President Barack Obama's $787 billion federal stimulus package, now
known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, is
designed to jumpstart the nation's failing economy not only through
grants and middle-class tax cuts, but by funding state ''shovel-ready''
construction projects that will hopefully produce thousands of jobs and
small business opportunities, especially in the black community.
Just last week, Pres. Obama unveiled new proposals to allow small
businesses easier access to loans and capital through the US Small
Business Administration in an effort to empower them to take better
advantage of stimulus package opportunities.
But even before North Carolina fully determines how to distribute
its $6.1 billion in federal stimulus funding, questions are being
raised as to how African-Americans can best access their share of the
This Dispatch will outline how funds allocated in the ARRA aim to support broadband initiatives and how states can leverage broadband to create efficiencies, increase opportunities and begin to bridge a major resource divide in our country by implementing progressive broadband initiatives.
PORTLAND, Ore. (NNPA) - Rep. Chip Shields (D-Portland) this week
introduced a bipartisan bill that would provide oversight of how
state-chartered banks are spending money disbursed through the Troubled
Assets Relief Program (TARP).
The move comes at the same time another new bill would create a
statewide “stimulus czar” to oversee the influx of money expected from
President Barack Obama’s economic plan.
If passed, Shields’ House Bill 2784 would convene a bipartisan
group of Oregon state senators and representatives, as well as members
of the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services and
representatives of the financial industry, to provide oversight and
evaluate the need for regulation of operations of financial
institutions licensed, certified or chartered in this state that
receive funds from the TARP program.
The Center for American Progress has a new interactive map to view the unemployment numbers in each state
Harvesting Low-Hanging Energy Savings -
Families and businesses fail to invest in energy efficiency for a
variety of reasons: utility companies discourage it since their profits
are often tied to electricity sold or landlords often don't profit from
efficiency investments. This Center for American Progress
report highlights how "energy efficiency resource standards" - adopted
in 18 states - can generate real energy savings for consumers.
Metropolitan Recovery and Spending Priorities - This series of papers by the Brookings Institution
suggests how the federal budget plan and recovery package might affect
the metropolitan drivers of national prosperity, including innovation,
human capital, infrastructure, and sustainable places.
On Thursday, the official unemployment rate climbed to 8.1% nationwide as employers shed an additional 651,00 workers last month. Add in sharp rises in the number of involuntary part-time and long-time discouraged workers, and the unemployment rate rose to 14.8%. While long-term job growth is the goal of the recovery package, states need to, and some are already stepping up to, address the immediate needs of the unemployed. This Dispatch emphasizes key programs states can take advantage of to help their unemployed workers.
Salem, OR - Representatives of some national "good government" groups will be in Salem today for the first hearing on two bills that would tighten requirements for who gets government contracts and how they use the money. The Oregon legislation could be used by other states that are looking for ways to track job creation and increase accountability.
In fact, Oregon has some ideas that other states may soon be anxious to copy. This morning, a House committee in Salem discusses two bills that propose turning up the heat on government contractors by setting quality standards and tracking their progress. With billions of dollars of federal stimulus money at stake — and a president who says it must be used to create jobs — states are scrambling to figure out how to meet federal requirements.
Ever since Steve Watson had his first job at age 16 picking
asparagus, he's paid his taxes. And he's always wanted to ensure the
government spends his money wisely.
So naturally, when the 53-year-old heard that President Barack
Obama pledged a new era of transparency with his 3-week-old $787
billion stimulus package, Watson was glad he could log online and check
how every dollar was spent.
Salem, OR — Amidst renewed calls from the Obama administration
for accountability from private contractors on the federal level, the
Oregon State House of Representatives is considering a bill that would
far outstrip the contractor accountability provisions maintained by any
state governments to date.
This Monday at 8am, leading transparency experts from the national
Coalition for an Accountable Recovery (CAR) will testified before the
Oregon House Business and Labor Committee in support of the bill, HB
2037, which would require private contractors in Oregon to disclose the
number of employees and the wages, they pay. This is especially
important with the federal government requiring transparency on jobs
created through the $6.48 billion in federal funds set aside for Oregon
under the recovery plan.