Posts Tagged: stimulus

High-speed regional trains zoom into California

Several new trains capable of considerably higher speed should begin plying the rails in California in about four years time, thanks to an infusion of federal cash, reports Tim Sheehan of The Fresno Bee.

California received 68 million dollars from the federal government to buy 15 new American passenger cars and four new U.S.-made locomotives for the state’s three regional rail routes. The funding is a portion of the $336 million worth of Recovery Act funding — economic stimulus money — awarded as federal matching funds to California and outright grants to Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, and Missouri. (more…)

Stimulus In a Parallel Universe: What America Can Learn from ‘Put Illinois to Work’

Tonya Grisby, a 39 year-old grandmother who lives in Chicago’s predominantly black and mostly poor Austin neighborhood, worked at a warehouse until December 2009. But the person Grisby carpooled with to work got laid off and, without a ride, Grisby was soon laid off as well.

Grisby had few prospects for employment until last May when she was hired by Chicago’s Westside Health Authority thanks to Put Illinois to Work – a government subsidized job program. Uncle Sam paid for Grisby to work a 40 hour-a-week front-desk job that paid $10 an hour. (more…)

New math at work in California stimulus jobs count

Math and accounting errors have led several state agencies in California to exaggerate the number of jobs created or saved as the result of  federal stimulus funding.

A California State Bureau of Audits report found errors in figures submitted by five different state agencies totaling 617 phantom jobs, reports Deio de Brito of CaliforniaWatch.

It’s unclear from the story how many existing jobs were saved or new jobs created at the various agencies, though according to the story, the American Reinvestment and Reconstruction Act, known more commonly as the stimulus bill, created or saved a total of 54,000 jobs statewide. (more…)

Keeping Illinois at Work

Pat Quinn

Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn will once again use state money to extend Put Illinois to Work, which started as a stimulus bill program — that created 26,000 temporary jobs –  before federal funds ran out at the end of September. Quinn spent $75 million then to keep the program going and he will spend $47 million more for a 2nd extension running six weeks, the Associated Press reports. In Put Illinois to Work, the federal, and now state, government subsidizes entry-level jobs in the private sector for residents 200 percent below the federal poverty level. The jobs typically pay $10 an hour.

Quinn has prioritized the state’s employment problems even at a time of record budget deficits. (more…)

Why stimulus funds are still unspent: too much accountability!

At first glance, Louise Radnofsky’s report on the slow rollout of stimulus-funded weatherization jobs looks like a typical Wall Street Journal story, i.e., government can’t do anything right and labor unions are getting in the way of progress.  Radofsky writes that the $230 billion in stimulus funds was supposed to be “the most visible element of the job creation effort” — those energy sector jobs that everyone has been wondering about.  The weatherization program — with an extra $5 billion invested — was supposed to bring people jobs in the midst of the Great Recession.  But only seven states have managed to get more than 50% of targeted homes weatherized.  What’s the holdup?  Yes, there’s been too much bureaucracy and paperwork.  Yes, there’s micromanagement that makes government look bad. But there’s something else at work as well: accountability. (more…)

Musical chairs in California’s schools?

Emergency federal aid meant to save thousands of teachers’ jobs in California could vanish into the gaping maw of the state’s $19 billion budget deficit, Shane Goldmacher of the Los Angeles Times reports.  A battle between federal and state elected officials is apparently heating up, with Democratic state legislators floating the concept of essentially re-purposing the money for other uses. (more…)

Stimulus funds in California: Supervise if you’re going to weatherize

The California Inspector General’s office says a contractor hired to weatherize homes, and paid for by federal stimulus funds, overbilled the state agency overseeing the money by $34,803, Timothy Sandoval of CaliforniaWatch reports.

The report also notes that workers and supervisors performing weatherization renovations on homes have not been adequately trained, (more…)

After the stimulus…nothing

Jon Pletz of Crain’s Chicago Business has a piece on how the Illinois construction industry has depended on $936 million in federal stimulus money. Now that the stimulus cash is mostly gone, construction has ground to a halt. (more…)

Would you buy a used car industry overhaul from this guy?

Steven Rattner

Steven Rattner is hardly a disinterested party in gauging the effectiveness of the auto industry bailout that took place a year ago, but, writing in the Washington Post today, he may be right that the program worked.  The federal treasury and the American people stand to earn money on the GM bailout (we’re up $4 billion right now on our investment, according to Rattner) and even though the government owns so much of GM, it’s not being run by government officials, but by hard-driving corporate types who have begun bringing the word “profit” back into play, and cut GM’s expenses in North America by $8 billion this year.

Funds for frigidaires getting tweaked

Remember the headlines a few weeks ago when the Department of Energy’s appliance efficiency rebate plan ran out of money almost as soon as it was launched? Hoping to avoid the experience in many other states, California officials (each state administers the rebates differently), raised the bar, restricting the rebates to only the most energy efficient major appliances. They also required documentation (more…)