National Association of Counties

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The National Association of Counties (NACo) is the only national organization that represents county governments in the United States. Founded in 1935, NACo provides services to the nation’s 3,066 counties. NACo's membership totals more than 2,000 counties, representing over 80 percent of the nation's population, and the organization has 23 affiliate associations.

Taxpayer-funded lobbying

Main article: National government sector lobbying

The National Association of Counties had a registered lobbyist for lobbying the federal government.[1]


With its headquarters on Capitol Hill, NACo provides legislative, research, technical and public affairs assistance, as well as enterprise services, to its members.

The association:

  • acts as a liaison with other levels of government,
  • works to improve public understanding of counties,
  • and serves as a national advocate for counties.

NACo is involved in a number of special projects that deal with such issues as homeland security, drug abuse and broader access to health care. Through the Enterprise Services Department, NACo offers county employees retirement, cooperative purchasing, debt collection and county reinsurance programs. In addition, businesses can participate in the NACo Corporate, Premier and Sponsorship Programs.

Budget and funding

According to the NACo 2007-2008 Annual Report, NACO ended 2007 with a surplus of $2.2 million, exceeding the budget by $656,000. Revenue came in $683,000 above budget and was offset by slightly higher expenses. Revenue from NACo’s for-profit subsidiaries increased 4% over 2006. Services to local government agencies contributed almost $5 million to the NACo bottom line. During 2007, counties saved more than $25 million on $238 million in purchases through the U.S. Communities Purchasing program.[2]

Grant funded programs continued to be a vital part of NACo’s operations as program expenditures increased 43% to almost $1.9 million. Grant funded programs provide grants to counties, educational programming for county officials and research on topics relevant to county officials.

Revenue from county and corporate membership exceeded $4.9 million as county membership hit 2,301 counties, an increase of 82 over 2006. This continued a membership growth trend that started in 1995, when NACo started the year with 1,704 counties as members. Net assets increased 12% over 2006, reaching $21.8 million. 2007 marked the 14th consecutive year with a net surplus.

  • Financial information - net assets (beginning of year): $19,506,640
  • Surplus: $2,269,461
  • Net assets (December 31, 2007): $21,776,101

Lobbying Initiatives

NACo's committees, whose members include county officials from every region of the country, are charged on an annual basis with evaluating issues and policies. The policy development process leads to the publication of the American County Platform, which NACo uses as a guide to deliver county government's message to the federal administration, Congress and the American public.

2009 key legislative priorities

  • Opposition to unfunded mandates/preemptions: Vigilance against legislation that mandates regulations on local government roles without adequate funding. The areas of concern are land use, rights of way and other local functions.
  • Support economic stimulus and revitalization/increase financial partnership: Support passage of the stimulus package with funding for CDBG, HOME, JAG, Homeland Security, WIA, rural development, transportation, and water infrastructure development. Desire to have the a minimum of $4.1 billion for Community Development Block Grant formula program. They want to double the program over the next five years along with $2 billion for the HOME formula grant program.
  • Health reform: State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) should cover all children. They would like to ensure affordable health care for all Americans and repeal all CMS rules.
  • Tax issues: NACo opposes mandates in Section 511 of PL 109-222 which requires local governments to collect a 3% withholding tax for goods and services contracts. NACo opposes preemption of local government authority for telecommunications and other taxing. NACo supports maintaining the deductibility of state and local taxes and the interest earned on tax exempt bonds.
  • Transportation/aviation reauthorization: NACo supports a guaranteed and well-funded Airport Improvement Program along with increased funding for the Essential Air Service and the Small Communities Air Service Programs. NACo also supports a well funded bridges, highways, mass transit assistance for rural roads and local infrastructure program. NACo supports fully funding the Highway Trust Fund.
  • Energy issues: NACo supports full funding for the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant Program which should include incentives for the research and development in alternatives, renewable, and energy efficient technologies.



County officials and their staffs also participate through NACo's 23 affiliates. These organizations are composed of officials who share similar responsibilities, interests or knowledge areas. To keep county officials informed, NACo publishes a biweekly newspaper, County News, with circulation of 29,000, that focuses on issues and actions in Washington, D.C. and throughout the country.

Caucus affiliates

  • NABCO - Black County Officials
  • NAC - Native American Caucus
  • NAHCO - Hispanic County Officials
  • NCRCO - Republican County Officials
  • NDCO - Democratic County Officials
  • NOBCO - Black County Officials
  • WON - Women of NACo Leadership Network

State chapters

See National Association of Counties members list

External links