Saturday, September 11, 2010

Florida slow to spend federal stimulus cash

Florida agencies have spent only about 40 percent of their share of federal stimulus money, a slow flow of funds that has made a limited impact on the state's dire job market.

Cities, counties, universities and some other recipients in the state have used only about one-fifth of their share. In all, about $5.7 billion of stimulus grants awarded to Florida has yet to be spent.

Florida's stimulus money is expected to reach $21.7 billion. The bulk of it is in the pipeline, and the state has until 2015 to spend it all.

About half — $11 billion — has been or will be sent to individuals through extra unemployment benefits, food stamps, Medicaid and direct-aid programs.

But nearly 60 percent of the $6.4 billion awarded so far to state agencies — about $4 billion — has not been spent, according to Don Winstead, Gov. Charlie Crist's stimulus adviser. This includes money for schools, transportation, job training and placement, health care, police and environmental protection.

Other grant recipients, mostly local governments and universities, have been awarded $2.3 billion. But through July, they had spent only $472 million.

With the exception of the money given to public schools — which state officials say has saved the jobs of at least 20,000 teachers, aides and other personnel — much of the stimulus spending has provided unemployed Floridians with benefits and health care rather than create jobs. And it's the job-creation money that has not been spent as rapidly.

No comments:

Post a Comment