Here are some tidbits from www.recovery.gov, the federal government website that provides information about the $765 billion in stimulus money spent under the Recovery Act since February of 2009.
Montana received just over $1.5 billion under the Recovery Act. $1.1 billion of that was awarded in the form of grants.
The largest single recipient was the Montana DOT at $208 million. Second was the Fort Peck, Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes at $67 million, followed by Montana Opticom, LLC, a provider of fiber optic internet facilities, at $64 million. Native American tribes altogether scored about $180 million, not including payments to reservation cities, hospitals and schools. K-12 education received about $150 million, while about $133 million went directly to cities and counties. Post-secondary education got about $110 million.
Randomly digging into details reveals some interesting expenditures. Energy Solutions of Moab, Utah billed $105 million for “remediation services” and subbed out a fair portion of that to smaller companies, also mostly from Utah. Like $45 grand to “David’s Elite Thrones” for what appears to be porta-potties, and several million to companies like “Cj5 Enterprises” and “Fraley & Co., Inc.” – firms so mysterious that they are not mentioned anywhere on the web.
The McLaughlin Center in Great Falls got $760,000 for a high-tech microscope system. Eleven Boys and Girls Clubs got an average of $40k each. Domestic and Sexual Violence Services of Carbon County received about $500k for their counseling and housing program. Their report says this created two full-time jobs.
When I see huge dollars like this bouncing around like pinballs, the cynic in me says that the corruption, waste and paybacks to cronies must be astronomical. The top two officers from Energy Solutions split $4.5 million in annual salaries. Still, looking at some project details – like the rehab of barracks at Malmstrom AFB, I see local companies doing real work and paying real employees. That $25 million dollar job was won, and mostly subbed out to locals, by Sunstar, LLC of California. Their top two guys take salaries of $75k each.
Kudos to Recovery.Gov for making this extensive spending detail transparent and available online – the State of Montana should take heed.
The Recovery Act was intended to produce jobs, and it did that – but the CBO reported that the cost per job is about $228k, and most are temporary. Did the Recovery Act do any good? Probably. Did the taxpayers get full bang for their bucks? Doubtful. Are we and our children further in debt? For sure.
Tom Balek – Rockin’ On the Right Side
There ain’t no use to tarry so let’s start out tonight
We’ll spread joy, oh boy, oh boy, and we’ll spread it right
We’ll have more fun, baby, all way down the line
If you’ve got the money, honey, I’ve got the time