Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Herald Blasts Patrick Administration's 'Save-A-Hack' Stimulus Program

When Administration and Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez and Director of Infrastructure Investment Jeffrey Simon testify before the Joint Committee on Federal Stimulus Oversight this afternoon, you can be sure the committee will have some questions about the front-page headlines in today’s Boston Herald.

The committee is trying to determine exactly how the federal funding received under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is helping to create and sustain jobs in Massachusetts. But as the Herald reports today, the bulk of these jobs are being added in the public sector, even as the state’s unemployment rate has jumped to 9.4 percent and 323,200 Massachusetts residents remain out of work.

Four months ago, Governor Patrick credited federal stimulus money with creating or retaining 23,533 jobs. It turns out those numbers were grossly inflated, with the “official” number of jobs created in the last quarter now pegged at just 4,722.

According to the Herald’s review, about 71 percent of these jobs were government jobs paid either fully or partly through stimulus funding. Also, about 70 percent of the 4,722 total jobs listed in the official count were actually existing jobs that were simply “retained”, with only 1,389 “new” jobs created statewide.

It’s safe to say the public was sold a false bill of goods when the federal stimulus money was first announced with a promise of putting people back to work and funding “shovel-ready” projects in communities across the Commonwealth. Pioneer Institute Executive Director Jim Stergios probably summed it up best when he referred to the federal stimulus package as the “Public Sector Protection Act.”