Magazine article Government Finance Review

ARRA Funding Recipients Meet First Reporting Deadline

Magazine article Government Finance Review

ARRA Funding Recipients Meet First Reporting Deadline

Article excerpt

For state and local governments, one of the conditions of receiving funding under the American Resource and Recovery Act (ARRA) is the obligation to report to the public each quarter on how the money awarded--taxpayer dollars--is being spent. Beginning October 1,2009, and officially ending on October 10, 2009, prime and sub-recipients of this funding, which included states and localities, were required to meet their first reporting deadline. Recipients filed a total of 130,362 reports to FederalReporting.gov, the password-protected government Web site created specifically to collect this data from recipients. The reports included the total amount of ARRA funds each prime and sub-recipient received between February 17, 2009, and September 30, 2009 (the reporting period); the total amount of the funds expended; and a description and location of the project. The public can now access this information on a state-by-state basis at Recovery.gov.

In the next reporting period, prime and sub-recipients will be required to report on the total amount of ARRA funds received from October 1, 2009, through December 31, 2009. The next reporting period runs from January 1, 2010, to January 10, 2010. From January 11 to January 21, relevant federal agencies will review the data, and from January 22 to January 29, recipients will be able to make any necessary changes.

HELP WITH REPORTING

The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Recovery Act and Transparency Board created and compiled several resources to assist recipients with their reporting requirements. A Recipient Reporting Overview, the first in a series of tutorial reporting videos addressing initial steps to be taken regarding registration and reporting requirements, was developed. In addition, several sets of frequently asked questions (FAQs) were compiled to address uncertainties recipients had regarding the reporting process. The FAQs attempt to clarify much of the guidance issued by the OMB over the past several months and touch on issues such as what is necessary to begin reporting, who is the correct reporting recipient, what is the correct way to calculate job creation, how to correct reporting errors, and how the reported information will be used. According to the FAQs, any errors found after the October 30, 2009, reporting date will be corrected during the next reporting cycle (January 1, 2010, to January 10, 2010).

WHAT REPORTING REVEALED

The promise of the ARRA (enacted in February 2009) was that the infusion of federal tax dollars to both the public and private sectors would boost the flailing economy, help to preserve and create jobs, and alleviate the need for deep cuts in state and local government budgets. The reporting data provided to FederalReporting.gov showed that a total of 640,329 jobs were created or saved: 30,908 by federal contracts, 607,919 by grants, and 1,503 by loans.

Several governors are asserting that the ARRA has in fact achieved its intended result. In Kentucky, the governor reported that the federal stimulus program was pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into the state's economy and helping it maintain jobs and programs in education, health care, and public safety, saving the state from having to pursue crippling budget cuts. Kentucky is expected to receive $3 billion in stimulus funding between 2009 and 2011.

In Wisconsin, the governor's office provided a similar analysis, noting that because of ARRA funding, the state averted a $550 million cut in the education budget that would have caused numerous layoffs and created the need for significant tax increases. In particular, the Milwaukee Public Schools reported that 996 jobs were saved as a result of the $75.8 million it received in state stabilization money

In Michigan, which has the country's highest unemployment rate at 15.3 percent, the reporting shows that ARRA funding saved or created 2,600 positions in local governments, universities, businesses, and nonprofit associations throughout the state. …

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