by Senator Gene Davis
Senate District 3
Half way through Utah’s 2009 general legislative session, the United States Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), providing a much-needed influx of cash into Utah’s 2009 and 2010 state budgets. Commonly known as President Obama’s economic stimulus package, it significantly softened the impact of Utah’s declining state revenue. Both Senate Democrats and House Democrats favored accepting and using the federal stimulus money and urged their colleagues to support the assistance from the Obama White House. Budgets of virtually every department in state government were bolstered by stimulus money. Click here for details from the Legislative Fiscal Analyst.
This year and through 2011, Utah will receive $1.7 billion from ARRA, which will be distributed to targeted departments for specific purposes. For example:
Federal money reduced the cuts in public education for 2010 from 17% to only 5.2%; higher education from 17.5% to 9%.
The Department of Workforce Services received $19 million for child care funding, $78 million in food stamp funding, and $9 million for temporary assistance for needy families.
The Department of Transportation received $149 million and will use the funds for about 30 highway projects throughout the state.
The Department of Health received $68 million in 2009 and $94 million in 2010 for a temporary increase in the match rate for Medicaid services.
The Department of Human Services received funds for various agencies in the department.
The Department of Economic Development and Revenue received $39 million for weatherization of homes for adding insulation, sealing leaks, and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment; a Community Service Block Grant of $5 million; Homeless Prevention monies of $5.6 million; and $33 million for USTAR to recruit science and technology researchers.
The Legislature passed Senate Bill 260 (second substitute) to create the Housing Relief Restricted Special Revenue Fund using ARRA funds to provide a $6,000 grant for any person who purchases a newly constructed, never-occupied residence in Utah.
From the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant, Utah will receive $16.2 million for a variety of efforts such as hiring and support for law enforcement officers; drug and gang task forces; crime prevention, courts, corrections, treatment; and justice information sharing initiatives.
AND THE LIST GOES ON AND ON…..
Monies from the stimulus package will preserve jobs and create many new jobs in Utah as the federal government focuses on building and re-building infrastructure. There are numerous transportation, water, and sewer projects, all of which require manpower.
Accountability is paramount. President Obama expects the state to be a responsible steward of the federal stimulus funds. Visit www.recovery.utah.gov for information about Utah’s stimulus money.