The White House is making the case for passing a stimulus plan by highlighting its potential benefits on a state-by-state basis.
President Barack Obama’s economic advisor Brian Deese has released a fact sheet(.pdf) on all 50 states. In Montana, the plan would be “creating or saving 12,300 jobs over the next two years” and providing a “tax cut of up to $1,000 for 320,000 workers and their families,” according to Deese.
Ben Smith, of POLITICO, points out what some states might do with the money. He argues that many of them are facing budget shortfalls and will simply use its share of the stimulus to make up the difference and save jobs that would otherwise be cut.
So much of the stimulus is just, directly or indirectly, replacing spending that, last year, was carried by the states. That doesn’t in any way undercut the argument for doing it. But it does help explain why so little of it is on sexy new initiatives, and why governors are so desperate to see it pass.
Montana is in a unique position in that it has a projected budget surplus, albeit a dwindling one. So, in theory, it could use a larger portion of its share (projected at $687 million) to improve infrastructure across the state.
Still, the plan appears to be up against a growing opposition as the overall price tag swells – now closing in on $900 billion – and a public relations battle over its merits intensifies.
Below is the stimulus plan’s impact on Montana, according to the Obama administration:
AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT PLAN:
THE IMPACT FOR MONTANA
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan is a nationwide effort to create jobs, jumpstart growth and transform our economy for the 21st century. Across the country, this plan will help businesses create jobs and families afford their bills while laying a foundation for future economic growth in key areas like health care, clean energy, education and a 21st century infrastructure. In Montana, this plan will deliver immediate, tangible impacts, including:
• Creating or saving 12,300 jobs over the next two years. Jobs created will be in a range of industries from clean energy to health care, with over 90% in the private sector. [Source: White House Estimate based on Romer and Bernstein, “The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan.” January 9, 2009.]
• Providing a making work pay tax cut of up to $1,000 for 320,000 workers and their families. The plan will make a down payment on the President’s Making Work Pay tax cut for 95% of workers and their families, designed to pay out immediately into workers’ paychecks. [Source: White House Estimate based on IRS Statistics of Income]
• Making 12,000 families eligible for a new American Opportunity Tax Credit to make college affordable. By creating a new $2,500 partially refundable tax credit for four years of college, this plan will give 3.8 million families nationwide – and 12,000 families in Montana – new assistance to put college within their reach. [Source: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities analysis of U.S. Census data]
• Offering an additional $100 per month in unemployment insurance benefits to 53,000 workers in Montana who have lost their jobs in this recession, and providing extended unemployment benefits to an additional 10,000 laid-off workers. [Source: National Employment Law Project]
• Providing funding sufficient to modernize at least 32 schools in Montana so our children have the labs, classrooms and libraries they need to compete in the 21st century economy. [Source: White House Estimate]
In addition to this immediate assistance for Montana, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will help transform our economy by:
• Doubling renewable energy generating capacity over three years, creating enough renewable energy to power 6 million American homes.
• Computerizing every American’s health record in five years, reducing medical errors and saving billions of dollars in health care costs.
• Launching the most ambitious school modernization program on record, sufficient to upgrade 10,000 schools.
• Enacting the largest investment increase in our nation’s roads, bridges and mass transit systems since the creation of the national highway system in the 1950s.
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