ARRA One Year Later: “A Blueprint for Success and a Foundation for Full Recovery”

Senate Must Join the House to Pass Comprehensive Jobs Act Now that Includes Additional Aid to Workers and Fiscal Relief to States
Augusta, Maine (Wednesday, February 17, 2010)—The Maine Center for Economic Policy (MECEP) today, on the one-year anniversary of the enactment of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), urged swift Senate passage of a comprehensive new jobs bill to continue the drive toward full recovery from the worst recession since the Great Depression.

“Job creation is not a partisan issue; it is a matter of economic necessity,” said MECEP Executive Director Christopher St. John.  “The ARRA provides a blueprint for success and a foundation for full recovery, but Maine and the nation’s economic recovery demands further action now.  Congress must extend aid to workers and fiscal assistance to the states immediately.  The jobs and livelihoods of thousands of Mainers and the renewed vitality of the state’s economy depend on it.”

ARRA extended benefits to the unemployed, increased federal Medicaid assistance to states and created a temporary state fiscal stabilization fund.  The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that together these provisions preserved or created 10,000 jobs in Maine.  The additional federal Medicaid funding will expire on December 31, 2010, in the middle of the next state fiscal year, and the remainder of the temporary state fiscal stabilization fund is insufficient to prevent cuts in next year’s state budget.  The House recently passed the Jobs for Main Street Act of 2010, which extends aid to workers laid off during the recession and contains both the Medicaid assistance and the state fiscal stabilization fund.  The Senate has yet to act.

“A recent MECEP analysis projects that closing the current state budget shortfall through cuts alone without consideration of other options at the state level could cost Maine to lose 7,000-10,000 Maine jobs- essentially the same number of jobs the ARRA saved,” said MECEP Fiscal Policy Analyst Dan Coyne.  “This number could be even greater if fiscal relief to states is not extended because the state’s proposed supplemental budget assumes that $35 million- 8 percent of the shortfall -in additional aid will be forthcoming.”

The analysis of projected job losses from passage of the proposed supplemental state budget is available on MECEP’s website.