To: Interested Parties
Fr: White House Communications
Da: April 22, 2009
Re: The Obama-Biden economic plan: creating jobs, strengthening the economy for Maine 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 Maine in the first three months of his administration.
IMPACT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA’S ECONOMIC POLICIES ON MAINE
- Making Work Pay: The President’s tax-cut – which covers more Americans than any in history – is putting more than $300 million back in the pockets of more than 500,000 hard-working Maine families.
- $6,757,951 to support child care for working families.
- $11,281,300 in block grants to foster energy efficiency in building, transportation, and a wide range of other improvements.
- $41,935,015 to support the weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment.
- $27,305,000 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.
- $307,765,486 potentially available to Maine 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.
- $2,590,713 to fund 2 new Community Health Centers, which will serve an estimated 11,170 patients and create a projected 85 jobs.
- $3,345,917 to expand services at 18 existing Community Health Centers, which will expand service to an additional 11,862 patients and create or save a projected 62 jobs.
- $485,000 to provide meals to low-income seniors.
- $94,547,202 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.
- $914,194 in vaccines and grants to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need.
- $130,752,032 in highway funds to help build and repair roads and bridges.
- $ 13,266,106 to repair and build public transportation infrastructure.
- $5,500,000 to address airport safety and security, infrastructure, runway safety, increased capacity, and mitigation of environmental impacts.
- More than $9.6 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 MAINE
Thanks to the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, real impact is already being felt across the state.
Pike Industries Was Awarded $31.5 Million Contract for Maine’s First Stimulus Project – Said It Would Hire 100 Workers In Addition to Subcontractors. "Pike Industries office in Lewiston has received the $31.5 million contract to rebuild the northbound lanes of I-295 between Brunswick and Gardiner. The New Hampshire-based company currently employs 250 in Maine and said it plans to hire as many as 100 more for the project, according to the Portland Press Herald. The project will also provide jobs for hundreds more. Pike's regional manager told the paper that the company will need to contract roughly 75 independent dump truck operators for the project. It will also hire subcontractors for specific projects, such as Main Line Fence Co. in Cumberland for the guardrails and Cianbro Corp. in Pittsfield for the bridge work, according to the paper. The project will be the first in Maine funded by the $787 billion federal stimulus package. In total, Maine will receive roughly $162 million for transportation projects." [MaineBiz Online, 2/27/09]
Stimulus Will Allow Constriction Company To Keep 50 Workers To Keep Their Jobs. "The federal stimulus plan is putting hard hats to work on the highways of Maine, Rhode Island and Maryland, at least for now. They are some of the first beneficiaries of the U.S. government's stimulus plan to create jobs and rebuild the nation's transportation infrastructure. Hiring is brisk, but some contractors wonder if it will see them through the recession. ‘The stimulus jobs in Maine will allow us to keep about 50 people we would have let go, and we're hiring 50 people more," said Christian Zimmermann, president of Pike Industries, a construction company that was recently awarded $31.5 million to repave a 24-mile section of Interstate 295, between Brunswick and Augusta." [CNN Money, 3/17/09]
$4.2 Million In Stimulus Funding Will Help Bring Summer Jobs For Youth Through Greater Gardiner Boys and Girls Club. "Federal stimulus money the state receives for youth employment will help teens at the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Gardiner and elsewhere this summer. The state is expecting $4.2 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for youth employment services. The money is for people younger than 25 and will provide participants with the opportunity to learn job skills. ‘We have kids coming in here looking for work and, at this point, we don't have a lot of summer jobs. So what it can offer at our end is more employment opportunities for the age group we serve, 14- to 18-year-olds,’ said Ingrid Stanchfield, chief professional officer of the Boys and Girls Club." [Kennebec Journal, 4/20/09]
Stimulus Funds Will Create Several Hundred Jobs in Maine For Home Weatherization. Members of Maine's Congressional delegation have announced the release of $69 million in energy efficiency funding for the state. The first installment of the federal stimulus money will be destined for Maine in the next few days. And it's expected to create several hundred jobs and weatherize thousands of homes. In a typical year, about 800 Maine homeowners might qualify and receive weatherization assistance from the federal government. Last year the state was allotted about $6 million for this purpose. But as a result of the federal stimulus package, Maine is getting a cash infusion: $27 million for the State Energy Program, known as Efficiency Maine, and $42 million for weatherization. Dan Simpson of the Maine Housing Authority says that means four times as many houses can get their leaks plugged, insulation added and more efficient heating systems installed. [Maine Public Broadcasting Network, 3/12/09]
Upgrades to the Nation’s Oldest Veterans Facility Will Be Bolstered By Stimulus Funds. "The nation's oldest veterans facility is in the midst of major upgrades, a plan that will be bolstered by more than $13 million in federal economic stimulus money. Ryan Lilly, associate director for the Togus Veterans Administration Medical Center east of Augusta, said many projects are under way as part of a current $40 million plan to improve the facility. ‘We're renovating an 1860s original campus into 21st century health care,’ he said during a recent tour of the massive complex. And with an additional $13 million in stimulus money, Togus will be able to construct private bathrooms for inpatient wards ($6.7 million), complete repairs for a new mental health unit ($400,000) and build a new heating and cooling system that uses biomass rather than oil ($6.2 million)… Lilly said it's time for significant updates at Togus, particularly because many of the buildings now in use were built in the 1930s and 1940s. ‘For years, infrastructure funding at the VA just was not there," he said. "There's a lot of pent up demand for infrastructure.’" [Kennebec Journal, 4/12/09]
Two Maine Health Centers to Get Stimulus Funds. Maine's congressional delegation says two health centers in Maine will be receiving more than $2.5 million in stimulus funds. In a release today in conjunction with President Obama, Maine Senators Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe, and Representatives Mike Michaud and Chelie Pingree announced that $2,590,713 will be provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for the health centers, which include the City of Portland's health center in Portland and the Penboscot Community Health Center in Bangor. The two centers provide primary care and preventive services to people, many of whom have no health insurance. The money is part of $155 million in funds that are being distributed to 126 health centers nationwide. LINK
Maine Governor Pays $45 Million in Medicaid Debt With Stimulus Funds. "Gov. John Baldacci on Tuesday ordered a payment of $45 million to Maine hospitals on a years-old debt totaling hundreds of millions of dollars for services rendered under the Medicaid program. The money will start a push to complete a commitment made by the governor and the Maine Hospital Association in 2006 to repay the state's debt for treatment of patients covered under MaineCare, as the state's Medicaid program is known. Among those expressing appreciation for the state's effort was Dr. Erik Steele, interim chief executive officer of Blue Hill Memorial Hospital, which recently announced plans to eliminate 15 positions as part of a cost-cutting initiative. ‘This money gives us a little more breathing room,’ said Steele, who also said he hopes the state will not impose further cuts on MaineCare reimbursements. Baldacci signed the order at a State House ceremony in which he was joined by officials of the Maine Hospital Association, legislative leaders and representatives of the state's congressional delegation. The order enables the state to use $45 million in federal stimulus money to leverage federal money that will provide hospitals with a payment totaling $163 million. Baldacci has proposed an additional state payment of $57 million, which would draw federal matching money to provide hospitals with nearly $211 million next year. ‘We are fulfilling the promise of the Recovery Act by protecting jobs and protecting access to health care for our most vulnerable neighbors,’ Baldacci said." [AP, 3/18/09]
Stimulus Funding Will Preserve Jobs in Maine Arts Community. "Funding soon will be available to mitigate layoffs and preserve jobs in Maine’s nonprofit arts community. Gov. John Baldacci signed Monday afternoon a certification to request funds made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 for arts and culture in Maine. The grants are designed to subsidize the preservation of jobs and may not be used for the creation of a new position or for previously unscheduled work. ‘I think the government arts jobs are real jobs and that they are central to our nation’s recovery just like any other worker,’ said Maine Arts Commission director Donna McNeil. Baldacci, McNeil and MAC chairman John Rohman made the announcement in the State House Cabinet Room, outside of which hang paintings by artists Robert Indiana of Vinalhaven and J. Normand Martin of Bangor. The MAC will deliver $293,100 in funds to about 25 Maine-based nonprofit arts organizations. The maximum grant amount is $10,000. The MAC is keeping $38,000 for itself to fund a temporary staff position for coordination of the grant process. The state commission could have kept up to $50,000. ‘We greatly value our arts and the cultural institutions in Maine,’ Baldacci said. ‘They help to define quality of place in our state. … These funds will help our cultural organizations that contribute so much to the character of Maine, including our creative economy, our downtown revitalization, and cultural tourism.’" [Bangor Daily News, 3/24/09]
$15 Million in Stimulus Funds Will Help Upgrade Maine VA Facilities and Veterans’ Homes. "Veterans Affairs facilities in Maine will be receiving more than $14.8 million for infrastructure upgrades and construction under the federal government’s economic stimulus program. Sen. Susan Collins announced Friday that the money will be shared by the VA hospital at Togus and veterans’ homes in Augusta, Caribou and South Paris. Collins, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the funding is being distributed in Maine through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act." [Bangor Daily News, 3/20/09]
Bangor Awarded $1 Million to Improve Wastewater Treatment System; Project Engineer Said Plant Could Bring Economic Development Through New Industry and Business. "The city has been awarded $1 million in federal stimulus money for improvements to its wastewater treatment system. In addition to the $1,045,197 stimulus grant, the city also will receive a 20-year interest-free loan of $342,687 to fund the $1.4 million project. The stimulus plan, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, will provide the grant money, which was awarded through the Department of Environmental Protection. The interest-free loan will be issued through the Maine Municipal Bond Bank. ‘We're thrilled we received this funding,’ City Manager Joseph Slocum said Tuesday. ‘The good news is that the rate payers will get $1 million at no cost and $300,000 at no interest.’ Project engineer William Olver of Olver Associates of Winterport said much of the improvement to the treatment plant would focus on replacing pumps and upgrading chlorinating equipment. He said the project would give the plant added capacity to handle wastewater. That will serve as an economic development tool because new industry or businesses could be handled at the plant. ‘There is an economic development advantage,’ Olver said Tuesday." [Bangor Daily News, 3/25/09]
Bangor Will Use Nearly $3 Million in Stimulus Funding To Clean Up Pollution in Streams. "The city has accepted $2.8 million in federal stimulus funding that it will put toward improving water quality in two of Bangor’s impaired streams. Fifty percent of the money will be a no-interest loan to the city and the other half will not have to be paid back at all, City Manager Edward Barrett said Tuesday. ‘Given the reality that we know a significant amount of work is needed in both watersheds [Birch Stream and Penjajawoc Stream] and we know funding is clearly a concern, this is a good way for us to get started,’ Barrett said.The $2.8 million comes from the Clean Water State Revolving Loan Funds, but it’s part of a bigger portion set aside for Maine under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Bangor will use the funds specifically to purchase a high-efficiency street sweeper that cuts down on the amount of debris that eventually could wind up in streams and also in-stream monitoring equipment. It will use the remaining money for other improvement projects within the Birch and Penjajawoc stream watersheds. The hope is to cut down substantially what’s known as nonpoint-source pollution." [Bangor Daily News, 3/25/09]