On economic recovery

April 27, 2009

Thank you for your interest in the 61st legislative session and the work we’ve been doing to help our hometown.

You and I know the economy is a serious concern. Statewide, the unemployment rate recently increased to 6%. It’s important to remember there are real families behind these numbers. When someone loses their job they often lose their health insurance, their pension and their sense of security.

That’s why I have been closely monitoring the progress of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). The ARRA is an investment in our economy that will create jobs, cut taxes on 97% of Montanans and improve our infrastructure. Economists agree, this is the best way jumpstart the economy and create the good-paying jobs we need to get out of the recession.

The funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act is being appropriated through House Bill 645. HB 645 contains funding for school facility upgrades, highway repairs, and health and human services programs. In Yellowstone County, infrastructure funds will go to Clapper Flat and Vandaveer Road repairs and for Courthouse repairs. Some of the projects covered in Billings include $1,676,045 for reconstruction of Alkali Creek Road; $1,300,000 for a building addition to the Oil and Gas Office; $243,775 for heating system improvements to the Academic Center and McMullen Hall at MSU-Billings and $542,275 for additional facility repairs at the campus.

In addition, we will see ARRA funding for K-12 schools, Forest Service projects and US Highway repairs.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (HB 645) passed the House of Representatives last week and is currently in the Senate Finance and Claims Committee. Please feel free to contact me your ideas and concerns as the Legislative Session continues.

Sincerely, Rep. Margie MacDonald

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