NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) - Fiscally-stressed states are using their stimulus dollars to satisfy immediate needs rather than undertake longer-term reforms, according to a government report released Wednesday.
For example, states are spending education funds to prevent layoffs and maintain programs, a Government Accountability Office report found.
Trying to survive one of the worst economic downturns since the Great Depression, state and school district officials say they don't have the money to undertake projects such as building new schools and expanding early-childhood education.
Similarly, states are using nearly half their infrastructure funds for pavement improvements, which can be implemented quickly and don't require environmental clearances and in-depth design work.
The $787 billion recovery act walks a fine line between trying to get funds out quickly to stimulate the economy and spurring longer-term initiatives.