Ever since President Barack Obama signed the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act last winter, budget officers have been eager for more detail about state and local governments' roles and responsibilities when it's time for the first reporting deadline for expenditure data on Oct. 10.

During a live webcast on Monday, Danny Werfel, deputy controller of the Office of Management and Budget's (OMB) Federal Financial Management Office, said the answer is that the states -- considered the "prime recipients" of stimulus funds -- have full responsibility for reporting the expenditure data. But the states can also choose to delegate some of that reporting work, he said, to the "subrecipients," which oftentimes are local governments.

It's incumbent upon states to decide who they want to report the data, Werfel said. The OMB purposely left this flexible because some states wanted centralized control, while others sought a decentralized model because it would mean less data entry and less workload for a single agency, he said. "This is something that each prime recipient has to make their own judgment on," he said.

Werfel said state governments already should be communicating with local governments about who will report the data. The OMB hopes that by defining these responsibilities, it will reduce the number of control failures that cause double reporting or no reporting at all.

After the Oct. 10 deadline, the prime recipients will be able to flag subrecipients' data that may be inaccurate, and then ask the subrecipients to remedy deficiencies or mistakes. Federal agencies will also do their own double-check. Ultimately though, the states will certify the data.

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Matt Williams  |  Associate Editor