Tennessee: Stimulus package could deliver thousands jobs for area

Tennessee: Stimulus package could deliver thousands jobs for area

February 4th, 2009 by Herman Wang in Local Regional News

WASHINGTON - Tennessee could gain 75,000 new jobs from the economic stimulus package, while Georgia could add 113,000 jobs over the next two years, according to an estimate released Tuesday by the White House.

The stimulus bill could create about 3.7 million jobs if it passes, the White House said.

"We need to immediately jump-start job creation and President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan will help those who have suffered the most during this economic crisis," National Economic Council Director Larry Summers said Tuesday. "Our economy is in the midst of an unprecedented crisis and we need to act now."

The National Conference of State Legislatures said Tuesday that, with states facing a combined $83 billion shortfall in their fiscal 2010 budgets, the stimulus would provide welcome relief.

"The states obviously have an interest in obtaining assistance from the federal government," NCSL Deputy Executive Director Carl Tubesing said. "They can't deficit-spend. The decisions they make to close their budget gaps actually have an effect on the economy."

JOB CREATION

Jobs to be created by economic stimulus package:

* Tennessee: 75,000

* Georgia: 113,000

* Total U.S.: 3.7 million

Source: White House

Tennessee is expected to get about $3.8 billion from the $819 billion package that passed the House last week. Georgia could get $5.7 billion.

The Senate bill, now being debate, is $884 billion. The Senate spent Tuesday voting on amendments and is expected to vote on the full package by the end of the week.

The bill, a priority of President Barack Obama's, includes spending on highway and school construction, renewable energy programs, Medicaid relief for states, extended unemployment benefits and other programs.

Republicans have complained that the bill is larded with wasteful spending that will do little to actually stimulate the economy.

"It is staggering to me that anyone could think about borrowing $1 trillion in this proposal here, and spending it mostly on things that don't create jobs," Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., told CNN on Tuesday.

Republican leaders said their alternative will include a 4 percent government-backed mortgage to all creditworthy Americans to refinance or buy a home and a $15,000 tax credit for home purchases.

"A $15,000 tax credit, 4 percent mortgage, restart housing, instant jobs," said Sen. Alexander, who holds the No. 3 leadership post among Senate Republicans. "That's the best way to help the economy, and it would cost a third to a fifth as much as this trillion-dollar spending proposal that the Democrats have presented."

Ten GOP senators, including Georgians Johnny Isakson and Saxby Chambliss, met Tuesday morning to discuss their own proposals.

None would say what was discussed, but CNN reported that the group has concerns that GOP leadership's primary focus on the housing market and tax cuts won't be enough to help the economy recover.

"The meeting was an informal group of GOP senators who have good ideas on how to best stimulate the economy," Isakson spokeswoman Sheridan Watson said.