NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - The Obama administration, issuing its first progress report on the $787 billion stimulus program, said Wednesday that $88 billion has been made available and that it's ahead of schedule in implementing most initiatives.
Of the $88 billion, some $28.5 billion has been actually spent with nearly $16 billion going for Medicaid payments to the states, according to the report. The administration has also enacted tax cuts under the Making Work Pay program and begun mailing $250 payments to 54 million senior citizens.
Critics, however, say the money is not being spent fast enough to help arrest the economy's slide. States are now waging yet another round of battles with their budgets after April tax revenues came in under estimates.
House Republicans, meanwhile, latched onto a report that stimulus funds will be used to repave an alternate runway at a little-used airport in an influential Democratic congressman's district.
"The Democrats' trillion-dollar stimulus spending bill was intended to create more jobs immediately, but it has quickly become the latest example of Washington's arrogance," said John Boehner, R-Ohio, in a statement.
The Obama administration's report, which will be followed by similar quarterly updates, touted the stimulus money flowing to the states to bolster education. Thirteen states have been approved to receive money under the state fiscal stabilization initiative that's designed to maintain education spending levels and prevent the loss of teachers' jobs.
The report also cited various news articles detailing the impact of stimulus spending. For instance, a Chicago window factory that made headlines last year when laid-off workers occupied the building is rehiring some people to make energy-efficient windows. Pennsylvania expects to get $4.5 million to pay for meal programs for senior citizens. And three counties in South Carolina plan to use $4.7 million to retrain the jobless and employ low-income youth.
The administration repeated its estimate that 150,000 jobs have been created or saved so far, and another 600,000 will be created or saved in the next 100 days as billions more dollars in contracts and grants are awarded.
"The act is now creating jobs in all 50 states," a senior administration official said. "People who are out of work or at risk of losing their jobs are experiencing and will continue more so to experience the benefits of this act across the country."
As the economy continues to weaken, states are contending with new yawning budget shortfalls.
Overall tax collections fell 12.6 percent in the first quarter, according to a new Rockefeller Institute of Government report. And the situation likely grew worse in April as personal income tax revenue plummeted. Several states are already having to tap into reserve funds to balance their budgets before their fiscal years end on June 30.
"Deeper revenue shortfalls and more budget adjustments are likely on the way for at least the next two quarters of this year," said Institute Senior Policy Analyst Lucy Dadayan.
New budget gaps of $59 billion have opened up in at least 42 states plus the District of Columbia, according to a Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report released Wednesday. This equals about 9 percent of state budgets. These gaps are in addition to the $48 billion cummulative shortfall states faced during the current fiscal year.
While the federal government has made billions available to the states, they have yet to claim much of it. Of the nearly $13 billion in state fiscal stabilization funds available, only $244 million has been spent, for instance.
The delay stems in part from states having to apply for the funds or receive applications and bids for projects.
Also, some cash-strapped state governments are finding they don't have the manpower needed to implement the stimulus programs. Responding to state's pleas for assistance, the White House Wednesday issued a new guidance allowing states to receive funds to cover administrative costs more quickly.
Asked about the states' worsening fiscal health, a senior administration official said the White House knew that the states would continue to struggle.
"The Recovery Act was never intended to fully offset state budget declines," the official said. "It certainly was intended and will, with expenditures of well over $100 billion going to states through the stabilization fund, offset a significant chunk of those loses. These cuts would be a lot deeper and those budget gaps would be a lot wider in the absence of the plan."
The Republicans didn't contribute to the stimulus package. They wanted to do nothing, except cut taxes for rich people. So they don't get to comment on the stimulus package. They get to shut up.
So, what is this? Now the White House is stealing monikers from Mayor Koch?
I work for Allegheny County in my state and we have received our money and now we are meeting to make sure it is spend right. So it will take time to spend the money if you want to spend it right.
You can not spend it fast if you want it to be spend right. Critics like the Republicans will stop at nothing to criicized the President..
I have no issue with the Republicans pointing out waste. However, I will take them more seriously when they acknowledge some of the good things that the money was spent on. No question some people will take advantage of the situation. It happens with democrats and Republicans. Looking at it holistically, the money is going where Obama said it would go. The Republicans continue to be the party of NO!
you have done a GREAT job of greasing the road to socialism.
And just how many jobs did Obama created since he's been in office? With the exception of filling his cabinet posts, it's been zip!
We need to know actual White House truths.
Retail Sales down, forclosures up. This is how the rescue is going.
It is truly odd that John Boehner, R-Ohio had nothing to say about the bridge to no-where in Aaska. Oh, I forgot, that was Palin's baby and she is a Republican and thou shalt not speak ill of Republicans.
Whoops, too late, the Republicans have already formed their circle and their leader(???) is screaming ... ready ... aim ... fire!
You are failing Economics 101 Oblamo.
It is truly odd that John Boehner, R-Ohio had nothing to say about the bridge to no-where in Alaska. Oh, I forgot, that was Palin's baby and she is a Republican and thou shalt not speak ill of Republicans.
The more Boehner speaks, the more you realize that he refuses to discuss serious issues in a serious manner. He wanted the stimulus to be spent instantaneously? I would rather they move efficently, pragmaticly and thoughtfully. Republicans need to start engaging in legitimate policy discussion, not this daily snarky banter.
The ONLY criticism of Obama, comes from REPUBLICANS ...
The Party Of NO ...sense
Be careful with 'Federal speak.' When Federal money is 'spent' it's called 'obligated' – this is not the same as 'disbursed' where monies are actually in the hands of consumers. Take for example a major Federal Highway project for $100M. When a contract is signed the books reflect an obligation of the $100M. That contractor will be paid in partial payments over the duration of the contract, often over several years. It's not correct to imply that $B/Ms have been 'spent' and that it's all out there for consumption. Most project monies will trickle slowly into the economy and are therefore not a real stimulus. Time will show the real purpose for this rush to increase our national debt.
Boehner and his allies need to be careful before they start calling out misspending w/ stimulus dollars. Their districts will have a fair share of boondoggles, too. Boehner really needs a hobby; he spends far too much time talking.
Boehner's arrogance makes it impossible to take him seriously.
Got stimulus, yet?
Nah. Didn't think so.
Maybe the journalists (HA!) at this network should take a good long gander at their lefty twin sister, the Associated Press, who decided to actually do a little investigating about the Obama Adminstration's claims.
Not a pretty picture at all.
So, I ask again, got stimulus, yet?
The white house is doing everything possible to destroy our beloved country! Like smurfie murphie needs an airport for 4 flights a day like a state with 3% unemployment needs billions for an intersection and states with 13% unemployment gets nothing. Yea, the white house is doing just great destroying our country. And now he is going to kill most citizens off with nationalized health care or at least the ones he hasn't killed off with starvation while he eats his $100 per pound beef.
P.S. bet cnn doesn't print this one.
NO HOPE, just another Obama SMOKE SCREEN and reckless spending of the democratic party. More and more out of work and Obama making up the NORMAL DEMOCRATIC LIES, People out of work, families loosing houses, workers gioing bankrupt and all the democrates can say tgings are getting better. LIES, LIES AND MORE LIES, Obama and the Democrates are spending us into a depression, exactly what they want, then they will take over as dictators, heed the words, the anti-christ is here with his demons.
It took 8 years for the repubs to mess up the whole economy, I can wait for longer for obama clean out their mess...oh by the way Cheney and Rush heads are similarly shaped the same, so they think the same ( ignorant and stupid)
Mr. Obama's Administration is doing the best that anyone could expect. After 8 years of Bush and Republican mis-management of the government and US policies, Mr. Obama has been serious psychological relief for Americans.
Great job, Mr. President!
OBUMMERS stimulus plan as well as his health plan,are bold face lies.Backus is a crook,as are the rest of Congress.When are we going to take our country back and throw out all these fing crooks!!!!
Frustration at the GOP focus on itself vs the people they have been elected to represent. Frustrated that the business/financial industry continues to conduct business the same as usual. The initial TARP funds by Bush have done zilch. Banks are still not lending.
I am still hopeful.