We’ve been hearing an awful lot about federal economic stimulus dollars…what NJ’s share will be, and how that money will be spent.
Well, it turns out New Jersey’s share of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is $17 Billion. Today, lawmkers attempted to find out how that money will be distributed by calling cabinet members and department heads to testify before various committees at the State House.
In fact, very little of the spending is discretionary. There are strict formulas that are mapped out in the federal legislation. For example, New Jersey gets $121 million for weatherization. This means that households can get up to $6500 each to make homes more energy efficient by insulating vents and windows. But in order to qualify, one must be at 200% of the Federal poverty level or 60% of the state median.
New Jersey will also get $2.2 billion in Medicaid reimbursement funding which will be used to shore up safety nets such as child immunizations and Meals on Wheels for seniors.
How will this be accounted for? the state has set up a website http://www.recovery.nj.gov
Corzine’s Chief of Staff Ed Mcbride and State Comptroller Matt Boxer will be in charge of ensuring that accountability. During his testimony before the Assembly Budget Committee today Boxer was grilled by Republican Joe Malone who said there was already zero accountability when it came to a big pot of school contruction money in 2005, and how will this be any different?