Tucson CitizenTucson Citizen

Guidelines needed for states’ use of stimulus funds

Citizen Staff Writer
Our Opinion

The U.S. House would pump $6.5 billion into Arizona’s economy, part of an $819 billion stimulus package the representatives approved Wednesday.

That could be very good news for our deficit-ridden state government.

But whatever stimulus package ultimately is enacted – the House plan, an as yet unannounced Senate plan or a hybrid of the two – the state needs to spend the money as federal officials intend.

The dollars must be used for economic stimulus, not for legislators’ convenience or preferred projects.

“This is not discretionary money for the state to use as it wishes,” warned U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva.

He and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, both southern Arizona Democrats, agree that the money should be spent chiefly on job creation and preservation, as well as relief for homeowners.

“There are hundreds of thousands of people losing their jobs every week” nationwide, Giffords said. “Every single week we don’t act, there will be more.”

We urge members of Congress and the U.S. Senate to include specific guidelines and mandates in whatever bill they finally produce to provide economic stimulus to the states.

Items such as children’s health insurance or university funding may not be high on some state lawmakers’ lists. But if those kinds of expenditures are part of the formula devised to stimulate Arizona’s economy, then those are the expenditures that must be made.

Any inappropriate tinkering at the legislative level must be prevented, lest the stimulus package fails to achieve its intended result.

Grijalva has conceded that the House resolution “needs more specificity,” despite the many specific services and appropriations already earmarked.

We urge federal officials to ensure that those guidelines are in place before the funding is appropriated.

As a rule, we believe in local control. But this infusion of federal funds, albeit doled out state by state, is envisioned as a jump-start for the entire nation.

If states begin to twist and amend their pieces of the plan, the entire package could unravel – and the stimulus could fall flat.

That must not be allowed to occur. The entire nation is wracked with economic chaos in this recession, as unemployment and home foreclosures skyrocket.

These are very trying times, indeed. The prospect of a stimulus package to help real people – real workers, real homeowners – instead of corporations provides great hope that positive change may be on its way.

Legislators in any state must not be allowed to dash that hope.

Our Opinion

Prescribe spending for stimulus packages for states lest legislators start monkeying with the master plan.

Our Digital Archive

This blog page archives the entire digital archive of the Tucson Citizen from 1993 to 2009. It was gleaned from a database that was not intended to be displayed as a public web archive. Therefore, some of the text in some stories displays a little oddly. Also, this database did not contain any links to photos, so though the archive contains numerous captions for photos, there are no links to any of those photos.

There are more than 230,000 articles in this archive.

In TucsonCitizen.com Morgue, Part 1, we have preserved the Tucson Citizen newspaper's web archive from 2006 to 2009. To view those stories (all of which are duplicated here) go to Morgue Part 1

Search site | Terms of service