Local Politics

Stimulus package disappoints Perdue, pleases Etheridge

Posted February 16, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

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— The $787 billion economic stimulus bill Congress approved last week left Gov. Beverly Perdue seeing the glass half-empty and Second District Congressman Bob Etheridge seeing it more than half-full.

North Carolina's cut of the package, which President Barack Obama is expected to sign into law Tuesday, could total about $6 billion. The money will help build roads, bridges and schools across the state.

"I think the infrastructure money is fair, (but) it's not as good as it could have been," Perdue said Monday. "At this point in time, anything is better than nothing. At this point, it's great to have a partner in Washington."

Printing money Perdue to put stimulus money to work for N.C.

The overall package includes tax credits of up to $400 each for workers, $70 billion to spare millions of Americans from paying the alternative minimum tax and $36 billion to extend unemployment benefits.

Perdue said she was hoping for more federal money to help bolster North Carolina's Medicaid program. Without it, the state is still in the hole for about $150 million, she said.

"It's not exactly what I hoped for, (but) it's great money. It's going to put some people directly to work," she said.

North Carolina has the nation's sixth-highest unemployment rate, at 8.7 percent in December, and Perdue said creating jobs is her first priority for using the federal money.

"I want to be the poster child in America for how you use this money to put people back to work very efficiently and how you rebuild basic infrastructure of the state," she said.

She plans to name a task force Tuesday that will oversee how the stimulus money is spent, noting that if North Carolina works faster than other states to invest the money, more federal funding could become available.

About $553 million of the stimulus money will go toward school construction statewide, an idea Etheridge has been pushing for months.

School construction Stimulus to boost N.C. school construction

"I don't know of a better base you can build than building quality facilities for children to learn in who will be the leaders in the 21st century," he said. "The future will belong to the educated, and the better educated our children are, the better they will be able to compete."

Rosa Gill, chairwoman of the Wake County Board of Education, said some area schools are more than 50 years old and are in dire need of maintenance.

"We want all of our students to enjoy modern facilities so they can enjoy a positive learning experience," Gill said. "We can use any amount of money ... for renovation. That seems to be the most difficult funding we can get."

The money could create as many as 11,000 school construction jobs, and the stimulus package will help school districts avoid paying interest for construction bonds, Etheridge said.

It's still unclear how other money will flow to Raleigh, Durham and other municipalities hoping to receive cash for specific projects, but Perdue promised, "Every single dollar that is invested in the state ... will benefit citizens."

53 Comments

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  • superman Feb 18, 2009

    We live in a world now where people think they are entitled to everything free!

  • leebmad Feb 18, 2009

    Where would any of you spend this stimulus money? What businesses would you support and which ones would you not support? Think hard before you fly off the handle and talk junk to me, I don't like this one bit either. All the construction crews have cars, houses, and other bills to be paid. The construction companies have alot of other indutries and businesses that support them also. I haven't seen anyone come up with a better solution, other than having no stimulus at all which is what I'm for. I work for the state too by the way.

  • SANDHILL Feb 18, 2009

    Poor Bev, she will not get all the money she thought she would to bail her out of the mess our state is in.. HOW ABOUT CUTTING SOME SPENDING!!! I guess that idea is too conservative.

  • COPs eye Feb 18, 2009

    HOW ABOUT SAVING MONEY BY CUTTIBG THE HUGE SALARIES OF THESE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS THAT ARE SUPPOSED TO ACT IN OUR BEST INTERESTS. LET THEM DO THE WORK THAT WE THE PEOPLE DO ON OUR SALARIES AND THEN HEAR THEIR SO CALLED STIMULOUS IDEAS.

  • affirmativediversity Feb 17, 2009

    Some of you need to be reminded that its going to be a while before we get out of this financial crisis, so do yourself a favor and save your breathe.

    ====================

    You are kidding, right?

  • Seeminglyopposed Feb 17, 2009

    Why is there always a need to hire a consultant firm to tell these HIGH paid government officials how to spend more money.
    If you don't know how to correctly spend money that is given to you to help our state, the first person you should be hiring is a replacement for yourselves.

    In state official that has anything to do with money, should have to have a degree in Finance Accounting, not Liberal Arts, History, Science degrees, because the majority are totally clueless. Hire qualified people and we would not need consultant firms to help them waste our much needed money.

  • Just the facts mam Feb 17, 2009

    "At this point, it's great to have a partner in Washington".

    Hey Bev - in case you did not know this, your "partner" in Washington is broke and is giving you money that your children and grandchildren will someday have to pay back. You may want to keep that in mind when the state goes on its spending binge...

  • rcmonster1 Feb 17, 2009

    WE ALL KNOW THAT POLITICIANS ONLY SPEND MONEY NOT SAVE IT. THEY NEED TO LET SOME OF US HANDLE THE BUDGET. BUT WAIT THAT WANT WORK BECUASE I CANT GIVE CONTRACTS TO ALL OF THOSE WHO HELPED ELECT THEM. UNTIL THOSE WE ELECT START ACTING ON BEHAVE OF THE CITIZENS WE WILL CONTINUE TO BE IN TROUBLE. THOSE OF US WHO WORK KEEP PAYING AND THOSE WHO DONT AND NOW HAVE LEARNED IF THEY VOTE THEY CAN GET MORE FROM THE SYSTEM WHICH IS SUPPORTED BY THE PEOPLE WHO WORK. LETS SEE THE MORE I OWE THE MORE I WILL BORROW, THE LESS MONEY I MAKE THE MORE I WILL BUY. DONT WORK FOR MY BUDGET CANT WORK FOR THE GOVERNMENT. GOOD LUCK FOLKS HOPE YOU ALL HAVE CASH ON HAND FOR A RAINY DAY THERE IS A STORM COMING SOON SO GET READY.

  • didisaythat Feb 17, 2009

    I hope I do not hear one school board rep ask for more tax money from the state. The school system gets more money than any entity and still asks for more. They are irrisponsible with the money they do get and giving them money from the package is now wasted money. i agree theis will not help us in the short or long run. I have seen very little support from the citizens and wonder how this bill could pass if our Representatives in Congress knew how "we" felt.

  • Concerned Feb 17, 2009

    Some of you need to be reminded that its going to be a while before we get out of this financial crisis, so do yourself a favor and save your breathe.

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