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Accounting for jobs in the stimulus cash

In order to comply with new transparency requirements under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, state governments across the country are scrambling to report to the public how they spend recovery dollars. Unfortunately, no existing state government Web sites that are accounting for the recovery funds report the number of jobs created by private contractors. Without such data, the sites are close to meaningless.

Fortunately, Oregon is leading an effort to require contractors to report the number of jobs they create, as well as the hours worked and wages received by their employees. These proposed requirements would ensure Oregonians' tax money actually goes toward creating quality jobs.

Concerns raised about black access to stimulus funding

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 opportunity pot.

Democrats propose oversight processes for stimulus, TARP funds

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.

OR's Big Idea: Protect Stimulus Dollars with Contractor Reform


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.

National experts visit Oregon to testify in support of precedent-setting transparency legislation

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.

Obama Allows California to Adopt Car Emission Standards - New Day for State Regulatory Authority

In a positive step forward for federal respect of state regulatory powers, President Obama directed the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to reconsider a previously denied waiver to allow California to set more stringent auto emissions and fuel efficiency standards than required by federal law.  In a statement by the White House, President Obama said "the federal government must work with, not against, states to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."  The directive represents not only greater respect for state authority, but also a sharp break from the climate policies of President Obama's predecessor.