To: Interested Parties
Fr: White House Communications
Da: April 22, 2009
Re: The Obama-Biden economic plan: creating jobs, strengthening the economy for Louisiana families
Facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, President Obama started his Presidency with decisive action -- proposing and quickly passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Since the bill went into effect, the ARRA has already helped put money back in the pockets of 95 percent of working Americans, created and saved jobs across the country and made key investments in our community to help kickstart the economy. To ensure that the funds are spent efficiently and effectively, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden with overseeing the implementation of ARRA, and projects have already begun to come in under budget across the country. As the President prepares to introduce the details of his budget and further plans to revitalize the economy, here’s a look at how his policies have impacted Louisiana in the first three months of his administration.
IMPACT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ECONOMIC POLICIES ON LOUISIANA
- Making Work Pay: The President’s tax-cut – which covers more Americans than any in history – is putting more than $800 million back in the pockets of more than 1.6 million hard-working Louisiana families.
- $40,014,134 to support child care for working families.
- $33,623,200 in block grants to foster energy efficiency in building, transportation, and a wide range of other improvements.
- $50,657,478 to support the weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment.
- $71,694,000 to the State Energy Program, available for rebates to consumers for energy saving improvements; development of renewable energy projects; promotion of Energy Star products; efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings; and other innovative state efforts to help save families money on their energy bills.
- $1,172,439,257 potentially available to Louisiana to lay the foundation for a generation of education reform and help save thousands of teaching jobs at risk due to state and local budget cuts.
- $8,649,385 to fund 7 new Community Health Centers, which will serve an estimated 48,870 patients and create a projected 360 jobs.
- $4,885,087 to expand services at 24 existing Community Health Centers, which will expand service to an additional 40,792 patients and create or save a projected 116 jobs.
- $1,285,128 to provide meals to low-income seniors.
- $229,959,088 made available in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to protect health care for the families hit hard by the economic crisis and some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
- $2,395,546 in vaccines and grants to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need.
- $429,859,427 in highway funds to help build and repair roads and bridges.
- $ 65,734,213 to repair and build public transportation infrastructure.
- More than $35.2 million for state and local law enforcement assistance available through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. The JAG Program supports a variety of efforts such as hiring and support for law enforcement officers; multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces; crime prevention and domestic violence programs; and courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives.
REAL RESULTS IN LOUISIANA
Thanks to the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, real impact is already being felt across the state.
Legislative Committee Unanimously Approved Using Nearly $300 Million In Recovery Act Funding For Highway & Bridge Needs; Two Major "Shovel-Ready" Projects In New Orleans Were Included. "At the urging of Senate President Joel Chaisson II, D-Destrehan, on Wednesday a legislative committee unanimously approved using $297 million of federal stimulus money for highway and bridge needs recommended by state highway officials…The two major ‘shovel-ready’ projects in the New Orleans area included in the transportation department recommendations and approved Wednesday are $75 million for the completion of an interchange at Interstate 10 and Causeway Boulevard in East Jefferson, and improvements to three interchanges in St. Tammany Parish: La. 59 and Interstate 12, U.S. 11 and I-12, and Interstate 59 at U.S. 11 and Louisiana 1090. No area project is caught up in the delay of the approval of the $133 million. The panel also approved $119 million for local planning agencies to spend on local and parish road improvements, including $29 million for the New Orleans area. The panel also approved about $13 million in ‘enhancements,’ such as sidewalks and bike paths, around the state." [New Orleans Times-Picayune, 3/5/09]
Louisiana Official Called Stimulus Funding For Energy Efficient Homes "Unprecedented." "Louisiana is expected to get $122.3 million in federal economic recovery money to improve the energy efficiency of the homes, government buildings and public transportation over the next three years and to jump start renewable energy projects for electricity generation. The funds should create scores of new jobs for tradesmen willing to learn green building practices. It will also help moderate-income households around the state improve the energy-efficiency of their homes and lower their utility bills. Normally, the federal government provides Louisiana with about $2 million a year to help people who make up to 150 percent of the federal poverty line install insulation and upgrade their heating and air-conditioning systems. The Weatherization Assistance Program, which is administered by the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, has traditionally allowed the state to spend about $3,000 per home. But the newly passed federal stimulus package allows the housing finance agency to spend up to $6,500 per home for families making up to 200 percent of the federal poverty level. Over the next three years, the housing finance agency hopes to weatherize about 6,000 homes. It also hopes to use some of the money to improve the energy-efficiency of apartments so renters can also benefit from lower utility bills. ‘What's the word? Unprecedented,’ said Charlette Minor, program administrator for the energy, home and neighborhood stabilization program at the Louisiana Housing Finance Agency, which will administer $50.6 million of the money. ‘For us as an agency to be able to reach so many families who need that assistance to get their energy costs reduced is incredible.’" [Louisiana, 3/16/09]
Stimulus Funds Saved and Expanded Shreveport’s Youth Employment Program. "The economic rescue funds will save a youth employment program that helps young people get jobs. Just last summer, Charles Johnson, was one of 300 young people who got a job through Shreveport's youth employment program. ‘It’s hands on. You work with people who make decisions in the community,’ Johnson said. Johnson worked at AB Palmer park for the neighborhood assistance team. The group works with Shreveport police to solve community problems. ‘People you worked with made it a passion to mentor you,’ Johnson said. It's an opportunity that nearly vanished. The city cut the $300,000 summer youth employment program from this year’s budget. But $1.3 million in stimulus cash saved and expanded it to help about 1,000 young people this summer. ‘They develop and cultivate the employment skills that allow them to set paths,’ Mayor Cedric Glover said." [KTAL NewsChannel 6, 3/27/09]
Shreveport Will Purchase 5 Compressed Natural Gas Buses With $4.7 Million In Stimulus Funds. "The city of Shreveport will buy five new compressed natural gas buses with $4.7 million in federal economic stimulus money. Sportran Director Gene Eddy said the buses will be cheaper to run than diesel buses and the hybrid buses the city bought three years ago. The new buses are expected to be in service sometime next year. The CNG buses will have bike racks on them, Mayor Cedric Glover said. A fueling station will be paid for with stimulus money." [KTBS, 3/25/09]
Recovery Act Will Provide $51 Million to Upgrade Military Facilities Across Louisiana. "President Obama's stimulus bill provides $51 million for military bases across Louisiana, including money for maintenance projects at Barksdale Air Force Base, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said. Landrieu said the projects will make upgrades at Fort Polk, Camp Beauregard and Belle Chasse. Barksdale is in line to get more than $14 million for upgrades to airfield lighting and pavement, new water lines, and central air and heat systems in several buildings on the base. Improvements to Fort Polk include roof repairs, road improvements and renovation of dining facilities, Landrieu said. ‘These projects will repair and modernize Louisiana military facilities for our active duty, guard and reserve troops who work each day to keep us safe,’ Landrieu said in a statement." [KTBS-TV, 3/23/09]
Stimulus Funding To Provide Big Brothers, Big Sisters In Louisiana With More Mentors For Children. "An estimated $200,000 will be put to good use by the four Big Brothers, Big Sisters agencies in Louisiana. One of those agencies is right here in Lake Charles, and its Executive Director Fred Rickman, says that Southwest Louisiana could receive around $40,000, which could provide at least 10 children with a big brother or sister. "That's ten kids," said Rickman, "It could be fifty kids depending on the impact of our message and how it brings people to the agency." And the people they need most are volunteers, and with the money Big Brothers, Big Sisters will receive, they hope to recruit even more big brothers and sisters." [KPLC-TV, 3/17/09]