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Speeding Up Stimulus Spending

March 17th, 2009 by flanews

The clock is ticking for the state to spend its cut of the federal stimulus money. Florida has 120 days to allocate half of the 1.3 billion dollars its receiving for roads. Critics are blaming the governor for slowing down the spending process, but As Whitney Ray tells us, most of the spending needs legislative approval.

Tuesday Governor Charlie Crist officially committed to spend the 13.4 billion federal stimulus dollars from Washington, but how that money will be spent is raising more questions than answers.

Do you need the legislature to actually write bills and pass them, asked a press corps reporter. Well, we may, Crist answered. Are you going to ask them to do that, the reporter asked. Well see, responded Crist.

House Democrats say legislative leaders wont even tell them if they plan to accept the money.

We cant get a clear answer from the Republican leadership in the legislature whether theyre going to use any of the money, said Representative Ron Saunders.

Critics say the Governor isnt acting fast enough to spend the stimulus dollars. The state still hasnt set up a website to outline where the money is going and road projects are still on hold.

Floridas cut of the federal stimulus package includes 1.3 billion dollars to spend on road projects and the state already has 7 billion dollars in projects ready to go. Transportation lobbyist Doug Callaway said the state will use it or lose it.

You have 120 days to use up 50 percent of that allocation. If you dont, Florida or any other state, if they dont use that, those dollars that they dont use will be recollected back to Washington and redistributed, said Callaway.

Some money, like dollars earmarked for unemployment and food stamps, will begin flowing soon. Spending on roads and schools still needs legislative approval. Governor Charlie Crist says the state will launch a website early next week showing how the stimulus money will be spent. Twenty-nine other states have already launched similar sites.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Children, Economy, Education, Highways, Legislature, State Budget, State News, Transportation | No Comments »

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