February 8, 2005
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
At its February 5, 2005, meeting in Washington, D.C., the Legal Services Corporation Board of Directors gave final approval of its Fiscal Year 2006 budget request to Congress in the amount of $363,809,000. By comparison, the Board requested $352.4 million in FY05, when LSC's final appropriation was $330.8 million after two across-the-board domestic budget cuts.
Most of the requested increase would be directed to basic field grants that fund the day-to-day operations of local legal aid offices. LSC is requesting $340.1 million for basic field grants, an 8.9 percent increase over FY05. The FY06 request would bring LSC's appropriation in line with inflationary increases over the past three years. It also would position the Corporation's 143 grantees to respond to the rising numbers of low-income Americans eligible for federally funded legal assistance. Current LSC funding is sufficient to serve only 20 percent of the critical legal needs of eligible clients. "We are asking Congress to ensure that our under-funded programs do not fall farther behind, and that their FY06 budgets keep up with current inflation," LSC President Helaine M. Barnett stated.
LSC's request also includes a $1 million increase for Native American grantees, which would allow the eight lowest-funded Native American programs to achieve a "minimum funding level" and give them the core capacity to serve the eligible clients in their service areas. LSC is also requesting $5 million in Technology Initiative Grant (TIG) funding. The TIG program provides critical seed money for projects that improve access to justice through the innovative use of technology.
[LINK "FY06 Budget Request" see http://www.lsc.gov/about/budget/FY06Req.pdf]
[LINK "Appropriations Chart" see http://www.lsc.gov/press/documents/020805pr-001.pdf]