Archive for the ‘mayors’ Category

Mayors, Governors of Both Parties Favor Stimulus (Surprised?)

February 4, 2009

“It’s time to stop the bickering and start the tough negotiating to get this bill out to ensure that the American people in our cities get the relief that they need right now.”

That quote is from Los Angeles, California, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat.

Most of America’s mayors and governors want the stimulus and they want it now.

Mayors and governors wanting more federal money should be no surprise to anyone.

The stimulus is a gold mine of money for mayors and governors that don’t have to raise taxes to pay for the goodies the stimulus might buy and they have no requirement to repay the federal money.

Giving federal money to mayors and governors is like giving away Christmas presents — few strings are attached.

No surprise that both Democratic and Republican mayors and governors like money with no strings and no re-payment plan.

The case in Vermont is pretty much the case everywhere else.

“As the executive of a state experiencing budget challenges, [Vermont] Gov. Douglas has a different perspective on the situation than congressional Republicans,” said Douglas’ deputy chief of staff, Dennise Casey.

Yup.  Vermont needs money.  The Feds have money.  And Vermont wants to have it “no strings attached.”

But there is some concern that giving away money could be like giving away cocaine: the user never wants to stop.

The U.S. Senate has some worries the average mayor and governor may not stay awake  thinking over.

The Senate does worry that the money give-away will become addictive, even though the president himself said it had to be stimulating and “temporary.”

The Senate will also have to figure how to repay the loans that will finance the stimulus — which will cause a huge increase to the national debt which may cause inflation and other problems.

The Senate also has to come up for the cash for lots of other goodies like social security, health care, defense and on and on.

Mayors and governors are users here: so its a a non-story that they favor the stimulus.  We just don’t want them to become junkies….

Most of the mayors and governors are also Democrats, just as most members of the House and Senate are Democrats.  And the president is a Democrat swept into the White House by a big margin.  So what we have in the stimulus is the very danger of a one-party dominant American system….come true….

Related from CNN:
Mayors Love the Stimulus


Stimulus Congress

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi listens to National Governors Association chairman Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, second from right, during a meeting with National Governors Association vice chairman Vermont Gov. Jim Douglas, left, and Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., right, on Capitol Hill. Photo: Susan Walsh / AP

U.S. mayors skeptical of city help in stimulus plan

January 18, 2009

U.S. mayors on Saturday welcomed the $825 billion stimulus plan introduced in Congress this week, but worried that much of the assistance would stop at the state level and not reach cities.

“This stimulus package is a good start, it’s a great start. I would like to see more money directly allocated to cities and not passed through,” Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said at the U.S. Conference of Mayors convention.


Mayor Abram Wilson of San Ramon, California, put it more bluntly, saying, “You’re going to give the money to the state and we’re not going to see it.”

The stimulus plan introduced by Democrats in the House of Representatives includes increased spending on public transit repairs, as well as loans for updating sewers. Cities would also get a boost in school spending. The plan adheres largely to measures requested by President-elect Barack Obama, who takes office on Tuesday.

Obama wants to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to jolt the country out of a deepening recession. He has stressed that an economic recovery package must include public works and assistance for states and local governments, which have had to make steep spending cuts as their revenues decline.

States face the worst economic downturn in a quarter of a century and their financial health is likely to worsen through 2009, the National Governors Association said last month. Cities, too, are grappling with dwindling property tax revenues due to the housing downturn at the same time as they find it harder to take out debt in the municipal bond market.


Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert said the plan would help his city’s transit system buy buses that rely on alternative energy. He said he worried funds would end up plugging holes in state budgets instead of being spent on job-creating efforts such as infrastructure projects.

“If we take these dollars … and we put it in for cities or states simply to make budget shortfalls, we’re in the same position next year as we were last year,” Leppert said.

He also said some of the stimulus measures may pass through state governments so slowly that cities will have to wait years to get assistance.

Under the stimulus proposal released on Thursday, $87 billion would go to helping states cover the costs of Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor, in the hopes of freeing up money for states to spend on other programs. A further $21 billion would go to building schools and $30 billion would be dedicated to highway and bridge construction projects.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has said the economic recovery bill will be voted on in February. An aide to the House Ways and Means Committee told the mayors that the House was working closely with the Senate to craft similar bills so the final measure can be quickly signed into law.

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