Federal Stimulus Information
It’s back to school for OK Policy’s Stimulus update! Our August 2009 issue profiles over $425 million in new federal money available to Oklahoma’s education system.
This update is a quick and easy way to learn about:
- Why education programs make sense in the stimulus package;
- How the stimulus programs are trying to reform education;
- The risks entailed in using stimulus money for ongoing programs;
- Who is receiving funding in Oklahoma and how we’re progressing in obtaining and spending funds; and
- A detailed look at the major programs, including amounts, distribution of the money, requirements, where Oklahoma stands, and how money can be used.
This issue continues our short monthly reports that provide a quick look at what’s happening with stimulus programs in Oklahoma. Each report looks at a specific functional area, describing, the program funding and rules, how Oklahoma is using the funding, how much has been allocated and spent in our state, and how we compare to other states in using the funds.
The July 2009 issue summarizes several stimulus programs that will renew Oklahoma’s infrastructure. Transportation programs, including highway and bridge rehabilitation, public transit capital projects, intercity and high-speed rail, and airport improvements, will add more than $500 million to Oklahoma’s capital stock and reduce future maintenance costs. Water resources projects totaling nearly $200 million will renovate and expand water and wastewater systems in many communities, improve dams and waterways, and reduce flood hazards.
The June 2009 issue examines the two largest sources of funds for state budgets, the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund for maintaining education and other public services and Enhanced Medicaid match to meet demand and cost growth for this essential publicly-supported health insurance program.
Stimulus Brief and Summary Table
Oklahoma is projected to receive over $2.5 billion in funding to state and local governments from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. OK Policy’s February 2009 budget brief explored the funding to be allocated to state and local governments, looking at the purpose of each provision, the total allocation, Oklahoma’s share, and details and conditions on how the funds may be spent. The two-page summary table provides the highlights.
Other Stimulus Resources
Here’s our annotated guide of links to official and unofficial web sites that provide valuable ARRA information:
The main federal web site is www.recovery.gov. Here you’ll find graphic breakdowns of stimulus funding and weekly spending, announcements of grants and awards, and links to ARRA sites of federal agencies and state governments. This site also links to government offices that are charged with stimulus accountability.
The Government Accountability Office, which reports to Congress, is the federal government’s primary auditor. Their ARRA site, www.gao.gov/recovery/, includes bimonthly reviews of spending in selected states and other accountability reports.
Oklahoma’s state recovery site, www.recovery.ok.gov, has been expanded and improved recently. It includes recent agency news releases and links to six state agency recovery pages. Several of these agencies have been improving their sites so taxpayers can get a better idea of how money is being used and so local and nonprofit service providers can apply for appropriate funding.State agency sites include:
- Arts Council (arts.ok.gov/recovery/)
- Department of Commerce (www.okcommerce.gov/recovery/);
- Conservation Commission (www.ok.gov/conservation/Recovery/);
- Department of Education (sde.state.ok.us/Finance/Recovery/default.html);
- Employment Securities Commission (www.oesc.state.ok.us/ARRA.shtm)
- Department of Environmental Quality (www.deq.state.ok.us/recovery/);
- Office of State Finance (www.ok.gov/OSF/Recovery/);
- Department of Transportation (http://www.okladot.state.ok.us/recovery/); and
- Water Resources Board (www.owrb.ok.gov/recovery.php).
Stateline.org, a news service concentrating on state government issues, has created a new page,http://www.stateline.org/live/static/The_Stimulus_and_the_States, which provides charts of how the stimulus is divided up and when it is expected to be spent, along with links to state stimulus oversight efforts and news stories.
GoodJobsFirst has created the STAR Coalition, which emphasizes accountability and transparency aspects of ARRA at its site, www.accountablerecovery.org/.
A consortium of Pennsylvania newspapers has published an undated map from the Associated Press that allows users to identify ARRA transportation projects in their counties.
Propublica has published and occasionally updates a table of state spending progress toward the requirement that half of all highway funding be obligated by June 30, 2009. Propublica also has anadopt-a-stimulus project program where readers can become reporters on a project near them.
The Tulsa World has created a new stimulus tracker page, which puts all the World stimulus stories in what place, http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/category.aspx?l=stimulus_tracker.
The centerpiece of a joint stimulus accountability effot by Oklahoma’s U.S. Attorneys, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the State Auditor and Inspector is a 24-hour hot line, 1-877-259-7337. This line will be staffed by the FBI, with a live answer at most times. Those with concerns or information about misuse of money from the stimulus, more formally known as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, or ARRA, can provide information anonymously. The FBI will be responsible for getting information to the appropriate federal agency.