Indiana has received nearly $2.4 billion in federal stimulus money and has spent nearly $780 million so far, according
to preliminary data released Thursday.
About $610 million went for basic school funding in June to help prop up
spending in the state budget that took effect July 1.
The data shows that the money funded the equivalent of 16,158
jobs from Feb. 17 to Sept. 30, according to Obama administration analysis.
The report does not include money that
goes directly to local governments or individuals, such as recipients of Medicaid, food stamps or unemployment benefits.
Overall, Indiana is expected to receive more than $4.5 billion from the $787 billion federal stimulus program designed
to jump-start the economy. The preliminary data are part of a national effort by states to calculate the real effect of the
Cris Johnston, executive director of government efficiency and financial planning, said the data
are only a snapshot and it likely will take several more quarters to determine the full effect of the stimulus dollars. The
figures released Thursday reflect what has been awarded to 16 Indiana state agencies and 53 programs.
doesn’t tell us a whole lot," Johnston said.
For example, the state has been awarded about $658 million for
highway and road construction. But although many projects that depend on the money are under way, only about $60 million has
been received and spent, supporting about 300 jobs. The state will be reimbursed for much of the money once the projects are
The $610 million for basic school funding supported more than 13,000 jobs. About $82 million more went
to specific education programs, funding about 2,000 jobs.
The federal government told states to keep their counting
simple: A job means a full-time, full-year position. So a 40-hour-a-week summer job will be counted as one-fourth of a job.
A part-time researcher who works all year is half a job. And a full-time construction engineer who works all year is one job.
The reporting does not attempt to measure jobs created by $288 billion in tax cuts or the sizable increases in spending
on Medicaid and unemployment benefits. The White House has said that, when considering those factors and estimating the ripple
effect through the economy, more than 1 million jobs have been created or saved so far.
The awards made so far
in Indiana have gone to a variety of purposes and programs, including those for supplemental services for disadvantaged students;
funding for property tax credits used by local governments for public safety and general government purposes; a youth conservation
project that lasted from May through September; home meal deliveries for seniors; and wastewater treatment plant construction.
"I think a lot of people are trying to use it (the money) in the best way possible and that’s the charge from
the governor," Johnston said. "The governor said we’re going to accept the money, use it quickly but use it prudently
to build things of lasting value."
Although preliminary data was due to the federal government on Oct. 10,
states have until Oct. 21 to finalize their reports. The federal government then plans to make the data public nationally
later this month.
Gov. Mitch Daniels announced last week that Indiana finished the first quarter of this fiscal
year $254 million below target and said he did not believe figures showing that the state’s unemployment rate dropped from
10.6 percent in July to 9.9 percent in August.
He also said Indiana has put some of its federal stimulus money
to quick use but that it’s hard to see a big difference.
"I personally wouldn’t try to tell a taxpayer that
this had any effect that I can see on the economy or let alone that there is some specific number of jobs attached to it,"
he said Oct. 10.