What the Stimulus Plan Means for Oklahoma

Monday, February 16th 2009, 6:35 pm
By: News 9

By Kirsten McIntyre, NEWS 9

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Once the compromise package is signed by the president, Oklahoma is expected to get more than $2 billion.

The money will be spent on roads, schools and other projects, but lawmakers on both sides of the aisle think Oklahoma should have gotten more.

Congressman Dan Boren (D-District 2) voted in favor of the stimulus plan, while Congressman Tom Cole (R-District 4) voted against it.

Both of the politicians agree the final plan is far from perfect and won't be enough money to solve the economy's problems.

Oklahoma's roads and bridges will receive $464.2 million, and the Department of Transportation is ready to begin 95 projects.

"I think most of us were not happy with the final product," Congressman Boren said. "The fact that we would have liked to have seen more infrastructure projects to Oklahoma."

Congressman Boren is the only member of Oklahoma's congressional delegation to vote in favor of the plan. He said he wasn't pressured by democrats, but felt something had to be done.

"This is not just your regular garden variety recession," Congressman Boren said. "This is something like the Great Depression."

The stimulus plan for Oklahoma includes:

  • School Construction and Repair: $149.9 Million
  • Pell Grant Allocations: $338.8 Million
  • Budget Shortfall: $380.8 Million
  • Roads and Bridges: $464.2 Million
  • Total: Oklahoma Stimulus Money $2.6 Billion

"If you voted for this bill you'd better be prepared to vote for the higher taxes that it's going to generate," Congressman Cole said. "You'd better be prepared to account for the inflation that this kind of spending is going to be responsible for."

Congressman Cole called the bill short term smart, but long term dumb. He believes it's a spending bill and doesn't do enough to stimulate the economy.

Both Congressman Boren and Cole said this is not the end and more legislation will be needed to address other issues, such as housing foreclosures.

The stimulus plan also provides Oklahoma with $900 million in Medicaid funding, but that money is contingent on the state's need and unemployment rate.