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Portsmouth Herald Looks at STEWARD Stimulus Study

Critics say aid will have no impact on job creation

By Michael Mccord
A week after Gov. John Lynch announced the first project approvals from the estimated $900 million New Hampshire is expected to receive in federal stimulus money, a recently released study has questioned the job creation estimates of the Obama administration.

The administration said an estimated 16,000 jobs would be created or saved in New Hampshire when President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law in February.
Find out more:

The state of new Hampshire Web site dedicated to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act:

STEWARD of Propserity Web site:

But the study for recently established STEWARD of Prosperity said the stimulus money will have no impact on job creation.

"It's an open question whether or not the stimulus is a good deal for New Hampshire," said Fred Tausch, a Nashua businessman and former Obama supporter who founded STEWARD, which stands for Save the Economy without Accumulating Record Debt, earlier this year to oppose the administration's stimulus package.

The study, conducted by PolEcon research of Dover and unveiled Monday, said the largest portion of New Hampshire's allocation will simply replace existing state education and Medicaid spending with federal money. Because these funds do not represent new spending, the study concluded, it "will not increase aggregate demand or stimulate job creation."

Lynch will open a stimulus workshop at the University of New Hampshire in Durham today. The workshop is an informational session for municipal officials, businesses, educators and nonprofits who will be utilizing and applying for federal stimulus funds. The $900 million covers a range of programs including tax cuts, discretionary state spending, Medicaid, education, infrastructure, energy, health care and increased payments for unemployment benefits and food stamps.

"We have not had a chance to read the report," said Lynch spokesman Colin Manning about the STEWARD study. "However, just last week the governor and (Executive Council) approved four contracts funded through stimulus funding. As a result, Pike Industries estimates they will be able to create and retain between 180 to 250 jobs."

Last week, the Executive Council approved accepting $135 million in federal transportation stimulus funds and approved four contracts worth $20.5 million to Pike Industries for road paving projects from the Seacoast to the North Country — including $7.8 million for Route 101 repaving in the Epping-Exeter area.

The council also accepted $23 million in stimulus funds for weatherization projects for an estimated 3,500 additional low-income homes over the next three years.

"Expanding weatherization will create jobs today and help families save on their energy bills into the future," said Lynch.

Lynch will visit the NHWorks office on Lafayette Road to unveil a new job match Web site for unemployed workers and then greet workers at Global Relief Technologies at Pease International Tradeport. On Wednesday morning, he will give a State of the State speech to members of the Greater Portsmouth Chamber of Commerce at the Wentworth by the Sea hotel in New Castle.


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