Local Politics

Obama stimulus plan could mean $16B for N.C.

Posted January 29, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— North Carolina could receive at least $16 billion from President Obama's $819 billion economic stimulus package if it passes Congress, including $1.9 billion to patch the state budget deficit over the next two years.

The bill, approved Wednesday by the U.S. House of Representatives, is on its way to the U.S. Senate. If it passes there, it could be signed into law by mid-February.

Money Will Obama's stimulus plan be good for N.C.?

Federal officials believe the plan will create or save more than 3 million jobs over the next few years, including 132,000 in North Carolina.

State Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand, D-Cumberland, says that although it is not completely clear where the money could be used, every bit will still help.

"Our short-term woes tend to overpower everything else right now, but this will be a great thing for the people of North Carolina, I think," he said. "We hope Congress will help provide us with the things we need to make sure we don't do lasting damage" in having to cut state spending.

But Phil Berger, R-Guilford, state Senate minority leader, said he believes that while the plan could be beneficial in the short-term by getting people to work, it could generate more problems in the long-term.

"The state government is spending too much money, and I think if what you see is a short-term fix of that amount of money for a two-year period, all you're doing is paying state government and bailing the state government out for bad behavior in the past," Berger said.

According to the Office of the U.S. Speaker of the House, the bill also allots North Carolina $802 million for transportation and infrastructure, $2.6 billion to help the state cover Medicaid costs and $551 million for education needs.

It also extends unemployment benefits, increases food stamps and provides money for the arts.

"What the federal government has given us so far is a package that was supposed to stimulate the banks. I don't think that worked," Berger said. "We now seem to have a package they say will stimulate the economy. It looks to me like all it will do is stimulate more government spending."

Obama's plan also calls for a $500 tax break for single workers and $1,000 for couples, including those who don't earn enough to owe federal income taxes. There are also tax breaks for businesses making investments in equipment and renewable energy production.

The bill passed the U.S. House along party lines with every Republican and 11 Democrats voting against it.

Rep. Heath Shuler, of North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, was the state's only Democratic representative to vote against it.

"In my opinion, the legislation before the House contained too much additional spending in areas that will not offer immediate economic stimulus," he said in a statement Wednesday.

"As our nation faces an historic budget deficit and a national debt approaching $11 trillion, I cannot in good conscience borrow and spend $825 billion, further burdening future generations of Americans.”

Democratic Rep. David Price, of the 4th District, disagrees, saying it will only benefit them.

"Let me tell you how to really pass a debt to our future generations, he said. "Let this thing continue. Do nothing. See what then happens to the revenue stream. See what then happens to the people's ability to participate in this economy."

The Senate's version of the stimulus is already picking up more Republican support, and it's shaping up to be more expensive.

Lawmakers there could start work on the bill as soon as Monday. Obama has signaled that the house plan is not perfect, and he's willing to accept changes to it.

In a written statement Thursday, he urged lawmakers not to "drag our feet or allow the same partisan differences to get in our way."

"We're going to continue to reach out to them," White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said.

"The president will do that to ensure that parties can work together, and we can continue to change the way Washington works, so we can put Americans back to work,"

88 Comments

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  • oldfirehorse Jan 30, 2009

    Awww...come on now, don't you remember all those rousing charismatic speeches, and the debates where President Obama laughed at Senator McCain? I'm sure he wouldn't have been that arrogant and condescending if he didn't have a real plan that would work? After all, he was a US Senator for what a year, year and a half before he got too busy campaigning? Had to have learned something there! Surely you don't think he was elected for any reason other than capability and proven track record in managing national affairs? Give the man a chance, after all, he did promise change! So, change is what we'll be getting! By the way, anybody know if they bought the puppy for the white house yet? What's the latest on the in-laws moving in? White house renovations coming along ok? Change, change, change,...gotta love it!

  • lorivalentine1 Jan 30, 2009

    Maybe we should get rid of welfare, food stamps, healthcare and anything else for those who are not here legally..go home and let your own country support you, stop all state and federal programs that promote/help or otherwise engage in making it easier for illegals to be here in this country, levy huge fines for companies who employ illegals, give tax breaks to businesses who keep business here in the US as opposed to off shoring work to other countries, give big fat penalies to companies who choose to move work off shore, encourage buying american as we need to help ourselves first and foremost before thinking about all the other nations mooching off us. We have plenty of poor people here that can not education or the help they need as there is not enough resources. That is my plan to get the US back on track.. We would make millions in penalties for the hiring of illegals and the off shoring as well as save millions on health care and other services for illegals.

  • james27613 Jan 30, 2009

    Rep Shuler hit the nail on the head. Wast of money in the bill.

    My unborn grandkids will be paying for this junk bill.

    Too much special interests in the bill and USA will have to
    BORROW ALL OF IT ! Next year interest payment will be
    more then the cost of the GULF WAR II.

    Rep. Heath Shuler, of North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, was the state's only Democratic representative to vote against it.

    "In my opinion, the legislation before the House contained too much additional spending in areas that will not offer immediate economic stimulus," he said in a statement Wednesday.

    "As our nation faces an historic budget deficit and a national debt approaching $11 trillion, I cannot in good conscience borrow and spend $825 billion, further burdening future generations of Americans.”

  • ifcdirector Jan 30, 2009

    That's great. Not even our state's sovereignty outweighs the rabid liberalism and socialist spending of these democrat politicians. More like a gang of self-interested thieves.

  • dplowman Jan 30, 2009

    What a joke for our state to get 16b when what they need to do is cut some of the stupid things out of the budget.
    alSo it is just ignorance of the american people to think that what the groip in washington is trying to sell will create any new jobs.I work in construction and even if the money was here today to start a new project it would take a year or more on the fast track to get started. What we all need is tax cuts that matter and not wealfare to the people who don't even pay taxes. This is like the unearned income credit, you can earn 12000 a year and get a tax check for 4000. I pay 20000 a year to taxes and then at the end of the year good old uncle and state are still standing their with hands out for more. Its time for change all right but the people need to change this not the idiots in the state or us goverment.I am tired of paying for people who are to stupid or sorry to work and support themselfs.If they cannot buy health insurance but have a tv let them DIE.

  • nobama Jan 30, 2009

    With the failure of Barack Obama to pass a meaningful stimulus plan. John McCain is providing leadership once again. John McCain has begun to craft a plan that would help the struggling U.S. economy. Speaking to Reuters, Arizona Sen. McCain said the alternative plan would include what he described as "more effective tax cuts, such as a payroll tax cut" and spending on projects aimed at immediately creating jobs. "A group of us Republican senators are working on coming up with an alternative package that I would hope would have some elements to it that Americans would support."

  • TheAdmiral Jan 30, 2009

    The Democrats are thrilled that they are giving this money that they don't have away - much like they were happy they were giving the other money away and called the Republicans sour and hateful.

    So - if you teenagers start having unprotected sex now, your grandchildren may be the last to pay for this package.

    That is CHANGE WE CAN BELIEVE IN!

  • nobama Jan 30, 2009

    It's not a stimulus plan it's a pay back all the special interest groups plan. The only problem with that is that we could have used that money to help the U.S. economy. If Obama doesn't fix the economy the voters will punish him in 2010.

  • nobama Jan 30, 2009

    Exxon Mobil, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, said Friday that its fourth-quarter income fell 33 percent.

  • Your Ignorance is Bliss Jan 30, 2009

    Maybe we can ALL go get jobs in the oil industry! See even with the downturn in the economy Exxon and Haliburton still manage to run billions of dollars in profit. Money they get from YOU!

    And even now companies looking for bailouts yet they are paying billions of dollars to corporate execs in bonuses - if the government were to cut corporate taxes, how much of that money do you really think you will see??

    Come on, for ONCE think about what you are posting, instead of simply regurgitating drivel.

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