[Source: Mike Sunnucks, The Phoenix Business Journal] — As Congress moves on President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus plan, critics are voicing concerns about where the money is being spent and whether it will have a quick payoff. The $825 billion package could swell to $1 trillion and looks to pump up the economy via federal spending on public works construction, energy research, aid to state governments with budget deficits, expanded welfare and safety net programs.
One estimate by the Congressional Budget Office said only $26 billion would be allocated this year on infrastructure and public works spending as states and cities, including Scottsdale, Goodyear, Tucson, Phoenix and Mesa, line up projects for possible funding. Meanwhile, local officials say federal requirements to have construction and infrastructure projects “shovel-ready” is limiting such requests. Gay Garesche, an economics professor at Glendale Community College, said the U.S. economy may be rebounding by the time the federal stimulus money gets to construction projects and starts to work its way into economic benefits. “That stimulus isn’t going to hit until the economy has almost recovered,” said Garesche. Instead, she suggests continued help for banks to free up credit and loans and avoiding any actions that hurt the U.S. auto market. [Note: to read the full article, click here.]