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Thursday, May 27, 2010

2,200 jobs credited to stimulus in NH

CONCORD – Federal stimulus money has created or saved the equivalent of 2,200 jobs in New Hampshire through March, the office of the stimulus director told the Executive Council on Wednesday.

That’s only about 12 percent of what President Barack Obama predicted would spring from the February 2009 law and 10,000 fewer than what the Obama administration estimated last month.

The jobs number is up about 10 percent from the previous quarter that ended in December, said stimulus director Christopher Clement.

The roughly $720 million in grants has led to the logging of 4.6 million hours of work since the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act began in February 2009, he added.

Only $7.5 million in new money came in over the previous three months, and some state programs will close well before the stimulus office’s scheduled closing at the end of September 2011.

“You are going to see the money trickle down and the programs start to close down,’’ Clement said.

The state Departments of Transportation (with construction spending) and Environmental Services (with a revolving fund for water and sewer projects) will likely outlive the life of the stimulus office, he added.

Gov. John Lynch said New Hampshire was among the states to get federal stimulus dollars most quickly spent and praised Clement and the founding director of the office, Deputy Attorney General Orville ‘’Bud’’ Fitch.

Obama claimed the stimulus would lead to an additional 16,000 jobs in a state that has received about 1 percent of the $787 billion.

The Council on Economic Advisers revised that estimate downward last month to 12,000 New Hampshire jobs.

The CEA used three approaches to arrive at individual state estimates for jobs: one at employment levels, the second at money spent in each state and the third at the type of work the stimulus money paid for.

State Republican leaders have ridiculed the impact of the stimulus on the state’s struggling economy and are attacking the prospect of a second stimulus bill, with $200 billion that the U.S. House could vote on later this week.

“This report confirms that the ‘stimulus’ has failed, and the Obama administration is misleading the public with phony job estimates,” said state GOP Communications Director Ryan Williams. “Paul Hodes, Carol Shea-Porter and Jeanne Shaheen need to immediately reject the Obama administration’s bogus estimates and call for a full review of stimulus spending. Granite State taxpayers need to know how the federal government is actually spending $787 billion of their hard-earned money.”

GOP congressional candidate Richard Ashooh, running for the right to face two-term Democratic congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter this fall, said the federal government’s Web site concludes the average cost per New Hampshire job has been $170,000.

“Given the cost per job, there is no excuse for anyone to think the stimulus bill was a good plan, and there is no excuse for Carol Shea-Porter to support a Stimulus II,’’ Ashooh said.

Sean Mahoney, another Republican candidate for the 1st Congressional District seat, called on the U.S. Government Accountability Office to investigate the conflicting job claims.

“When three different government entities report widely disparate jobs figures after spending the same enormous pot of money, it’s time for the politicians to start answering questions. Especially politicians like Carol Shea-Porter who voted for this debacle,” Mahoney said.

The Telegraph reported May 1 that Nashua had received more than $13.3 million in stimulus grants for education, energy, environmental products, housing and transportation initiatives.

Kevin Landrigan can be reached at 321-7040 or klandrigan@ nashuatelegraph.com.