To: Interested Parties
Fr: White House Communications
Da: April 22, 2009
Re: The Obama-Biden economic plan: creating jobs, strengthening the economy for Georgia 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 Georgia in the first three months of his administration.
IMPACT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ECONOMIC POLICIES ON GEORGIA
- Making Work Pay: The President’s tax-cut – which covers more Americans than any in history – is putting more than $1.7 billion back in the pockets of more than 3.4 million hard-working Georgia families.
- $82,847,053 to support child care for working families.
- $67,187,600 in block grants to foster energy efficiency in building, transportation, and a wide range of other improvements.
- $124,756,312 to support the weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment.
- $82,495,000 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.
- $2,385,577,195 potentially available to Georgia 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.
- $4,936,690 to fund 4 new Community Health Centers, which will serve an estimated 31,420 patients and create a projected 235 jobs.
- $6,964,291 to expand services at 28 existing Community Health Centers, which will expand service to an additional 45,191 patients and create or save a projected 101 jobs.
- $2,426,012 to provide meals to low-income seniors.
- $339,608,197 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.
- $6,286,143 in vaccines and grants to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need.
- $931,585,680 in highway funds to help build and repair roads and bridges.
- $143,561,526 to repair and build public transportation infrastructure.
- $8,284,000 to address airport safety and security, infrastructure, runway safety, increased capacity, and mitigation of environmental impacts.
- More than $59 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 GEORGIA
Thanks to the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, real impact is already being felt across the state.
Savannah River Site Will Receive $1.615 Billion In Stimulus Funds To Create 3,000 Jobs. "Savannah River Site will receive $1.615 billion from President Obama’s economic stimulus package, according to U.S. Energy Secretary Stephen Chu. The allocation, which will create about 3,000 jobs and speed up cleanup of contaminated areas, is part of $6 billion in environmental funding that will be distributed to similar sites in 12 states. SRS, with pending projects that include decommissioning two nuclear material production reactors, is second only to the Hanford Site in Washington in the amout of funding it will receive." [Augusta Chronicle, 3/31/09]
Thanks to Stimulus Funding, DeKalb County Weatherization Companies Are Hiring More People and Weatherizing More Homes. "Philip Pennyman warmed his wife and three children with logs in the fireplace last winter because he couldn’t afford to use the furnace. Rob Brondell burned through his retirement savings because he’d lost his job. Their lives intersected in a beneficial way through the federal stimulus plan. Brondell found work weatherizing homes —- including Pennyman’s —- while Pennyman qualified for the government-funded improvements. He said he can’t hold a job because of an incident that left him wheelchair-bound three years ago, and said he stopped using heat after his electric and gas bills reached $700 one month. ‘They said I was losing a lot of energy,’ Pennyman said, as he watched a half dozen workmen scurry about his ranch-style house in south DeKalb County on Wednesday. He used to be able to poke a finger between the outside door to his master bedroom and its frame, but now it was sealed tight against the wind. Pennyman and Brondell are benefitting from $8 million in grants that the Clarkston-based Partnership for Community Action is expecting from Washington over the next three years. Agency president Mohammad Saleem said the stimulus should allow him to increase the number of houses he weatherizes in DeKalb and three nearby counties from about 240 a year to nearly 700… Saleem’s organization, which gets regular federal funding, is spending its annual weatherization budget at a faster pace, anticipating the boost in government spending, said Paul Najjar, who runs Saleem’s weatherization program. That has allowed Saleem’s three contractors to expand their work crews, satisfying one goal of the stimulus legislation: job creation. Bob Bird, owner of Bird Family Insulation, said he has hired four men and hopes to hire three more workers." [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 4/20/09]
Stimulus Funding For Georgia Road Projects Expected To Create 25,000 Private Sector Jobs. "Private road contractors are expected to hire 25,000 workers beginning in June for the road improvement projects across Georgia that the federal stimulus money is going to fund. Georgia's Department of Transportation announced Friday evening the list of 49 road projects that will get the first $111 Million of the stimulus money that's coming to the DOT. Those contracts will be awarded in early June. The first of the 25,000 workers will be hired for those projects. Also this summer, and then into the fall, the DOT will award an additional $401 Million in contracts -- also funded by federal stimulus funds -- for 86 more road projects. Private contractors hire more workers for those projects. That's not all. By December, the DOT will come up with a list of even more road projects, requiring addtional workers. Those projects will be funded by an additional $343 Million in federal stimulus money. ‘Well, it's a jobs program,’ said DOT Press Secretary David Spear. ‘The added benefit for us is that it allows us to do some work that we couldn't otherwise afford.... We hope and expect that the stimulus program will generate 25,000 new jobs in Georgia. And that's huge. Not DOT jobs, but private-sector jobs.’" [NBC-11, 4/18/09]
Georgia Legislators Approved A Budget Deal That Uses More Than $1.3 Billion In Federal Stimulus Money To Balance In Fiscal Year 2010 And Avoids New Health Insurance Premium Increases For 225,000 Teachers And State Employees. "House and Senate negotiators approved an $18.6 billion budget deal Friday that avoids new health insurance premium increases for 225,000 teachers and state employees. It also uses federal stimulus money to fill holes in the budget for Medicaid, the health care program for the poor and disabled. In all, the state budget uses more than $1.3 billion in federal stimulus money to balance in fiscal 2010, which begins July 1. It includes $1.2 billion in borrowing for construction projects, mostly for schools and libraries." [Atlanta Journal Constitution, 4/3/09]
Stimulus Helped Georgia Retain School Nurses. "Final adjournment of the 2009 session of the Georgia General Assembly came at the stroke of midnight Friday, April 3... The plan addresses Georgia’s $3 billion revenue shortfall with spending cuts that average 8 percent, along with $1.3 billion in federal stimulus funding. Legislative budget writers were able to restore cuts to Medicaid and avoid health care provider fees that would have had severe effects on rural hospitals and medical care for low-income Georgians. About $30 million was restored to continue funding nurses in the state’s public schools." [The Forest Blade, 4/14/09]
Governor Perdue Certified 67 Road and Bridge Projects to Move Forward With Stimulus Funds. "Governor Sonny Perdue has certified more than $200 million federal stimulus projects — more that $16 million of which is headed for Southwest Georgia road and bridge projects — state officials say. In total, 67 road and bridge projects prioritized by the Georgia Department of Transportation will move forward. Described by GDOT as phase one, the state expects to receive more than $1 billion from the federal government for the projects when the last dollars come rolling in later this year. [Albany Herald, 4/13/09]
Cleveland Bypass Project Resurrected Because Of Prospect Of Stimulus Funding. "In a stunning turn of events, the Georgia Department of Transportation (DOT) informed White County officials by letter on Wednesday that they planned to move forward and acquire the necessary right of way for the seemingly defunct Cleveland bypass project. ‘We're excited,’ said White County Commission Chairman Travis Turner. ‘This is a step in the right direction in making the bypass a reality one day. The bypass will not only help with traffic, but also, I believe, be a financial boost to the White County economy, with new businesses and so on.’ Turner said local and state elected officials, as well as DOT representatives, have been working diligently during the past several weeks to move the 4.76-mile bypass project forward…The Cleveland bypass project has been in the works for more than 10 years. Last year, the county was informed that DOT funds were scarce and that the bypass project would be suspended indefinitely. Then, with the federal stimulus package promising funds to states to rebuild infrastructure, county governments like White County perked up." [White County News, 4/16/09]
Georgia Department of Transportation Estimates That Ten Thousand People Could Be Employed by the More Than One Hundred Approved Stimulus-Funded Road Projects to Be Undertaken in the State. "Ten thousand people could be back to work in Georgia by the start of summer. The state Department of Transportation has released a list of more than 100 road projects that have gotten the green light under our share of the federal stimulus plan money. It's money that will be used to create much-needed jobs. In just a matter of a few months, construction will begin on 130 road projects all over the state. From the cities to the suburbs more than half a billion dollars will bring new life to stalled improvements, along with new jobs to hard hit communities. ‘We consciously decided to focus on smaller jobs,’ said GDOT spokesman David Spear. ‘And spread them out across the state so we could generate more jobs for more unemployed people, as opposed to two or three mega jobs in the metropolitan area that would benefit one sector of the economy but not spread the job creation out across the state.’" [11Alive.com, 3/19/09]
Atlanta Journal Constitution: Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance Director Said The Stimulus Money For Georgia’s Energy Conservation Industry Is An "Unprecedented Opportunity To Build A Market For Energy Efficiency And Help Consumers Manage Their Energy Bills." "A coming flood of federal stimulus money for Georgia's energy-conservation industry has state officials scrambling to line up their buckets. Small government offices have until Monday to draw up plans for spending more than $200 million in new energy dollars announced two weeks ago. And on Thursday, the U.S. Department of Energy announced even more energy money headed into the state. To conservation advocates, it's manna from heaven. ‘We have an unprecedented opportunity to build a market for energy efficiency and help consumers manage their energy bills,’ said John Sibley, program director for the Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance…Energy efficiency advocates are both thrilled with the funding spike and aware that Georgia isn't quite ready for it. ‘We're going to have to develop additional infrastructure in Georgia in order to spend this money well,’ said Sibley of the Energy Efficiency Alliance. He said the state would need to train people to install conservation tools and equipment, as the state begins to do energy-efficiency work on a bigger scale." [Atlanta-Journal Constitution, 3/29/09]
Budget for Georgia Program to Find Summer Jobs For Young People Being Doubled Thanks To Recovery Act Funding. "Among the first people to benefit from the stimulus package across Middle Georgia may be young people from low-income families who are searching for summer work. The state’s budget for the Summer Training and Employment Program – Unlimited Potential (STEP UP) is being doubled to $26,657,415 with funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The target is to find summer jobs for 10,253 young people, ages 14-24, across the state. The normal top age is 21, but it was expanded to 24 with the additional stimulus funding this year. ‘This will be a tremendous help to us and opportunity for the young people we serve,’ said Don McRae, executive director of the Middle Georgia Consortium, one of 20 agencies across the state that administer the youth program. ‘Our budget is doubling to $773,713, so we’ll be able to hire 298 young people, twice the number we usually help,’ he said…In Bibb County, the program is administered by the Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development. Its budget for the summer youth jobs program is also being doubled to $633,718. ‘Our target is to find jobs for 600 to 650 young people,’ said Shermesa Saffold, a youth career counselor in the office." [Macon Telegraph (GA), 4/7/09]
Understaffed Albany Police Department Applying for Funding to Hire Additional 30 Officers. "The Albany Police Department is applying for federal stimulus money to hire 30 more officers to patrol the streets. If approved, the grant money will pay for the salaries and benefits for those officers for three years, then the city will be required to pick up the tab for at least one additional year. According to a formula based on the number of calls to police, the organization APD will still be understaffed, but the grant just may give them the springboard they need to get up to speed. By that formula, the city is short by more than 100. ’We are in desperate need of the officers,’ said interim Chief Wilma Griffin. There were 155,000 calls for service in 2008, and for that many calls, 198 patrol officers are needed. Today, there are only 53 sworn beat officers. Commissioner Bob Langstaff said, ‘This is just a great opportunity to get our staffing up to where it needs to be.’" [WALB (Albany, GA), 4/7/09]
Stimulus Money Will Complete Renovations of a Seniors Apartment Building That Had Been Put on Hold. "It’s good news for the Augusta Housing Authority. Especially when they’ll have $6.1 million to put towards a huge project that was on hold, but not anymore. For the past 11 years, Peabody Apartments on Walton Way has been home for Virginia Lequeux. Virginia Lequeux, lives in Peabody Apartments: ‘My whole apartment, I mean I’ve been blessed…blessed.’ Just recently she was upgraded to a newly renovated floor. New security cameras, laundry facility and even a dishwasher in her apartment. Up until about a year ago, that was the plan for the whole building…but then the money ran out. Richard Arfman, Augusta Housing Authority, Director of Planning and Development: ‘It was first built back in 1967 and there are 250 units in there and it’s designated for seniors. So it was built in ‘67, some of the insides needed some work done, especially the plumbing, mechanical and electrical systems.’ But things are looking up again for this public housing high rise. $6.1 million was given to Augusta’s Housing Authority…just enough to finish renovations to the remaining 6 floors. Arfman: ‘This is a good match, the units have never been renovated so we want to stay competitive with the private market and the units look great’… Construction for Peabody Apartments will resume in July, and they expect to be completely finished in about 2 and a half years." [WJBF, 3/5/09]