What will federal stimulus mean for Washington? Plus: health care, tax cuts and the benefits of paid sick days

January 28, 2009 | Alex Stone

Will stimulus help?: Two Seattle experts have much different predictions about the $825 billion recovery plan proposed in Congress.

Stimulus Plan Would Provide Flood of Aid to Education: The economic stimulus plan that Congress has scheduled for a vote on Wednesday would shower the nation’s school districts, child care centers and university campuses with $150 billion in new federal spending, a vast two-year investment that would more than double the Department of Education’s current budget.

Helping States Make Good Choices: The rapidly deteriorating economy has confronted states with their toughest budget decisions in years. This month, about 45 states reported budget gaps for the present fiscal year and most expect to struggle with shortfalls over the next two years.

Strings on state’s stimulus check: Washington’s share of a federal economic stimulus package — estimated at perhaps $4 billion — will have plenty of strings attached, and won’t be the economic cure-all that some people are hoping for, Gov. Chris Gregoire said Tuesday.

No time for tax cut, Mr. Obama: Dear President Obama: Some party, wasn’t it? Nearly 2 million crammed together and — did you hear? — not a single arrest. Unheard-of good feelings for a crowd that size, the police said. So much warmth on such a cold day. Now that I’m home, I’m wondering: What did you take away from the inaugural moment? Did you feel what the people were radiating back at you? When you gazed out at the National Mall, and, beyond, across America, did you hear this cry: “Please send money?”

Why tax cuts might not rescue the economy: Tax cuts work when they stimulate consumption. President Bush’s $150 billion tax cut didn’t do this and any tax cuts that President Obama puts in place aren’t likely to stimulate people to spend if they are worried about losing their jobs.

Legislators’ job is to make choices, not punt to voters: It looks like we’re going to get to vote on the state budget. The governor’s budget director recently told a business audience, “I’d be flabbergasted if a tax proposal wasn’t on the ballot.”

What Obama Left out of His Economic Recovery Plan: Higher Wages and Debt Relief: Barack Obama and Co. are planning to launch their own version of economic “shock and awe” in the opening weeks of the new administration. Aside from the $825 billion stimulus package, which will be used to create three million new jobs and make up for flagging consumer demand, Obama is planning a financial rescue operation for banks that are buried under hundreds of billions of dollars of troubled assets.

Sick pay is smart economically: As academic researchers on economic development and workplace productivity, we applaud the Milwaukee’s new guarantee of paid sick days. Experience and research have shown this to be a sound economic development measure.

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Posted in Early Learning, Education, Health Care, Paid Sick Days, State Economy, Tax and Budget, Work & Family

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