004 and 
2005. An Interim Final Rule was published on June 30, 2003 (68 FR 
39000), and a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking was published on July 6, 
2004 (69 FR 40724). The Final Rule (20 CFR part 1001, subpart F) was 
published on May 17, 2005 (70 FR 28406). The final rule establishes the 
funding formula required by the statute and can be viewed from the 
following link: http://www.dol.gov/vets/usc/20CFRPart1001SubpartF.pdf.
    A brief summary of the applicable sections of 20 CFR part 1001 is 
as follows:

Section 1001.150 Method of Calculating State Basic Grant Awards

     Explains how the number of veterans seeking employment is 
determined using civilian labor force data from the Current Population 
Survey (CPS) and unemployment data from the Local Area Unemployment 
Statistics (LAUS), both of which are compiled by DOL's Bureau of Labor 
Statistics.
     Specifies how each State's basic JVSG allocation is 
calculated.
     Identifies the procedures implemented if the actual 
appropriation is higher or lower than the projected appropriation, 
which provides the basis for estimating the basic grant allocation 
amount for each State.

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Section 1001.151 Other Funding Criteria

     Specifies that up to four percent of the amount available 
for allocation will be set aside to fund the Transition Assistance 
Program (TAP) and interventions that respond to exigent circumstances.
     Explains how TAP funding is allocated and distributed 
among the States.
     Identifies unusually high levels of unemployment and 
surges in the demand for transitioning services such as TAP workshops 
as examples of exigent circumstances.

 Section 1001.152 Hold-Harmless Criteria and Minimum Funding Level

     Specifies the 80 percent hold-harmless level that applied 
to the FY 2004 and FY 2005 phase-in period.
     Specifies the 90 percent hold-harmless level that applies 
from FY 2006 forward.
     Establishes the minimum funding level of 0.28 percent of 
the previous year's total funding for all States.
     Identifies the procedures followed if the amount 
appropriated does not provide sufficient funds to comply with the hold-
harmless provision.

II. Request for Data, Information, and Comments

    VETS is providing the following questions to facilitate the 
collection of pertinent information and to facilitate public comment on 
relevant issues. Commenters are encouraged to address any aspect of the 
funding formula discussed in the regulations quoted above. VETS 
requests that commenters provide a detailed response to questions, 
including a rationale or reasoning for the position taken or proposed. 
Also, relevant data that may be useful to VETS' deliberations or that 
may assist it in conducting an analysis of the impacts of future grant 
funding actions should be submitted. To assess the costs, a benefit, or 
feasibility of any possible regulatory change, VETS needs any specific 
quantitative information that the commenter can provide about the 
impact(s) of the recommended change(s) upon grantees. Therefore, for 
those recommendations involving specific funding formula changes, any 
data in terms of costs and benefits associated with the recommendation 
would be helpful. To assist in analyzing comments, VETS requests 
commenters to reference their responses to one or more specific 
questions by labeling each response with the question number.

A. Method of Calculating State Basic Grant Awards

    Under current regulations, three-year averages of the most recent 
available data on veterans in the civilian labor force from the CPS and 
data on the number unemployed from the LAUS have been used in 
calculating the funding formula to stabilize the effect of annual 
fluctuations in the data and thereby avoid undue fluctuations in the 
annual basic grant amounts allocated to States.
    1. Has the averaging approach accomplished the objective of 
stabilizing annual fluctuations in funding for the States?
    2. Has the averaging approach produced other positive or negative 
outcomes for the States?
    3. Are there compelling reasons to change the period of time 
involved in the averaging, e.g., to a longer or shorter period than the 
current three-year period?

The current regulations implement the statutory provisions by 
accounting for two key differences among the States: (a) Each State's 
proportion, relative to other States, of veterans in the civilian labor 
force (i.e., the segment of the veteran population involved in 
employment), and, (b) each State's proportion, relative to other 
States, of those unemployed (i.e., the severity of the economic 
conditions faced by veteran jobseekers).
    4. Are there economic factors other than unemployment, such as the 
cost of living or the average earnings level, which vary significantly 
among the States and could be considered for incorporation in the 
funding formula?
    5. Are there geographic differences among the States, such as the 
dispersion or concentration of veterans, which could be considered for 
incorporation in the funding formula? For example, are there additional 
expenses associated with outreach to specific populations of veterans, 
such as Native American veterans, homeless veterans, and/or 
incarcerated veterans that should be considered for incorporation in 
the funding formula?
    6. Are there characteristics of those veterans in need of services, 
such as the proportion of veterans with severe disabilities, the 
proportion of older veterans, or the proportion of economically 
disadvantaged veterans, which vary significantly among the States and 
could be considered for incorporation in the funding formula?
    7. For those commenters who suggest additional factors, in response 
to questions 4 through 6, are there generally recognized, empirically-
based measures of the suggested factors that could be considered for 
inclusion in a revised version of the funding formula?
    8. Should differences among States in the ability to expend annual 
grant funding be taken into consideration in the funding formula? Have 
some States been unable to expend their entire allocated grant funding, 
and if not, why not? Are there measures that capture these differences?

VETS has followed the procedure established in the current regulations 
to allocate funds to the States for FY 2004 through FY 2010. As the 
first step in this procedure, VETS annually provides the States with 
estimated allocations, which are prepared by applying updated CPS and 
LAUS data to the amount of the appropriation requested in the 
President's Budget. As the second step, VETS has implemented each year 
the regulatory provisions for adjusting funding when there were 
differences in the actual appropriations. When the actual appropriation 
has been less than the requested appropriation, VETS has reduced the 
amount of the set-aside for TAP and exigent circumstances in order to 
allocate to the States amounts consistent with the estimated 
allocations. When the actual appropriation has exceeded the requested 
appropriation, VETS has allocated to the States amounts consistent with 
the estimated allocations and has retained the excess funds as 
undistributed basic grant funds. As a third step, VETS may then 
distribute the undistributed basic grant funds to the States, in 
response to their requests, during the remaining months of the 
applicable fiscal years, and VETS has exercised that authority. Since 
VETS routinely reviews and reallocates funds during the course of each 
fiscal year, this third step of the procedure has been handled in 
conjunction with that pre-existing VETS practice when the actual 
appropriation has exceeded the requested appropriation.
    The regulations also: (a) Provide VETS the authority to allocate 
revised amounts upon appropriation, if there is a compelling reason to 
do so; and, (b) specify the procedure to be followed if an actual 
appropriation is insufficient to comply with the hold-harmless 
provision. To-date, however, VETS has not exercised its authority to 
allocate revised amounts, nor has it received an actual appropriation 
that was insufficient to comply with the hold-harmless provision.
    9. Have there been instances when VETS appears to have overlooked 
compelling reasons to exercise its authority to immediately allocate

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increased amounts to States, upon receipt of an actual appropriation 
that exceeded the requested appropriation?
    10. Have there been instances when VETS appears to have overlooked 
compelling reasons to exercise its authority to immediately allocate 
decreased amounts to States, upon receipt of an actual appropriation 
that fell short of the requested appropriation?
    11. For those commenters who believe that compelling reasons have 
been overlooked, what criteria could be applied to determine that a 
compelling reason exists in any given instance?

B. Other Funding Criteria

    Funding for TAP workshops is allocated on a per-workshop basis. 
Funding to the States is provided under the respective approved State 
Plans.
    12. Should there be a different basis for the funding of TAP 
activities?
    13. Should there be a different vehicle for providing funding for 
TAP activities?
    14. For those commenters who believe that a different basis or 
vehicle should be implemented for funding TAP activities, what 
alternate basis or vehicle is suggested?
    Funds for exigent circumstances, such as unusually high levels of 
unemployment or surges in the demand for transitioning services, 
including the need for TAP workshops, are allocated based on need.
    15. Have there been instances when VETS appears to have overlooked 
exigent circumstances that warranted adjustments to the actual awards?
    16. Are there specific examples of exigent circumstances that 
should be identified in Veterans' Program Letters or in other policy 
documents?

C. Hold-Harmless Criteria and Minimum Funding Level

    A hold-harmless rate of 90 percent of the prior year's funding is 
the level currently established to limit the funding reduction that a 
State can experience in a single year. A minimum funding level of .28 
percent (.0028) of the previous year's total funding for all States is 
the level currently established to provide small States with sufficient 
funds to support a basic level of services to veterans. Both of these 
rates reflect direct adoption of statutory provisions governing 
corresponding functions for Wagner-Peyser funding.
    17. Is there a compelling reason to set the hold-harmless rate at a 
different level?
    18. Is there a compelling reason to set the minimum funding level 
at a different level?
    19. For those commenters who believe that there is a compelling 
reason to revise the hold-harmless rate or the minimum funding level, 
what alternatives are suggested and what justifications are offered to 
support implementation of those alternatives?
    20. Is there a compelling reason to change the hold-harmless rate 
to be a fixed percentage of the prior year's expenditures rather than a 
fixed percentage of the prior year's funding?

D. Other Aspects of the Existing Regulations

    If any commmenters have concerns or suggestions that apply to 
aspects of the existing regulations that have not been identified in 
the preceding sections and questions, VETS will appreciate receiving 
comments that address any aspect of these regulations.

    Signed in Washington, DC, this 4th day of June 2010.
John M. McWilliam,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Operations and Management, Veterans' 
Employment and Training Service.
[FR Doc. 2010-13870 Filed 6-10-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4510-79-P