More Than 1.7 Million Area Residents to Benefit from Stimulus

Article excerpt

More than 1.7 million residents in eight Pittsburgh-area counties will get tax cuts, access to health insurance or food assistance from the federal economic stimulus package.

Pennsylvania expects to receive as much as $17 billion from the $787 billion package, state economic stimulus czar James Creedon said during a forum Friday at the Senator John Heinz History Center in the Strip District.

"It's made a huge difference," said Creedon, secretary of the state Department of General Services and chief implementation officer of Pennsylvania's Commission on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

"The people who supply these projects -- steel manufacturers, concrete and asphalt plants -- are now getting more business," he continued. "That's what stimulates the economy."

Creedon took part in a panel discussion attended by about 300 nonprofit leaders and sponsored by The Pittsburgh Foundation. The other panelists were Robert Nelkin, president and chief professional officer of United Way of Allegheny County; Audrey Russo, president and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council; and Walter Smith, executive director of Family Resources.

During the question-and-answer session, several participants raised concerns about programs for which there is no stimulus money.

"I'm deeply troubled by the absence of human service funding at the state level," said D. Meredith Dobson, grants administrator for Mercy Behavioral Health. …