Saturday, February 21, 2009

Local Stimulus Coverage

Local newspapers have the stimulus on the mind. With the stimulus package signed into law, local organizations and governmental institutions are hoping for a piece of the pie. Here are several articles from the Martinsville, Danville, and Franklin County newspapers.

Martinsville schools Superintendent Scott Kizner hopes that federal money will help make up for the loss of funding from state-wide education cuts, and with the good possibility of funding, Kizner is now optimistic about this year's budget. Also in Martinsville, Executive Director Kim Adkins believes that the West Peidmont Workforce Investment Board will get federal money to help with local workforce development programs.

The Franklin County Director of Commerce and Leisure Services, Scott Martin, hopes that federal stimulus money will be allocated to the area for infrastructure improvements and job creation. The Franklin News Post editorial staff argue that now that the bill is passed it is pointless to criticize the package. They say that county officials are prepared for stimulus funds, and the editors believe that the funds will give Franklin County a needed boost.

Finally, the editorial staff from the Danville Register & Bee believe that the stimulus package is a risk, but, if the money is spent wisely, the possible benefits of the package could greatly affect the Danville community for years to come. They call the package "a good gamble," with their wishlist including funding for a bridge, water lines, and an industrial park.

Education, workforce development, infrastructure. Stimulating hopes.


JCWhite said...

Thanks for this Drew as I have been otherwise occupied. This reenforces my beliefs that hope will always outweight the negativity we have seen coming consistantly from a certain segment.
Good job!

Alicia said...

Just a thought...

I have yet to see anything in the stimulus that provides education on how to avoid this problem in the first place: Financial education and explanation, financial advocates and truth in lending to ensure that people don't get wrapped up in the scheme that brought down the house of cards,etc. Correct me if I am wrong but I just don't see any prevention measures in this stimulus.

I think that is a grossly negligent oversight.

Drew said...

Alicia, good point. But, Obama has admitted that this isn't a perfect package, to which there is almost universal agreement.

Alicia said...

Wow, Drew. Not perfect? We have lowered our standards to a whole new level. We are talking trillions of dollars. Is that number just so large that its incomprehensible to us now? I wonder.

It's as if we are blindly tithing our tax money to the Church of the Government and allowing our expectations to be guided by faith only. If it’s not perfect, shouldn't we have waited? Did ONE politician actually read all 1,000 pages of the stimulus legislation? Did they even have time to read it?

When I grow up, I want to operate a business like the government. It's like a bad episode of Richie Rich.

Drew said...

I don't think it is an issue of lowered standards as much as the urgency to pass the stimulus package in the first month of the Obama administration to abate the economic crisis. Apparently, they couldn't wait much longer - inaction or slow action would have destroyed our economy - and because of the rushed nature of the package legislation, it wasn't perfect. The lack of perfection, then, is a result of the haste of the writing of the bill to accommodate the urgency of need, not a newfound standard of excellence.

Matt F. said...

I would have to disagree with Alicia here. The reason the things she mentions aren't in the stimulus bill are because they have nothing to do with the stimulus bill. This is not a be all end all bill wherein we address everything about the financial crisis. There is nothing in the stimulus bill about a huge range of financial concerns, because those things don't belong in a bill designed to stimulate our economy. It is not a bill about analyzing and preventing the problem in the first place. I would be surprised if there are not future efforts to address Alicia's concerns in other bills, executive orders, etc.

Alicia said...

Matt-point taken. And I do hope to see more prevention down the road. It is a more difficult pill to swallow with the comment "because it has nothing to do with the stimulus bill". Arguably there is a whole heap of things in the bill whose only qualification for being included is that it costs money!

For example:
•A $246 million tax break for Hollywood movie producers to buy motion picture film.
• $650 million for the digital television converter box coupon program.
• $88 million for the Coast Guard to design a new polar icebreaker (arctic ship).
• $448 million for constructing the Department of Homeland Security headquarters.
• $248 million for furniture at the new Homeland Security headquarters.
• $600 million to buy hybrid vehicles for federal employees.
• $400 million for the Centers for Disease Control to screen and prevent STD's.
• $1.4 billion for rural waste disposal programs.
• $125 million for the Washington sewer system.
• $150 million for Smithsonian museum facilities.
• $1 billion for the 2010 Census, which has a projected cost overrun of $3 billion.
• $75 million for "smoking cessation activities."
• $200 million for public computer centers at community colleges.
• $75 million for salaries of employees at the FBI.
• $25 million for tribal alcohol and substance abuse reduction.
• $500 million for flood reduction projects on the Mississippi River.
• $10 million to inspect canals in urban areas.
• $6 billion to turn federal buildings into "green" buildings.
• $500 million for state and local fire stations.
• $650 million for wildland fire management on forest service lands.
• $1.2 billion for "youth activities," including youth summer job programs.
• $88 million for renovating the headquarters of the Public Health Service.
• $412 million for CDC buildings and property.
• $500 million for building and repairing National Institutes of Health facilities in Bethesda, Maryland.
• $160 million for "paid volunteers" at the Corporation for National and Community Service.
• $5.5 million for "energy efficiency initiatives" at the Department of Veterans Affairs National Cemetery Administration.
• $850 million for Amtrak.
• $100 million for reducing the hazard of lead-based paint.
• $75 million to construct a "security training" facility for State Department Security officers when they can be trained at existing facilities of other agencies.
• $110 million to the Farm Service Agency to upgrade computer systems.
• $200 million in funding for the lease of alternative energy vehicles for use on military installations.

Wow--looks like the only qualification for spending stimulus money is to well . . .spend! Financial education could have been included right behind smoking cessation!