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March 04, 2009 10:39 PM UTC

When the money comes, spend wisely

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  • by: TheBell

( – promoted by Colorado Pols)

The Bell Policy Center is a state partner of the Working Poor Families Project, which this week released Principles for State Implementation – guidelines for states on spending of stimulus funds as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The principles cover two broad themes: (1) spending should stabilize the economy, promote growth and benefit those most hurt by the recession; (2) and spending should be open and accountable.

Colorado is in line to get billions of ARRA dollars and create 59,000 jobs over the next two years. That spending will come as our state’s joblessness rate climbs and as the state budget is cut by more than $1 billion.

It is likely that Colorado lawmakers will move quickly to make spending decisions, so guidelines are important so that money is spent wisely and effectively.

We think the principles laid out by the Working Poor Families Project are worth sharing. WPFP is a national initiative to improve state policies to benefit low-income workers and their families.

Summary of principles below the fold

Make investments that stabilize the economy, promote growth, and benefit those hurt most by the recession

Low-income families and unemployed workers are especially vulnerable during the current economic downturn.  Creating new economic and education opportunities for them should be a key state goal.  Research has shown that providing increased support and income to low-income people is one of the most effective and quickest ways of expanding economic activity. Policymakers should:

• Make it a priority to create family-supporting jobs.

• Use resources to build worker skills and link training to job-creation efforts.

• Invest in distressed communities.

• Maximize resources to benefit workers and their families.

Assure that funds are spent in an open and accountable manner that maximizes benefits

The Recovery Act calls for strong oversight and transparency of spending. To meet that goal, state and local policymakers should:

• Allocate resources based on goals and standards through transparent processes.

• Maintain public accountability.

• Align public systems and resources to achieve optimal impact.

You can read the full description of the principles at www.workingpoorfamilies.org

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