Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stimulize This - By Mark R. Kerr

If the local, state and national corporate hack media is to be believed, funding from Obama’s economic stimulus package is all but a done deal and the proverbial “checks” for the states are en route but don’t you believe it.

When President Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 (also known as the Stimulus) into law on February 17, it marked the beginning of a 45-day window for each state to claim the funds allocated to it by the act - with the deadline Friday, April 3.

Under Section 1607 of ARRA, in order for a state to receive funds from the ARRA, governors have 45 days to certify that they will first of all "request and use" funds from the ARRA and second of all use them to create jobs and promote economic growth.

Under the ARRA, Arizona could receive more than $800 million dollars. According to the site, 70,000 jobs will be created in Arizona alone thanks to the ARRA.

If a governor does not accept funds though, allocated to his or her state before that window expires, the state's legislature then has the option of certifying those two conditions itself.

Here is the Text of Section 1607: (a) CERTIFICATION BY GOVERNOR..Not later than 45 days after the date of enactment of this Act, for funds provided to any State or agency thereof, the Governor of the State shall certify that: (1) the State will request and use funds provided by this Act; and (2) the funds will be used to create jobs and promote economic growth.

(b) ACCEPTANCE BY STATE LEGISLATURE..If funds provided to any State in any division of this Act are not accepted for use by the Governor, then acceptance by the State legislature, by means of the adoption of a concurrent resolution, shall be sufficient to provide funding to such State.

(c) DISTRIBUTION. After the adoption of a State legislature's concurrent resolution, funding to the State will be for distribution to local governments, councils of government, public entities, and public-private entities within the State either by formula or at the State's discretion.

As of press time, according to, only twelve states have had requests filed, by their governor’s for this. Texas Republican Governor Rick “Good Hair” Perry, had publicly stated that his state wouldn’t accept funding for unemployment benefits, part of ARRA, but was one of the first to file under ARRA.

As of press time, a total of fifteen states: New Hampshire, Maryland, Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Michigan, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Virginia, Maine and Colorado have set up web pages, called state recovery sites.

One would think that the state Governors would be drafting their letters and getting them to Washington, D.C. quickly to ensure their piece of the “stimulus pie” - $787 billion dollars.

In an interview with the soon-to-be out of business Tucson Citizen, Congressman Raul Grijalva, D-Tucson, said that the stimulus funding should be accepted.

“To reject all or some of the funding will cost more jobs and retain all of the drastic cuts in education and health care programs already enacted at the state house, Grijalva said. “We cannot allow this to become a political-ideological issue.”

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Tucson, said in an interview with the Tucson Citizen, “The intent of the stimulus package is to save jobs and provide funds for infrastructure, health care, education and a host of programs that are endangered by the economy and budget cuts enacted by the Arizona Legislature to cope with a $1.6 billion deficit,” adding, “the stimulus funding is different from bailout money approved for financial institutions and automakers in that the funds will provide benefits to average citizens who will feel the impacts of state budget cuts the most.”

"We're passing money to the states so they don't have to cut their budgets" so drastically, Giffords said.

So what does Arizona’s accidental Governor, Republican Jan Brewer feel about the ARRA? Like most Republicans, she doesn’t, stating in an interview that she will consult with legislative Republicans on how to use - or whether to accept - the stimulus money. Right, the Republican led Arizona Legislature, who can’t get the people’s work done in 100 days and with a 45-day deadline (April 3), whom are we kidding?!

In an editorial in the Sunday, March 1 edition of the Arizona Republic, they state that "Gov. Jan Brewer needs to help make Arizona a contender for billions of dollars in federal discretionary spending and grants.”

" ... Next door in California, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is making a muscular bid for every possible dollar. He's "more than happy" to take any cash that his fellow Republican governors turn down. If Arizona falters, other states will get our share ...” the editorial goes on to state. To paraphrase the quote from the movie "Caddyshack,” "Well, we're waiting!"

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