Friday, February 27, 2009

Stimulating Awareness: When, where, and how will the $787 billion in economic stimulus funding be spent?

There's no shortage of opportunities for regular citizens seeking to track implementation of the massive federal stimulus legislation and for auditor-types looking for work associated with the package. In fact, according to a New York Times article, $350 million of stimulus funds are dedicated to the effort of stimulus oversight.

For ordinary citizens who are curious about the progress of the stimulus spending, a federal website ( established by the Obama administration aims to answer questions about the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (click here for the full text of the final act). The site gives background of the legislation, a simple breakdown of projected spending, a timeline for implementation, and a forum for suggestions. may prove most useful in the upcoming months as various federal agencies and state governments follow through with mandatory data reporting on actual spending of stimulus dollars and begin to gauge the impacts of those funds. Weekly agency reports will begin March 3rd but won’t include spending information until April 6th. State governments will start sending in quarterly spending reports on July 10th. As reports come in, will post the information for public view.

In addition to tracking dollars and cents, the public has several tools available to determine how actual spending meets the expectations of the President and Congress. The Congressional Budget Office has released a summary of the anticipated budgetary effects of the legislation, broken down by year (2009 through 2019) and service area. Using these estimates, the New York Times has developed a detailed, interactive listing of expenditures. As spending reports come in, the public can observe whether or not actual expenditures are on pace with these projections.

It will also be possible for Wisconsinites to track how the Badger State may fare. The State of Wisconsin has created its own website ( to display estimates of what funding the state might realize, listing anticipated expenditures by program area. Additional information on state-by-state stimulus appropriations can be seen through an interactive map established by the Center for American Progress and state-by-state fact sheets developed by the Senate Democratic Policy Committee.

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