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News About the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

USA Today - Editorial: Another stimulus? The first one has barely kicked in
For starters, the first Obama stimulus has barely taken effect. Only about $158 billion, or 20%, has been spent, the administration says. Other estimates put the amount a little lower. And much of what has been spent has been largely defensive --payments used to prevent layoffs of state workers, extend unemployment and health benefits, and provide tax relief to struggling families. The most stimulative elements, epitomized by the rumble of construction equipment, have barely begun.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, about $400 billion of the stimulus money is on track to be spent in fiscal 2010 and $134 billion the following year. In a normal recession, this multiyear rollout would be too late to do any good. For this one, longer and deeper than usual, time-release medication might be just what the doctor ordered.

…with the economy in free fall early this year, and the risk of a depression vivid for the first time in generations, pumping up the economy was the responsible thing to do. [Read More]

The Indianapolis Star (Indiana) - IPS rehires scores of teachers hit by layoffs
Indianapolis Public Schools sent staff morale crashing and created a public splash when it laid off 300 teachers this spring.

But almost all of those teachers have been hired back or been offered other teaching jobs in the district, thanks to a boost from federal stimulus money and the district's normal turnover.

In fact, because of the turnover plus nearly 200 new jobs created with the stimulus money, the district now has about 100 vacancies and is looking to hire teachers to fill those spots.

'We feel pretty good about the way the moving is happening,' said Jane Ajabu, the district's human resources chief. 'If it were not for the stimulus dollars, it would not look this good.'
[Read More]

USA Today - Stimulus spending finally starts to trickle down
Indiana's housing initiative -- and similar efforts in 23 other states and territories -- illustrates the impact of the administration's recovery strategy. The state expects 3,500 construction jobs to result from its part of the stimulus spending.

From Indiana rental units to a Colorado energy company and workers' paychecks everywhere, the stimulus is just beginning to make itself felt. In its short history, the program has emerged as ground zero of a running debate on the future of the badly damaged U.S. economy.

In Boulder, Colo., Blake Jones, president of Namaste Solar, says the stimulus saved about 15 jobs at his small manufacturer.

'The outlook was very bleak. … Now we're anticipating not losing business, but we may continue growing,' Jones said. [Read More]

The Washington Times - Stimulus plan produces two bright spots
As debate rages over the impact of the $787 billion stimulus bill, a pair of relatively inexpensive programs that passed more as afterthoughts than as stimulus are having the most immediate impact on the economy, contributing to an expected rebound in growth this summer.

…The provision that has been most visibly helpful is the $8,000 homebuyer tax credit, an afterthought to the bill that has helped to steady the housing market by spurring sales of foreclosed and low-priced homes to first-time homebuyers.

Similarly, legislators…offered belated aid last month by passing a $1 billion 'cash for clunkers' program that also is likely to provide a one-time boost to economic output this summer.

'Housing and motor vehicles are showing a faint pulse,' said Richard Berner, chief economist at Morgan Stanley, adding that observers may be surprised at how strongly the two most depressed sectors of the economy spur statistical measures of growth in coming months. [Read More]

WVIR-TV (Virginia) - Perriello Talks Homebuyer Tax Credits
Congressman Tom Perriello (D) was in Crozet Monday talking to first-time homebuyers about a federal stimulus program designed to save them thousands of dollars.

It's a dream that's come true for hundreds of Albemarle homeowners thanks to the stimulus program. It's also helping to keep the economy moving.

'This is a way to really get money moving in the economy again, but again doing it in the areas that have the most need, like the housing market', says Congressman Perriello. [Read More]

Arkansas News - $5.4M of stimulus rolls to Central Arkansas Transit Authority
U.S. Sens. Blanche Lincoln and Mark Pryor, both D-Ark., and U.S. Rep. Vic Snyder, D-Little Rock, said the $5.4 million will be used to purchase eight replacement buses, four replacement vans, bus and rail maintenance items and equipment.

“Public transit investments will create jobs. These improvements have great potential to help increase travel around Central Arkansas. I am pleased that we are receiving this recovery funding to help make travel on our public transit system more safe and efficient,” Snyder said. [Read More]

The Arizona Republic - Senior Obama officials question Ariz.'s desire for stimulus money
Top Obama administration officials asked Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday whether the state wants to forfeit ongoing federal economic stimulus money after Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., suggested that the program should be nixed.

Among the projects they said would be threatened: $51 million to the City of Phoenix and the surrounding area for transit infrastructure improvements and preventative maintenance, $22 million for homelessness prevention, $45 million to provide about 500 single-family housing loans, and $60 million for construction and improvements to Indian schools. [Read More]

The Hartford Courant (Connecticut) - Housing Plans Back on Track: U.S. Provides $34M For 4 Projects In State
Four low-income housing developments that were put on hold around the state because of the recession will be restarted thanks to a $34 million award Friday by the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

'At a time when Connecticut is struggling with the impact of the economic crisis, this grant will provide jobs and housing,' said Timothy Bannon, president and executive director of the Connecticut Housing Finance Authority…

Bannon said the developments will provide 184 affordable housing units in Manchester, Westport, Hamden and Norwich and create 800 jobs. [Read More]

The Olympian (Washington) - The stimulus chorus is singing: Weatherization money is here
Weatherization money is about to flow to Washington state -- almost $30 million of the roughly $60 million allocated through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, according to a pair of news releases today.

U.S. Rep. Brian Baird was first. He sent out a release saying $2.8 million of the booty is coming to Southwest Washington.

[The Department of Community, Trade and Economic Development (CTED)] staffers have said previously that close to 6,940 homes might be upgraded with insulation and other weatherization through March 2012 using the state's allotment, which ultimately could reach $59.5 million. Overall, that is expected to generate close to 250 direct jobs per year across the state, according to CTED. [Read More] (West Virginia) - Rahall Announces $854K for Huntington to Prevent Homelessness
U.S. Representative Nick Rahall, D-WV …announced the release of $854K through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) for Homelessness Prevention and Rapid Re-Housing Program (HPRP) in Huntington.

The City of Huntington will receive $854,337 to help West Virginians who are experiencing homelessness and work with them to quickly re-house and stabilize the families.

 “The release of the ARRA funding for this housing program could not come at a more needed time,” said Rahall. “Although the Recovery Act has created jobs and provided funding for countless community projects, there are still many families out there that need additional assistance and this program will help provide that assistance.” [Read More]

The Philadelphia Inquirer (Pennsylvania) - Editorial: 2d stimulus? Not yet
The [economic recovery] program undeniably has delivered modest tax cuts, needed food stamps, and unemployment benefits. It has also provided, according to state labor departments, more than 3,000 summer jobs for youths in Southeastern Pennsylvania and South Jersey.

The only thing Washington should be open to right now is giving the current recovery package more time to work. Most of the money in the first stimulus package hasn't even been spent.

…Over the coming months, it still will provide needed jobs in the construction industry and other sectors. States facing a huge backlog of infrastructure repairs do need the aid. [Read More]

The Union-Leader (New Hampshire) - Stimulus: Millions in grants, tons of scrutiny
The Office of Legislative Budget Assistant reported last week that $413.6 million made its way to the state under a list of programs that involve education, highways, environmental, health and human services, energy and law enforcement.

Deputy Attorney General Bud Fitch said last week that projections are the state will eventually see between $500 million and $750 million in stimulus funds.

So far, a total of 50 jobs have been created by the funding, 34 of them full time. [Read More]

The Jersey Journal (New Jersey) - Nearly $5 million going to Hudson to keep people in their homes, Sires says
Jersey City will receive more than $2.5 million and Union City more than $500,000 in federal funding to help families that are in danger of becoming homeless, Rep. Albio Sires, D-West New York, announced this afternoon.

'The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act made significant investments in the economy and in infrastructure projects that are sorely needed,' Sires said. 'But I am happy that the Act made investments in people too. [Read More]

The Richmond Times-Dispatch (Virginia) - SBA has big plans to ease credit crunch
The government is determined to make a big dent in the small-business credit crunch, according to the Small Business Administration.

The goal for the SBA is to jump-start job creation, restart lending and promote investment in small businesses.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act provides the SBA with $375 million to temporarily eliminate loan fees and raise guarantee limits to 90 percent on most types of 7(a) loans...

It also temporarily eliminates 504 loan fees for both borrowers and lenders.… The ARC loan program is designed to give viable small businesses, suffering immediate financial hardship, some temporary financial relief so they can keep the doors open and get their cash flow back on track.

The temporary program will offer deferred-payment loans, which are 100 percent guaranteed by SBA, for up to $35,000 to small businesses that need help making payments on existing, qualifying, non-SBA backed loans. [Read More]

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