The one-year anniversary of the passage of the federal economic stimulus package shows the program is still controversial. The 787-billion dollar program is funneling money to infrastructure projects nationwide, including about one-point-seven billion dollars in Nebraska.
Governor Dave Heineman says the program has fallen short of its stated goals. “Most people, as they evaluate the stimulus bill, it stimulated the public sector,” Heineman says. “It protected cops, firefighter and teacher jobs, all of which are important, but what it failed to do, most importantly, it didn’t stimulate the private sector. We’ve seen the private sector unemployment go all the way up to 10%, much greater than the president had predicted.”
The governor says more help should be targeted toward the nation’s merchants, who drive the economy. “We need to do something for small business,” Heineman says. “Tax relief for small businesses, that’s the economic engine of our country. If there’s any disappointment or any failure, it’s the failure to stimulate the private economy which is so critical to America’s economic success.”
There is some discussion in Washington of another stimulus-type of bill aimed at job creation. Heineman is skeptical about that proposed venture. “I’m not sure. It depends on what they would do with the jobs bill, if it’s not targeted to small businesses, I don’t think it would be particularly effective,” Heineman says. “Now, if they can do something to spur tax relief for small businesses, help them out, help our families out, then it’s probably worth looking at.”
Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton