Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Connecticut could get 1.8 billion from stimulus package

The Connecticut economy would likely receive a $1.8 billion boost in federal funding over the next two years under a proposed $825 billion economic stimulus package. The House began floor debate Tuesday on the package, which Democratic leaders hope to send to President Barack Obama within three weeks. The federal funding would go for a wide variety of established spending programs from highway construction to helping the poor pay heating bills.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Tuesday that the bill would create as many as 4 million jobs by giving 95 percent of American workers an immediate tax cut and providing hundreds of millions of dollars in new spending.
"According to experts, every dollar in state aid creates $1.38 in economic activity," she said during a telephone press conference with the leaders of the National Governors Association.
Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, who is president of the NGA, said that the federal funds will help states, which are facing more than $200 billion in deficits, balance their budgets over the next two years without necessarily having to raise taxes.
"Working families will get a $1,000 tax cut from the federal government. But if ... no aid came to the states, and we have to raise taxes, and the school districts had to raise taxes, that $1,000 tax cut from the federal government would be virtually wiped away by the tax increases that the states, local governments and school districts would have to make," Rendell said.

The state's take would include $1.16 billion for infrastructure improvements including highway, bridge, transit and sewer construction; $403 million for education including school renovations, Pell grants, Head Start and employment training; $243 million for Medicaid programs; and $39 million for other programs including the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, elderly nutrition and community block grants.

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