Sunday, February 08, 2009

Reading The Stimulus Bill II

647 pages is a lot. And, there's a whole lot here. Sheesh.

Title VIII deals with "Interior and Environment". The first section allocates $325,000,000 to the Bureau of Land Management "for priority road, bridge, and trail repair and decommissioning, critical deferred maintenance projects, facilities construction and renovation, hazardous fuel reduction, and remediation of abandoned mine or well projects."

Just a thought here. I've reached only page 111 of over six hundred, and see thousands of potential jobs, including projects that would all sorts of multiplier effects (repairing and building commuter rail and intercity rail lines would provide jobs for concrete and steel manufacturers, subcontractors, etc.). Every time someone says this bill won't create any jobs, a kitten dies.

The USGS even gets a share - $200,000,000 - for deferred maintenance and replacement and repair of things like seismic detectors and volcano monitors. What a waste of money!

The Bureau of Indian Affairs gets a paltry half a billion dollars for school and other facility building, repair, and maintenance. I say "paltry" because the state of infrastructure on Indian Reservations is sad, almost a travesty, and three or four times that could be allocated and still not meet the needs. I suppose it's a start, though. There is $8.4 billion in state and tribal assistance grants that should help, though. Related to this whole subject, the Indian Health Service receives a little over half a billion dollars for "priority health care facilities construction projects and deferred maintenance, and the purchase of equipment and related services, including but not limited to health information technology."

Under appropriations for "Public Health and Social Services Emergency Funds", $420 million is allocated "to prepare for and respond to an influenza pandemic, including the development and purchase of vaccine, antivirals, necessary medical supplies, diagnostics, and other surveillance tools". There's an additional $50,000,000 for information technology security at HHS.

Subtitle C concerns the Department of Education. The whopping sum of $13 billion is provided under the authority of title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965. There are some other funds made available, and then for Special Education, under the authority of the Americans With Disabilities Act (which Pres. George H. W. Bush opposed), another thirteen billion dollars.

Title XIII deals specifically with education spending, uner the heading of the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund. A whopping seventy nine billion dollars is set aside to make sure that states don't have to close down schools due to lack of funds. I can see why this is a waste of taxpayer money . . .

Now, we have reached the Republican part, Division B - "Other Provisions: Title I - Tax Provisions". After a long table of contents, Sec. 1001 of Subtitle A, "Making Work Pay", is an adjustment to the withholding provisions, including extending this to American possessions. Subtitle B - "Additional Tax Relief for Families With Children" begins with Section 1101, "Increase in Earned Income Tax Credit". Hmm, maybe this is more the Democratic part, because the Republicans have never liked this (unless you count Ronald Reagan, whose Administration came up with the idea, and who promoted it; when Bill Clinton wanted to increase the credit, the Republicans who controlled the Congress back then wanted to kill the entire program).

Subtitle E concerns business tax benefits, mostly by extending certain tax credits and other incentives past their expiration dates. That's the beauty and challenge of so much tax legislation - it does nothing more than amend various provisions of previously existing bills. It is also why reading them, and decoding them, is so aggravating. One needs to refer to the original legislation, many times, in order to figure out what the intent of the change is. Section 1421 of Part 3 provides for credits for hiring veterans and "disconnected youth". Not too shabby, I guess. I also like Section 1541 of Part 5, a repeal of the withholding provisions for government contractors.

Subtitle G is entitled "Energy Incentives", with Part I being for "Renewable Energy Incentives". Section 1601 is an extension of the credit for energy from renewable sources. Again, not too shabby.

To be continued . . .

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More