Friday, June 05, 2009

Will Palin Take the Stimulus Funding Showdown to Court?

Lawmakers muster votes to override governor

Palin isn't saying what she would do if the Legislature overrides her veto. The Republican governor said through her spokeswoman, Sharon Leighow, on Thursday that "it's premature to discuss what may or may not happen."

First to the news on Sanford from yesterday.

He lost in State Court. It's time to move on there. That decision may have an impact on what Palin does here. Hard to say.

For the record, and contrary to what Republicans like Hawker say, the monies have strings attached.

Home builders say Ohio should not rush to adopt codes that could cost buyers as much as $5,000 per new home.

At issue is $96 million in stimulus money from the U.S. Department of Energy's State Energy Program. Among other things, states can use it to educate people about ways to save energy, to offer public and nonprofit agencies incentives to make their buildings more efficient and to audit buildings for energy efficiency.

Department of Energy spokeswoman Jen Stutsman said a pledge to enact the tougher building codes within the next eight years that Strickland made in a March 23 letter is all that's needed.

"Ohio has met the requirements for moving forward," Stutsman said.

The Department of Energy plans to give Ohio the entire $96 million well before the eight-year deadline, according to Stutsman. That means the entire amount could be spent before the state would need to change the codes.

The federal stimulus bill that President Barack Obama signed in February requires that governors assure the Department of Energy that their states plan to adopt the latest energy-efficiency building codes, or their equivalent, within the next eight years.

Strickland has done that, said Amanda Wurst, the governor's spokeswoman.

In the meantime, Wurst said, the state will receive 10 percent of the money immediately and another 40 percent once its formal application is in. The remaining 50 percent will become available in about a year after the state demonstrates that it has successfully spent the first half.

Some environmental groups see things differently.

Jen Miller, conservation coordinator for the Ohio chapter of the Sierra Club, said Department of Energy officials told her they intend to withhold 60 percent of the State Energy Program money - $57.6 million in Ohio's case - until the updated codes are in place.

And to think the chattering left here in Alaska are saying the opposite of what their compadres in the Lower 48 are saying.

Meanwhile on the topic of the stimulus package, job figures are not as bad as previously posted on this site. Not sure where Reuters had the figure from the previous article, but job losses have hit below that Pelosi "5 million a month" mark.

So the good news is, the stimulus package is working.............. Not.

_The 9.4 percent May unemployment rate is based on 14.5 million Americans out of work. But that number doesn't include discouraged workers, people who gave up looking for work after four weeks. Add those 792,000 people, and the unemployment rate is 9.8 percent.

_The official rate also doesn't include "marginally attached workers," or people who have looked for work in the past year but stopped searching in the past month because of barriers to employment such as child care, poor health or lack of transportation. Add those 1.4 million people, and the unemployment rate would be 10.6 percent.

_The official rate also doesn't include "involuntary part-time workers," or the 2.2 million people like Noel who took a part-time job because that's all they could get, plus those whose work hours dropped below the full-time level. Once those 9.1 million workers are added to the unemployment mix, the rate would be 16.4 percent.

All told, nearly 25 million Americans were either unemployed, underemployed or had given up looking for a job in May.

With G.M. and Chrysler going bankrupt, the unemployment figures tied with the bankruptcies haven't even begun to show up in the job loss figures.

So much for the millions of new jobs being created, and of those being created, many are part time.

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