President Barack Obama will sign the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, more commonly known as the Stimulus Bill, in Denver, CO, today. How will that affect you?
Obviously, only time will really tell. However, there are some agricultural industry-related items. The bill provides more funding for USDA’s nutrition programs, including food stamps, and will allow the agency to make loans and grants to rural businesses and for housing. It also extends the tax credits for three more years for energy supplied by wind, biomass, and solar cells – credits that were set to expire in 2010. Other upgrades for USDA include a new permanent disaster program and ACRE (average crop revenue election) program. However, according to agriculture.com, many ag economists believe the latter two programs will stretch the resources of the Farm Service Agency.
One item that landed on the cutting room floor was $250 million for USDA to spend on bioenergy. However, the Department of Energy received $1.6 billion for energy research, including in biofuels.
Last week, we asked where you stand on the stimulus plan as it stood at that time (a $825 billion proposal) and provided three responses to choose from: for it, against it, don’t have a clue. Those who participated overwhelmingly (72%) said they were against the plan, and some of you didn’t hesitate to share your views:
- “There was no HELL NO! choice in your survey,” wrote in Tom.
- “If some of the proposed projects being circulated by the radio and TV press are actually going to be part of this stimulus plan, I think it will be one of the biggest waste of taxpayer dollars in the history of the U.S.,” said an anonymous writer.
- “After passing the bailout, the ‘powers to be’ have no idea how to spend the money,” noted Merrill Hammons. “Obama has been quoted that he will spread the wealth. He will spread the wealth by giving people that owe no taxes money and the rest of us slobs that pay taxes will receive the largest increase in taxes in the history of this country.”
- “(It’s) one of the most thoughtless and foolish ways Congress and our president will spend money we don’t have, putting the burden of payback on my children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren,” wrote another anonymous reader.
And yet another anonymous respondent offered this suggestion: “Please e-mail these survey results to every representative and senator in Washington. Maybe it might help a few of them see how their constituents really feel.”
Here are several links to an overview and state-by-state numbers for key segments of the Stimulus Bill, including energy, courtesy of the White House Media Affairs Office:
OVERVIEW ON AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT
IMPACT OF AMERICAN RECOVERY AND REINVESTMENT ACT ON WORKING FAMILIES
EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS BY STATE
EMPLOYMENT NUMBERS BY CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT
EDUCATION FACT SHEET
ENERGY FACT SHEET
HEALTH CARE FACT SHEET
INFRASTRUCTURE FACT SHEET
Now that the bill has passed and hopefully you’ve had a chance to at least investigate how it will affect your industry, what do you think?