To: Interested Parties
Fr: White House Communications
Da: April 22, 2009
Re: The Obama-Biden economic plan: creating jobs, strengthening the economy for Kansas 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 Kansas in the first three months of his administration.
IMPACT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ECONOMIC POLICIES ON KANSAS
- Making Work Pay: The President’s tax-cut – which covers more Americans than any in history – is putting more than $500 million back in the pockets of more than 1 million hard-working Kansas families.
- $18,415,435 to support child care for working families.
- $23,645,800 in block grants to foster energy efficiency in building, transportation, and a wide range of other improvements.
- $56,441,771 to support the weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment.
- $38,284,000 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.
- $671,880,027 potentially available to Kansas 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.
- $2,600,000 to fund 2 new Community Health Centers, which will serve an estimated 14,070 patients and create a projected 105 jobs.
- $3,107,935 to expand services at 13 existing Community Health Centers, which will expand service to an additional 38,119 patients and create or save a projected 49 jobs.
- $865,164 to provide meals to low-income seniors.
- $71,575,227 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.
- $2,064,374 in vaccines and grants to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need.
- $347,817,167 in highway funds to help build and repair roads and bridges.
- $30,727,408 to repair and build public transportation infrastructure.
- More than $19.9 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 KANSAS
Thanks to the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, real impact is already being felt across the state.
Stimulus Funded Construction "Keeps the People in Towanda Working at the Asphalt Factory." "Eleven streets and bridges in Wichita and neighboring communities have been approved for $16.4 million in facelifts courtesy of the federal economic stimulus act. Local officials agree that the projects will make some worthwhile street improvements and create some jobs, at least temporarily, for the layoff-plagued community. But they have varying views on just how much the spending will do to actually stimulate the local economy and help break the area out of the recession… The list of projects includes the replacement of two bridges in north Sedgwick County, along with street expansions and repavings in and around Wichita, Haysville, Derby and Andover. Wichita council member Jim Skelton, who serves along with Schlapp on the planning board, said he supported the projects because they will make some necessary improvements. Skelton, a longtime proponent of road and bridge projects, said his thought was ‘Let's get the streets fixed.’… Skelton acknowledges that ‘the overall condition of the streets does affect the economy.’ But he said the 47th Street project has the potential to have a much larger effect because it will open up access to land where a developer wants to build a $150 million to $200 million shopping center. ‘The interchange is going to be a new addition creating something out of nothing,’ he said… County Commissioner and planning board member Kelly Parks said he thinks the projects approved this week will stimulate the economy by creating jobs, especially for unemployed aircraft workers. ‘It will put a lot of these workers back to work,’ he said. ‘It keeps the people in Towanda working at the asphalt factory.’ Their paychecks will percolate through the local economy, supporting more jobs in service industries, he said." [Wichita Eagle, 4/18/09]
Bridge Repair in Wichita Will Create Jobs, Save Residents on Flood Insurance. "One of the projects, a bridge over the Chisholm Creek flood control channel at Park City, will help residents throughout the Wichita area keep more money in their pockets, Parks said. The bridge passed inspection as far as being safe for carrying traffic. But flood-control officials say it blocks too much of the water the way it is now, Parks said. ‘It could jeopardize the whole county, (with residents) having to get flood insurance if that bridge is not replaced,‘ he said. Parks is philosophically opposed to the stimulus plan. But he said as long as the money will be spent anyway, the Wichita area might as well get its share. ‘Any time you spend federal money that is out there, it frees up another project (for local funding) or allows us to free up sales tax for something else,’ he said." [Wichita Eagle, 4/18/09]
Wichita Eagle Editorial: Stimulus Funding A Huge Help To State. "Many Kansas GOP lawmakers hate the economic stimulus package engineered by the Democratic Congress and signed by President Obama. But they've got to love how it promises to make the 2010 state budget far easier to craft and pass during the session's 43 remaining days. The expectation of nearly $1 billion coming to the state allowed Kathleen Sebelius, the state's soon-to-be-former governor, to submit a revised 2010 budget Friday that would balance without tax increases. Her proposed spending cuts of $600 million, most already reflected in her original 2010 blueprint, would not be without consequences in the way of closed facilities, eliminated programs and more. But neither would the cuts do the kind of damage that's unavoidable if, say, Senate Republicans barrel ahead with plans to slash an average 10 to 13 percent across state government. ‘This federal money stabilizes things. It keeps us from having to make those cuts that go deeper,’ state budget director Duane Goossen told The Eagle editorial board. State leaders were wise not to count on receiving stimulus money until it started flowing, as it did last week in the form of $71.5 million more for Medicaid. And they will need to use the cash with caution, like the one-time infusion it is. With scrutiny, maybe some of the stipulations will prove too problematic. But it's hard to argue with at least those outlined Friday: An additional $430 million would be available for Medicaid, for example, on the condition that eligibility standards not be cut. Maintaining K-12 school funding at fiscal 2009 levels and restoring higher education to fiscal 2008 levels would entitle the state to $367 million in stimulus money. Not cutting special education would access another $107 million. Millions more would serve public safety and fund unemployment benefits. The attached strings are in keeping with the point of including money for states in the federal stimulus: to safeguard jobs and public services and strengthen states' self-defenses against the darkening recession. It's one thing for Republicans to dislike the stimulus as a whole. Most do, because of the size and nature of the spending in the bill and the additional federal debt it will incur. Certainly the five Kansas Republicans in Congress have had few kind words for the effort, which they proudly voted against. But it should not be treated as ‘funny money,’ as House Speaker Mike O'Neal, R-Hutchinson, has referred to it. The cash is real, all right -- meant to be spent helping Kansans endure the downturn and helping Kansas rebound." [Editorial, Wichita Eagle, 3/1/09]
$35.4 Million In Stimulus Funding To Help Fix Aging Water Infrastructure Across Kansas. "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has allocated $35.4 million from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for wastewater projects. The money will help improve aging water infrastructure and protect human health and the environment for Kansans, EPA’s Region 7 said in a Thursday release. ‘This funding will go a long way toward fixing aging infrastructure in urban and rural communities in the region,’ William Rice, acting regional administrator for Region 7, said in the release. ‘Clean water is essential for both healthy communities and healthy local economies. These funds will help fix aging infrastructure and provide good-paying jobs.’ The money will go to the state’s Clean Water State Revolving Fund program, which provides low- interest loans for water quality protection projects for wastewater treatment, non-point source pollution control, and watershed and estuary management." [Kansas Business Journal, 4/17/09]
Kansas Will Receive $1.73 Million In Stimulus Finds To Support Clean Diesel Projects. "The Kansas Department of Health and Environment will receive $1.73 million from the Environmental Protection Agency to help support clean diesel projects. The money is part of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds being allocated to each state by the EPA. A total of $88.2 million was distributed equally to all 50 states and the District of Columbia with the express purpose of cutting diesel emissions. ‘Diesel emissions contribute greatly to the formation of ground-level ozone, which can trigger asthma and other serious respiratory conditions,’ said KDHE Secretary Roderick Bremby, in a written statement. ‘Reducing diesel emissions means fewer lost work days and premature deaths.’" [Wichita Business Journal, 4/13/09]
Recovery Act Funding "Is Making a Positive Difference for Economically Disadvantaged Kansans." "Economic stimulus funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is making a positive difference for economically disadvantaged Kansans, including those in Miami County. Richard Jackson, chief executive officer of the East Central Kansas Economic Opportunity Corporation, a community action agency, spoke in a Friday telephone interview about several programs in the works. One existing ECKAN programs that will receive stimulus funding is a weatherization program for low-income residents in Anderson, Butler, Chase, Coffey, Douglas, Franklin, Greenwood, Harvey, Lyon, Marion, Miami, Osage and Wyandotte counties. ‘We’ve done weatherization in the past, and now there’s considerably more money for that than what has been available in the past,’ he said." [Louisburg Herald (KS), 4/15/09]
Kansas Will Direct 25% of Stimulus Funding to Widening US 69 in Overland Park. "Kansas will widen U.S. 69 to remove a bottleneck outside Kansas City, along with a few other expensive projects… Kansas decided to concentrate its money on a few new projects that its transportation secretary, Deb Miller, called ‘game changers.’ So it will spend nearly a quarter of its money building the next leg of a project to expand U.S. 69 in Overland Park, a bustling suburb of Kansas City. It will rebuild an interchange in Wichita in an area where developers want to put more retail space, rebuild a rural highway in Gove County that has heavy truck traffic, and complete a 10-year project to improve a corridor in McPherson County where work was stopped because the money had dried up. ‘We wanted to build projects that would have a lasting impact, so that 20 years later people could look at them and see what we did,’ said Ms. Miller, who added that the department was considering making plaques to show that the projects had been paid for by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, the official name of the stimulus law. [NY Times, 3/4/09]
Stimulus Funding For Kansas Clinic Will Be Used To Hire Additional Medical Staff, Expand Financial Assistance For Prescription Drugs And Expand Medical, Dental And Mental Health Access For The Uninsured. "Less than a year after opening its doors, the expanded First Care Clinic is getting a big boost. The clinic is one of two in Kansas to receive funds from President Barack Obama's economic stimulus package. The $1.3 million will be used to expand medical, dental and mental health services for the uninsured. ‘This will allow us to really expand access to everyone in the community,’ said Jodi Schmidt, Hays Medical Center's chief development officer. ‘And we know that in this economic time, more and more people are going to need help with their medical, dental and prescription coverage.’…The stimulus money will be used to hire additional medical staff and expand financial assistance for prescription drugs…With the grant money, the clinic's board of directors also will be looking to hire a chief executive officer and financial officer of its own, said Marilyn Braun, chairwoman of the clinic's board." [Hays Daily News, 3/9/09]
Stimulus Funding Will Help Provide Childcare And Vaccinations For Kansan Children. "Kansas will get $18.4 million for child care and disease prevention for children, and $2.1 million for children’s vaccines, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site. Nationwide, $2 billion in stimulus money for the Child Care and Development Fund will help states support child-care services for working families, those seeking employment or those receiving job training or education." [Kansas City Business Journal, 4/9/09]
Kansas University Received Funding for Health and Science Research, Low-Income Student Scholarships. "With a large pot of federal stimulus money suddenly available and waiting to be spent, one beneficiary of the cash will be Kansas University. The benefit will come in part from large sums of money targeted for federal organizations that fund KU research, as well as more funds available for low-income students who attend college. The National Institutes of Health, the largest single funding source for research on the campus, will have an increased budget of 34 percent from stimulus funds over the next two years, and another major financial source for research at KU, the National Science Foundation, will have a 44 percent increase in available money, said Steve Warren, vice provost for research and graduate studies.The increases mean billions of additional dollars will be available nationwide for research, and KU has already begun to capitalize on the new funds, Warren said…The stimulus bill also increases the tuition tax credit — known as the Hope Scholarship — from an $1,800 maximum to a $2,500 maximum, which can only be claimed for tuition and fees, Cohen said." [Lawrence Journal-World & News, 3/8/09]
Stimulus Money May Help Reduce 3-Month Waiting Period For Shawnee County Health Agency. "Money from the federal economic stimulus program may help reduce the three-month waiting period for people to be treated at the Shawnee County Health Agency. Shawnee County Commissioners today granted special approval to Anne Freeze, the health agency director, to rush an application on its way to Washington for $201,000 over a two-year period to improve the agency's ability to provide health care more quickly. Fast action was needed because the availability of the money was just announced Monday and the deadline for submitting applications is next Monday. Freeze said the extra money likely would be used to extend the hours the health clinic is open. Creating more space for a larger clinic operation will be more difficult in the agency's building at 1615 S.W. 8th, but some offices might be converted to patient examination rooms to allow more patients to be seen." [Topeka Capital Journal, 3/12/09]