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Florida getting more stimulus money than predicted

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Florida is receiving much more economic stimulus money than Governor Charlie Crist predicted last year. Gina Jordan tells us the state is even ahead of schedule in the anticipated number of jobs created or saved by the federal funding.

Don Winstead is Florida’s Economic Stimulus Special Advisor. He updated reporters Friday on the amount that Florida is expected to receive over the course of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. It’s much more than the $12-billion the governor mentioned during last year’s state of the state speech.

“We’ve now revised upward our estimate of what Florida will receive in total recovery act funds to $19.5-billion. So that $19.5-billion is totally what we expect to receive and includes all the awards that have been made so far, plus some announcements that have been made that we’ve not gotten formal awards.”

The Obama Administration’s Council of Economic Advisors estimates that 153-thousands jobs have been created or saved in Florida since February of 2009 because of stimulus funds. Slightly more than 33-thousand of those full-time equivalent jobs came in the first quarter of this year. The original projection for Florida was 206-thousand total jobs created over the course of the money being awarded, which has us currently ahead of schedule. As for the impact on Florida’s economy, Winstead says the state has seen substantial growth, especially in education.

“Basically, you’re talking about over two school years, something approaching four-billion dollars. So that’s been a huge impact in terms of stabilizing the state and local education budgets. Clearly, school districts will tell you that they’re struggling as is, but if you’d taken this amount of money out, the struggle would have been extraordinarily more difficult.”

Winstead says another significant area of impact is in transportation.

“You’re talking about $1.35-billion in highway projects at a time when the transportation trust funds also are struggling. These are projects that would have been delayed and either not started until much later or never started but for this money.” Continue reading here.

Peter Schorsch is the President of Extensive Enterprises and is the publisher of some of Florida’s most influential new media websites, including SaintPetersBlog.com, FloridaPolitics.com, ContextFlorida.com, and Sunburn, the morning read of what’s hot in Florida politics. SaintPetersBlog has for three years running been ranked by the Washington Post as the best state-based blog in Florida. In addition to his publishing efforts, Peter is a political consultant to several of the state’s largest governmental affairs and public relations firms. Peter lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Michelle, and their daughter, Ella.

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