Archive for the ‘Stimulus’ Category

A Georgia college helps stimulate the stimulus numbers

The Associated Press is out today with this:

An early progress report on President Barack Obama’s economic recovery plan overstates by thousands the number of jobs created or saved through the stimulus program, a mistake that White House officials promise will be corrected in future reports.

The government’s first accounting of jobs tied to the $787 billion stimulus program claimed more than 30,000 positions paid for with recovery money. But that figure is overstated by least 5,000 jobs, according to an Associated Press review of a sample of stimulus contracts.

Georgia played a small part in the exaggeration:

Officials at East Central Technical College in Douglas, Ga., said they now know they shouldn’t have claimed 280 stimulus jobs linked to more than $200,000 to buy trucks and trailers for commercial driving instruction, and a modular classroom and bathroom for a health education program.

“It was an error on someone’s part,” said Mike Light, spokesman for the Technical …

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Your morning jolt: Maynard Jackson’s daughter to endorse Kasim Reed

The daughter of Maynard Jackson will endorse Kasim Reed in the race for mayor of Atlanta this morning, as get-out-the-vote efforts gear up in anticipation of the Tuesday vote.

Brooke Jackson-Edmond and the Reed campaign have scheduled a 10 a.m. press conference at Paschal’s Restaurant.

Consider this part of the fallout from that rally-behind-Lisa-Borders memo circulated by Aaron Turpeau in August. We understand that it ticked off the family of Atlanta’s first black mayor to no end.

Another reason it should come as no surprise: Jackson-Edmond, her father, and Daniel Halpern established Jackmont Hospitality, Inc., in 1994, a food service company with some interests at Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport, as well as other spots throughout Atlanta, according to its web site.

Halpern was a member of the exploratory committee that Reed established in 2008, in the run-up to his mayoral campaign.

Jackson-Edmond’s endorsement, which will become part of a radio blitz by the Reed …

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Your morning jolt: Emory president hints at new, less charitable relationship with Grady

A state-of-the-university speech isn’t normally a source for political news, but in his address this week, Emory president Jim Wagner dropped several hints this week that his institution’s relationship with Grady Memorial Hospital is about to change.

The 46-minute YouTube clip can be seen here:

But if you don’t have that kind of time, at the 13-minute mark, Wagner a warning, and it wasn’t just for about-to-be furloughed employees. The Grady references are marked in bold:

”Spending from our endowment is entirely a short-term fix. In fact, it is an entirely unacceptable strategy for the long term. Instead, our strategy must be to come to a new financial level as soon as possible, that will allow us to go forward spending only a portion of the interest earned on that endowment…

“By developing new revenue, and reducing expenses, we must go forward on a financial base that is at least $60 million smaller annually than we had planned for from the endowment and our investment …

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Your morning jolt: Phone problems mar water ’summit’

When speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Gov. Sonny Perdue said the federal judge who ruled against Georgia in the tri-state waters war decision had made it clear that the ball was now in Congress’ court.

Perdue said he would explain that, if necessary, when the Georgia delegation met in Washington that afternoon. The governor and his lawyers were to participate via telephone.

In the end, Perdue didn’t get the chance. Five called votes on the U.S. House side cut the bipartisan meeting — a statewide call to arms, or at least buckets — to less than 10 minutes.

Then there was the phone issue, according to my AJC colleague Bob Keefe, who was waiting outside.

Nobody in the conference room at the Canon office building on Capitol Hill could make the speakerphone work.

Ultimately, the Georgia’s two U.S. Senators and most of its 13 congressmen — along with dozens of congressional staffers — crowded around a handheld Blackberry cell phone to make the call back to Atlanta.

The first thing …

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Your morning jolt: Thank God for California

Taxes collected by the 50 states dropped by nearly 12 percent overall in the first three months of 2009 over the year before – the largest such decline in nearly half a century, according to the Rockefeller Institute of Government.

According to a report issued late last week, the only good news is that Georgia is somewhere in the middle:

All regions of the country saw declines in total state tax collections, with the Far West seeing the largest decline at 16 percent. Only the Rocky Mountain and Plains regions saw single-digit declines at 5 and 6 percent, respectively.

In other words, forget Mississippi. Thank goodness for California. Read the entire report here.

With that kind of data in mind, my AJC colleague Aaron Gould Sheinin spoke with Sonny Perdue about the 2010 budget and what the governor estimates as an immediate, $800 million shortfall. Click here for details.

The Republican base will want to read Perdue’s comments on his veto of a capital gains tax cut bill …

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Your morning jolt: Here a czar, there a czar

The youthful head of the Obama administration’s auto task force has abandoned that post, only days after pushing General Motors through the rapids of bankruptcy court.

The White House said Steven Rattner decided to return to private life and his family in New York City. But his brief tenure came under a cloud with an investigation of an influence peddling scandal back in New York.

Rattner, an investment banker, was unlikely to face charges in the investigation — which involves a giant state pension fund that provides retirement benefits for more than 1 million government employees.

But the resignation has caused U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston to renew his call for more scrutiny of President Barack Obama’s policy “czars” — who have been tasked with everything from saving the auto industry to climate change.

The Savannah congressman dropped new legislation on Wednesday that would require Senate confirmation such appointments. The measure is unlikely to move, given Kingston’s minority …

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Your morning jolt: F-22 fight moves from sniping to data

In the last 24 hours, the looming confrontation between the Obama Administration and Congress over the F-22 stealth fighter has moved to the next level — from sniping to the rolling out of detailed arguments.

Near the close of business on Thursday, The Hill newspaper in D.C. posted an article that set a hefty per-hour pricetag on the Marietta-assembled F-22 Raptor — along with the worries of John Murtha, lead dog on defense spending in the House.

Murtha advocates more spending on the Raptor, but:

He also expressed some concern with the F-22 costs.

“We got problems with the F-22, there is no question about it. We are talking about $50,000 per hour to fly that plane,” he said.

The $50,000 price tag per hour is for operating and maintaining the F-22, according to data from the House Appropriations Defense panel.

This morning, the Washington Post sets the price of the F-22 slightly lower — at $44,000 per hour — but adds a large focus on the problems of upkeep:

The aircraft’s …

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Your morning jolt: Fight over F-22 renews feud between Chambliss and McCain

In Washington, The Hill newspaper today says U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’s maneuver to force the Pentagon to purchase more Marietta-made F-22 stealth fighters has revived a fight with Republican colleague John McCain of Arizona:

Chambliss won narrow approval at a closed-door Senate Armed Services Committee markup for his amendment authorizing $1.75 billion to purchase seven F-22 Raptors from Georgia-based Lockheed Martin — despite strong objections from McCain, the ranking Republican on the panel, and a veto threat from President Obama….

McCain was irritated that Chambliss offered the amendment during the markup, according to sources, and has vowed to fight it on the Senate floor.

Chambliss endorsed McCain during the 2008 Republican presidential primary. The Hill also notes this alliance that Chambliss put together on the Senate Armed Services Committee:

During the closed markup, Chambliss got support from three other Democrats and one Independent: Sens. Edward Kennedy (Mass.), …

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Your morning jolt: It’s not enough to get laid off in some parts of Georgia. You have to stay laid off.

The Wall Street Journal this morning has piece on the jaded side of the free market that’s showing itself to the residents of Douglas, Ga.

This spring, Pilgrims Pride Co. announced it would shut down its local chicken-processing plant as part of its bankruptcy filing. To Coffee County, it was a loss of 1,000 jobs and $300,000 a year in county tax revenues.

Local officials have been trying to find a buyer, but the company has resisted, to the point of keeping one prospective buyer from touring the plant. “The standoff shows how two important imperatives in a recession — creating jobs and cutting excess capacity — can collide,” according to the WSJ.

To continue:

In an email to the city of Douglas, Pilgrim’s President and Chief Executive Don Jackson said, “With declining demand for chicken in this terrible economy we need to remove chicken from the market. This would not be accomplished with a sale.” While he said he recognized the “devastating impact” a closing would have on …

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Your morning jolt: A 50-something businessman retires, just as the governor’s race begins

For months, Republicans have buzzed about yet another contender in the race for governor, a fresh face backed by the state’s business community.

You have to wonder if they’ve been talking about Tom Bell, the 59-year-old CEO of Cousins Properties who retires at the end of the month.

The business pages contain two references this morning. This by my AJC colleagues Michelle Shaw and Gertha Coffee:

[Sam]Massell and others suggested Bell might aspire to a political office such as Atlanta mayor or governor. Bell gave no indication of plans in that direction. He also said he won’t stay at Cousins in any capacity after retiring.

“I just don’t believe in it. I’ve been there and done that. I’ve been the COO who became the CEO, while the old CEO is on the board and chairman or something, and it’s just uncomfortable,” he said.

Today’s Atlanta Business Chronicle has this about Bell:

But, he also said he has been approached by several people about pursuing the governorship.

“I have learned …

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