Delaware stimulus czar updates state's spending

    Lt. Governor Matt Denn says Delaware has received nearly $1.5 billion in federal stimulus money, and that money has helped create or retain between 1,493 and 4,046 jobs.

    Delaware Lt. Governor and stimulus czar Matt Denn says the state received nearly $1.5 billion in federal funds from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as of January 14.

    Denn says $968 million has been sent to state agencies, while the remaining $500 million has been sent to other groups in the form of grants to local governments, private entities and colleges.  The report on stimulus spending shows 31% of the state’s share has gone to close the state’s budget deficit last year, this year, and next year.  Another 19.5% has been sent directly to local school districts and charter schools.

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    Denn says there is a large gap between the amount of money given to the state compared to the amount that’s been encumbered or spent, “Because the money that goes into the state deficit is coming in the form of an increased federal share of the Medicaid program.”  He says as claims come into the state, the federal stimulus money will be applied to cover those costs.

    Denn says identifying the number of jobs created or retained by the stimulus money in Delaware is more difficult now because the federal government has not released information on jobs created or retained at federal employers like Amtrak and Dover Air Force Base.  The federal government is also no longer requiring states to determine if a job would have been lost or never created if the stimulus money had never been received.  As part of the simpler calculation, if a job is funded by stimulus money, it is counted as a created or retained job. Under those new guidelines, Denn says the stimulus has created or retained between 1,493 and 4,046 jobs.  “The biggest increase in the numbers that you will see in the report is public education jobs,” says Denn.  He says there’s also been a significant increase in weatherization jobs.

    You can find a complete report on the state’s stimulus funding at the Delaware recovery website, recovery.delaware.gov.

    Wilmington Mayor James Baker (D) says while the stimulus money has been helpful, he’d like to see more money flowing directly to cities and counties, rather than to the states.  “We have cooperation with the state on certain projects right that we’re doing right, but we could things very quickly if we got it directly from the federal government,” Baker said.

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