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Charlotte Amalie
Tuesday, June 18, 2024
HomeNewsArchivesStimulus Funds Being Put to Good Use, Governor Says

Stimulus Funds Being Put to Good Use, Governor Says

The millions of dollars in economic stimulus funds that have flowed into the territory since the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) was enacted a year ago have helped create jobs, stabilize local businesses and lay a foundation for economic recovery, according to Gov. John deJongh Jr.
"Members of my administration, including the V.I. Office of Economic Opportunity (OEO), have worked tirelessly over the past year to obtain and implement stimulus funding that would assist the U.S. Virgin Islands and its people in these difficult economic times," Gov. John deJongh Jr. said in a statement Wednesday. "We in the territory deserve the same opportunities at prosperity as our fellow citizens across the country."
The governor’s statement came on the heels of a CNN news report that made it look like the territory wasn’t spending its stimulus money judiciously, putting about $127,000 toward each of the 152 jobs created through local ARRA-funded projects.
But deJongh made it clear Wednesday that the money is being put to good use. So far, the territory has received more than $156 million in formula-driven and competitive grant awards under ARRA, and that money has gone to 19 different government and semi-autonomous agencies, along with business and nonprofit organizations that were able to meet the federal requirements, he said.
About $45 million in veterans and social security benefits, food stamp funding and small business loans have also provided "direct fiscal relief" to residents who are struggling, he added.
"We have received more than $85 million in competitive grants that have gone towards fiscal stabilization, transportation, marine security and law enforcement. We have also used our stimulus dollars to expand clean-energy initiatives, health and human service benefits, and job creation programs. Almost 200 people are employed in the territory because of the Reinvestment Act," deJongh said.
Government and private economists alike have said about 2 million jobs have been created across the country since ARRA was rolled out. Meanwhile, the U.S. economy grew by about 5.7 percent in the last quarter of fiscal year 2009, which has been attributed to a jump in stimulus spending.
"It is now clear that the stimulus plan helped to cushion the greatest economic crisis since the Great Depression and has provided a foundation for economic growth in the near future," the governor’s statement said.
And this is only the beginning, deJongh added.
"The Recovery Act was designed to infuse money into the economy gradually in order to maintain a solid recovery — we will see peak spending reached during this year," he said. "The U.S. Virgin Islands will continue to benefit from this crucial piece of economic legislation, so that our territory will rise back into economic health along with the rest of the country."
Government House spokesman Jean P. Greaux Jr. said Wednesday that the governor will continue to build on partnerships formed with President Barack Obama’s administration and other federal leaders so the territory can "successfully implement" stimulus spending and continue to move away from the "near-depression we were looking at exactly a year ago."
Remaining open about how the funds are being spent is also a top priority, Greaux said.
Residents interested in learning more about how the territory is spending its federal economic stimulus funds can visit: www.GovernordeJongh.com/recovery/oeo.

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