Preliminary Analysis of FY2020 LSC Funding | $135M Increase Proposed

On May 16, 2019, the House of Representatives Subcommittee that allocates funding to Legal Services Corporation (LSC) released the draft text of a bill, found here, that would increase LSC's funding by $135 million. This is a preliminary analysis, prepared by OneJustice, of the proposed allocation.

Analysis: On pages 85-86 of the House's bill, LSC's total funding would increase by 33%, from $415 million to $550 million. All but $7 million of the $135 million increase would go to basic field grants. Currently, California receives about 11.5% of all basic field funding–even after LSC lowered California's share of national funding earlier this year by 5.5%. If LSC's total funding for basic field grants were to increase by $128 million, then California stands to receive $14.5 million more in FY 2020. Total basic field funding for California, therefore, would increase from about $44 million to about $58.5 million. Please note that, in the table below, $5 million seems to be unaccounted for in the subcommittee's bill.

In response, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association ("NLADA") suggested that the Republican-led Senate is likely to propose a lower funding level for LSC. The House and Senate might then arrive somewhere between LSC's current $415 million and the House subcommittee's proposed $550 million. NLADA also noted that the House subcommittee's total budget authority increased by only 15%, yet that subcommittee increased LSC's funding by about 33%. This demonstrates that everyday people's genuine access to our nation's legal system has become more important to our lawmakers.

Update provided to LSFN by Christopher McConkey, Senior Staff Attorney | OneJustice