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News About the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

NPR - Governors bemoan steep slide in state revenues
States would be in even deeper financial trouble if it were not for federal stimulus funds that have helped pay for education, Medicare and new infrastructure, several governors say.

'I don't know what we would have done without it,' says Gov. Chris Gregoire of Washington…a Democrat

The recession has hammered the states, causing a 24 percent drop in their revenues nationwide, the NGA says. A large chunk of the shortfall comes from the biggest drop in tax revenue on record.

Meanwhile, the organization's incoming chairman, Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, a Republican, says that while the cash infusion from Congress has helped, states face a difficult task in figuring out how to close their yawning budget gaps after the stimulus cash runs out in 2011.

'In Vermont, a quarter of our population is on Medicaid, so (the federal stimulus) was particularly welcome to shore it up over the next couple of years,' Douglas said. [Read More]

The Commercial-Appeal (Tennessee) - Editorial: Jury still out on the stimulus
Reason dictates that it's too early to lose patience with the program.

At first blush, most of the local projects that are becoming realities because of the stimulus seem to meet the law's job-creating objectives.

The impact of crime on the economy is well documented, and putting 300 new Memphis police officers on the street should help drive a declining city crime rate down further.
Millions of dollars from the stimulus plan also will be used to construct roads, bridges and other public works projects of obvious long-term benefit.

Workers will be trained to handle the demands of the 21st century workplace. Teaching jobs will be saved in the Memphis and Shelby County schools. Buses will be replaced at the Memphis Area Transit Authority. Thousands of public housing units will be refurbished. Homes will be weatherized.

The worst choice, though, would have been not to act. It's simply too soon to tell if the choice that was made was the right one. [Read More]

Arizona Daily Star - Editorial: It's too soon to pull plug on federal stimulus
It is far too early to declare that the stimulus isn't working.

According to analyses from the Office of Management and Budget and the Congressional Budget Office, roughly 74 percent of funds will be obligated by Sept. 30, 2010.

Approximately 28 percent of the total $787 billion is under contract.

There are many people in Arizona who have lost their jobs or homes, or who are struggling to stay afloat. Every elected official has an obligation to ask questions. However, at this point, [Arizona Sen. Jon Kyl]'s efforts would better serve his constituents if redirected to improve the system and ensure that Arizona taxpayers receive what they deserve. [Read More]

The Orange County Register (California) - Stimulus pays for summer jobs for 2,000 O.C. youth
[Sarah Isaacs, in her first job,] is one of about 2,000 Orange County teens and young adults receiving summer jobs through the $787 billion federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or 'stimulus.'

The stimulus includes about $1.2 billion for youth employment and training, 16 percent of which is allotted to California. Congress asked most of that money to be used for summer jobs.

Orange County is receiving about $6.6 million, which represents a major boost for youth summer job programs. In recent years, the programs either didn't exist or relied on private funding, according to local workforce officials. [Read More]

The Telegraph (New Hampshire) - Lots of stimulus money, but few job figures so far
The New Hampshire Department of Transportation let out a total of $96 million in economic stimulus contracts as of June 30.

What is known so far is that, in May, according to the state DOT - the most up-to-date and accurate agency when it comes to reporting stimulus spending - the equivalent of 68 full-time jobs were created. But the May data is very preliminary, and it was tallied before much of the stimulus money hit the street. Numbers for June will probably be higher, officials said.

…According to the DOT Web site, there have been a total of 457 individuals employed - either directly or though subcontracting, via stimulus money.

But that small number could be misleading too. Some jobs - we don't know how many - may have started last week, or even at the end of the month.

Pike Industries, the state's biggest stimulus vendor with some $30 million in approved stimulus paving contracts so far, estimated that it has added 50 full-time workers in New Hampshire thanks to stimulus money, and has avoided letting go at least that many. [Read More]

The Topeka Capital- Journal (Kansas) - City, county tap into stimulus money
Kansas is in line to receive about $1.9 billion as a result of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which Congress passed in February.

Tom Vlach, director of public works for Shawnee County, said the county was awarded $2.9 million in recovery act funds for improvements on N.W. 46th Street east of US-75 highway…

…Vlach said the construction project will generate about 87 temporary construction jobs. He said improvements to the roadway structure also may attract more businesses and bring more permanent jobs to the US-75/46th Street area, home to the Hunter's Ridge commercial development.

Heartland Works was tapped to receive $1.2 million for its summer youth program, creating 118 jobs for Topeka residents ages 14 to 24. [Read More]

The MetroWest Daily News (Massachusetts) - Editorial: No reason to abandon the stimulus plan
In Massachusetts, for instance, $1.7 billion in federal stimulus money was used to help balance the new state budget. That's twice as much revenue as will be generated by the 25-percent increase in the state sales tax. Would stimulus opponents like to send that money back to Washington?

…the most important job-creation measures in the stimulus won't bear fruit until 2010 or 2011. These will come from investments in the 'new economy' - alternate energy, a new electrical grid, the expansion of broadband, electronic medical records, high-speed rail. Without such investment, we face the prospect of another 'jobless recovery' and a stagnant economy where manufacturing and innovation have given way to financial speculation and service-industry jobs.

Do those who want to pull back the stimulus spending believe the economy won't need new jobs and investment next year and the year after? [Read More]

Chicago Tribune (Illinois) - Clearing brush provides a better learning environment
… The work is being funded through a $2.1 million allocation from the American Recovery Reinvestment Act.

This summer the program has placed 450 students between the ages of 16 and 21 at 375 job sites in Kane, DeKalb and Kendall Counties, said Dee Reinhardt, a Kane marketing coordinator.

Participants are paid $9 an hour and also spend time in the classroom reviewing job skills, interview techniques and how to prepare résumés. They likewise brush up on math and reading skills, said Lynn Fredricks, an ECC instructor. [Read More]

Coosa Valley News (Georgia) - Construction Begins on Stimulus-Funded Roadways
Construction work has just begun on the first highway project in the 17 counties of Northwest Georgia, funded through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The project includes over 20 miles of resurfacing on Interstate 575, beginning at I-75 in Cobb County and extending to the Etowah River in Cherokee County.

The resurfacing of I-575 is among nine ARRA funded highway projects in Northwest Georgia. Work on all these projects will begin this summer. Cumulatively, they are valued at over $48 million. [Read More]

Nashville Business Journal (Tennessee) - TDOT gets $429.7M more in stimulus funds
The Tennessee Department of Transportation has awarded a total of 190 road projects totaling $429.7 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and will award the final bids in August.

TDOT has received $572.7 million in stimulus funds for highway and bridge projects throughout Tennessee.

“TDOT has moved very quickly to get Recovery Act funds under contract and projects underway to create and retain jobs for Tennesseans,” Gov. Phil Bredesen said in a statement. “Without the Recovery Act funds, many of these projects would not have been built or would have been delayed.” [Read More]

News-14 (North Carolina) - Stimulus to encourage purchase of Energy Star products
Homeowners across the state who buy energy efficient appliances could get a share of $8.8 million in rebates and reimbursements from stimulus monies.

To be eligible for the program, appliances must meet the government Energy Star rating - meaning it's an environmentally-friendly and cost-saving product.

…the hopes with such products is they will cost you less in the course of their usefulness. [Read More]

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