MuniLand

Mini stimulus coming?

Mini stimulus for muniland?

The White House has been telegraphing the shape of the proposal that President Obama will make tomorrow in his jobs speech to a joint session of Congress.

It looks like it is a half-sized version of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. The media is reporting that the proposal will be about $300 billion but faces stiff opposition from Republicans in the House. I’d suggest that state and local governments not include these funds in their budgets quite yet. Bloomberg says:

Obama’s jobs plan follows the contours of his $830 billion 2009 economic stimulus package, which also stressed tax cuts, infrastructure spending and assistance to local governments. Still, tax cuts would account for a larger portion of the proposal he will lay out this week.

Much of Obama’s plan may have trouble passing the U.S. House, where leaders of the Republican majority have signaled opposition to new spending that would add to the federal budget deficit. House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio and Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia released a letter to Obama yesterday saying their objections to the 2009 stimulus, which they called a “large, deficit-financed, government spending bill,” have been validated by continued high unemployment.

The direct aid to local governments would focus on halting layoffs of teachers and first responders. Education will be a theme in Obama’s address, and he will also propose as part of his infrastructure program money for school construction. Some of the infrastructure spending would go toward roads, bridges and other surface transportation projects.

Jobs or infrastructure?

America is a high-energy society — that is, we consume a lot of energy. According to Wikipedia the United States has long been the world’s largest producer and consumer of electricity, with a global share in 2005 of at least 25%. This consumption is a primary driver of growth. Energy is our economic blood.

The Energy Information Administration tracks and maps our current and potential energy sources. California is a big importer and converter of petroleum, which you can see in the excellent map above via the purple marks. Dependence on imported oil is something we need to phase out for a number of economic, political and environmental reasons.

The other thing that the map shows is a vast swath of California that is ideally suited for solar power (see the yellow shading in the southeastern area). It’s bloody hot out there, and that heat can create electricity.

Muni sweeps: How much job creation?

Job creation or program pass-through?

The Congressional Budget Office has published a new report entitled “Estimated Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Employment and Economic Output from January 2011 Through March 2011.” It makes some large claims about how many jobs stimulus funds have created:

Various recipients of ARRA funds (most recipients of grants and loans, contractors, and subcontractors) are required to report, after the end of each calendar quarter, the number of jobs funded through ARRA. The law also requires CBO to comment on those reported numbers.

During the first quarter of 2011, recipients reported, ARRA funded more than 571,000 full-time-equivalent (FTE) jobs.

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