Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Reporter's Notebook

- Paul Leonard can be contacted at

Hello! Stimulus

After months of waiting, Southwest Washington’s share of the $787 billion federal stimulus package continues to trickle down – with local law enforcement agencies and over-stressed regional food banks getting much needed cash this week to continue providing essential services.

Vancouver topped the list of big winners announced Tuesday, nabbing $2.58 million to pay the salary and benefits for 10 new police officers, with Longview receiving a sizeable $664,000 in funds to hire three officers of their own. Both municipalities beat larger cities like Seattle and Portland for a share of over $1 billion in federal grant money allocated for law enforcement agencies across the nation.

Not to be left out, the region’s food banks, including eight in Cowlitz County operated by Food Lifeline, also recently received federal relief funds through the state’s Emergency Food Assistance Program to buy essentials like eggs, cheese and frozen turkey breasts for needy families.

Though the recently announced grants are definitely a welcome sight for state and local agencies battered by the longest recession since World War II – plenty of unanswered questions about the federal stimulus package remain.

First and foremost, what took so long? Since the stimulus package in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was signed by newly-sworn President Barack Obama in February, a long winter, spring and early summer has passed with little funding for essential programs to help the growing ranks of the state’s poor, hungry and unemployed.

Funding for state infrastructure projects has also been slow to arrive, despite the number of shovel-ready projects, as well as unemployed workers, in our region.

I acknowledge that many of our readers question the very existence of such an enormous, government-run relief program. But like it or not, the federal money is there, so let’s spend it already – to employ, feed and keep safe as many Washingtonians as we can.


Anonymous said...

It makes me sad to see a Business Journal, which should focus on the success of business, stooping so low as to have their hand out to the Federal Government, thinking they are "owed". The Government owes us one thing, a strong defense to protect our country. Within the last 100 years or so, we have become so dependent upon the Government to feed us, clothe us, and give us "stimulus" money.
Too sad. As Americans, we need to pull our boot straps up as individuals, find a job in a tough economy, provide basics to our families, and not add an additional 10 police officers to an already overwhelmed fast food parking lot. This entire article stinks of our increasing expectation of being owed something by the government. Take the business approach and take care of yourselves. It's much more rewarding.

BevG said...

" let's spend it already?" Have we come to that? We need to hold our government accountable for what we actually hired them to do. It sounds like you're saying, "Well, since they made such a big mistake, we might as well join in and spend the money." Where's your sense of responsibility?