Greetings, I’m Jeffrey Simon. I head up the Massachusetts Recovery and Reinvestment Office. Governor Patrick has assigned our office the task of overseeing the federal stimulus program here in Massachusetts. I’d like to fill you in on what we’ve been up to. Most importantly, I want you to engage with me and tell me what you think about what we’re doing. I should mention that I am new to blogging, so please go easy on me at the beginning if I make a mistake. Hopefully we will be able to start a dialogue or a discussion about what this program means and how it works.
You probably know that last February, Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act - thus the name of our office. This is a $787 billion law designed to get the economy going again and to help those who have been hurt by this terrible economic situation. Those are the two main goals of the Recovery Program – to stabilize and to stimulate. Stabilize the lives of the people and stimulate the economy. The thinking behind this is that if we can stop the slide backward, we can try to move forward by spending money on solid projects that need to be done and at the same time put people back to work.
So we are working in Massachusetts to make that happen. Out of the $787 billion, we figure that about $14 billion of that will benefit Massachusetts one way or the other; just over $4.5 billion in tax and bond financing issues and $3 billion directly to cities and towns, non-profits, private companies and health and educational institutions.
April 17, 2009, Governor Deval Patrick joined Congressman John W. Olver in breaking ground on the Commonwealth’s first “shovel ready” stimulus project – a regional transit center in Greenfield.
That leaves about $6 billion that flows through state agencies that I want to talk with you about. I’d like to share details about the rest of the program as well, but I’m going to start by talking about the money that actually comes through state government. Here’s how it’s being spent:
Today is really just an introduction, so I won’t get into a lot of detail (check out our Citizens' Update for more detail). But I do want to ask you to help me out. If you have a question, ask me. If you want to make a comment, tell me - whether you think I’ll like it or not. Let me know how the recovery program is affecting you in your city or your town or tell me if anyone knows how it’s going. Do people in your city or town even know which programs are stimulus programs? All of this is information that will help me do a better job for you, which is why the Governor appointed me.
Thanks for listening.