What it means for Montanans: American Recovery and Reinvestment

February 9, 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

For the People of Montana: Creating Jobs, Investing in Our Country’s Future, and Cutting Taxes

We are confronting the most severe economic problems in generations as millions of Americans are struggling. There is much work to do and no time to waste. That’s why our plan strengthens the economy now and invests in our nation over the long-term. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which the Senate will consider the week of February 2, will create good-paying jobs; make investments in America’s future; and cut taxes for working families. Our plan also delivers transparency and accountability to guarantee that all taxpayer money is invested responsibly.

What does this mean for Montana?

According to the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 is estimated to provide approximately $698.3 million in the following benefits:*

Montana’s Infrastructure and Science

In order to rebuild our weakening economy, these investments in our physical and cyber infrastructure will put Montanans immediately to work rebuilding our crumbling roads and bridges, and will also enable the creation of a stronger and more efficient infrastructure for the 21st century economy.

  • $19.7 million through the Drinking Water State Revolving Fund to address the backlog of drinking water infrastructure needs
  • $19.5 million through the Clean Water State Revolving Fund to address the backlog of clean water infrastructure needs
  • $168.3 million in Highway Funding to be used on activities eligible under the Federal-aid Highway Program’s Surface Transportation Program and could also include rail and port infrastructure activities at the discretion of the states
  • $20 million in Transit Formula Funding for investments in mass transit
  • $4.5 million through the Public Housing Capital Fund to enable local public housing agencies to address a national $32 billion backlog in capital needs—especially those improving energy efficiency in aging developments – in this critical element of the nation’s affordable housing infrastructure
  • $6.1 million in HOME Funding to enable state and local government, in partnership with community-based organizations, to acquire, construct, and rehabilitate affordable housing and provide rental assistance to poor families
  • $3.8 million through the Homelessness Prevention Fund to be used for prevention activities, which include: short or medium-term rental assistance, first and last month’s rental payment, or utility payments. As such, most of this funding will go directly into the economy of local communities, as the funds will be used to pay housing and other associated costs in the private market

Education and Training in Montana

In order to compete in the 21st Century, we must have a well-educated workforce, capable of adapting to an ever-changing economic environment. Investing in education now will ensure that the next generation of Montana’s workers is ready and able to meet the challenge of global competition. In the near-term, millions of workers have seen their jobs disappear, and find themselves unable to match their skill sets with existing opportunities. Providing job training in new and expanding fields will help to lower the unemployment rate and help today’s workers better compete against foreign competition.

  • $196.5 million through the State Fiscal Stabilization Fund to local school districts and public colleges and universities in addition to incentive grants as a reward for meeting key education performance measures and additional funding for other highpriority needs such as public safety and other critical services, which may include education
  • $77.6 million for school modernization to repair, renovate and construct public schools in ways that will raise energy efficiency and provide greater access to information technology
  • $11.2 million for higher education modernization of facilities and instructional equipment, with a priority on minority-serving institutions and to projects that increase energy efficiency
  • $39.7 million for Special Education Part B State Grants to help improve educational outcomes for individuals with disabilities, raising the federal contribution to nearly 40 percent, the level established when the law was authorized more than 30 years ago
  • $4.8 million in education technology funds to purchase up-to-date computers and software and provide professional development to ensure the technology is used effectively in the classroom
  • $44.4 million for Title I Education for the Disadvantaged to help close the achievement gap and enable disadvantaged students to reach their potential
  • $2.9 million in State Employment Service Grants to match unemployed individuals to job openings through state employment service agencies and allow Montana to provide customized reemployment services
  • $1.4 million in Dislocated Workers State Grants, particularly for grants that support immediate strategies for regions and communities to meet their need for skilled workers, as well as longer-term plans to build targeted industry clusters with better training and a more productive workforce
  • $1.2 million for Department of Labor’s Adult State Grants
  • $2.9 million for Department of Labor’s Youth State Grants
  • $1.9 million for Vocational Rehabilitation to help individuals with disabilities prepare for and sustain gainful employment

Montana’s Energy

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 would provide investments in areas critical to the development of clean, efficient, American energy, including modernizing energy transmission, research and development of renewable energy technologies, and modernizing and upgrading government buildings and vehicles.

  • $4.1 million through the State Energy Program
  • $16.3 million through the Weatherization Assistance Program

Protecting the Vulnerable in Montana

The current economic crisis has affected all Montanans, but none more so than the most vulnerable among us. The spending proposed here will serve to lessen the blow of the current recession, providing immediate relief for children, the poor, and others who may find themselves struggling to put food on the table or a roof over their heads. It will also address the urgent need to provide safe and secure places to live, even in neighborhoods that are struggling with high unemployment and surging foreclosure rates.

  • $494,921 for National School Lunch Program Equipment Assistance
  • $261,650 through the Emergency Food Assistance Program
  • $35.6 million in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits (formerly Food Stamps)
  • $172,693 for the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, which provides grants to nonprofit and faith-based organizations at the local level to supplement their programs for emergency food and shelter to provide for the immediate needs of the homeless
  • $5.7 million in Child Care and Development Block Grants to provide quality child care services for in low-income families who increasingly are unable to afford the high cost of day care
  • $2.1 million for Head Start to allow additional children to participate in this program, which provides development, educational, health, nutritional, social and other activities that prepare children to succeed in school
  • $902,493 in Community Services Block Grants to local community action agencies for services to the growing numbers of low-income families hurt by the economic crisis, such as housing and mortgage counseling, jobs skills training, food pantry assistance, as well as benefits outreach and enrollment
  • 5 million for Senior Meals Programs to help senior meals programs cope with steep increases in food and fuel costs. Many programs are reducing meal deliveries to seniors or closing meal sites

Law Enforcement in Montana

  • $3.8 million in Byrne/JAG grants to support law enforcement efforts
  • $222,847 for crime victims compensation and assistance
  • $403,670 in Internet Crimes Against Children Grants to help law enforcement agencies enhance their investigative response to offenders who use the Internet, online communication systems, or other computer technology to sexually exploit children
  • $1.4 million in Violence Against Women Grants for victim services programs to improve the criminal justice system’s response to violent crimes against women and to assist victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking who are in need of transitional housing, short-term housing assistance, and related support services

Unemployment Benefits in Montana

According to the Department of Labor, Montana could receive $19.6 million in new funding if Montana fully enacts the UI modernization incentives that the legislation would provide.

Tax Cuts for Montana Families and Businesses

According to the Senate Committee on Finance, the following are an example of provisions in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 that will help Montana businesses and families, create jobs and get Montana’s economy moving:

  • Up to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for married couples for the Making Work Pay Tax Credit
  • $300 to Social Security beneficiaries, SSI recipients, and disabled veterans
  • $2,500 for the American Opportunity Tax Credit (an increase in the tax credit for higher education and allowing the credit for four full years)
  • Up to $7,500 for the Improved First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit for those who purchase a home between January 1, 2009 and August 30, 2009
  • Extended Bonus Depreciation and Small Business Expensing through 2009, allowing businesses that make capital investments to immediately deduct one-half the cost. Small businesses can immediately deduct 100 percent of the cost of these investments
  • $1.6 billion for grants to schools and hospitals for energy efficiency and combined heat and power system projects

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 would protect over 26 million working families across the nation from the Alternative Minimum Tax, representing thousands of dollars in additional income taxes. According to the Congressional Research Service, 54,000 Montanans would be protected from the Alternative Minimum Tax in 2009. 

Temporary Assistance to Needy Families in Montana

According to the Congressional Research Service, Montana would receive $1.1 million in TANF supplemental grants under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. These supplemental grants provide additional assistance to states with high population growth and/or increased poverty. Seventeen states qualify and currently receive these grants, which would expire in June 2009. The legislation would extend these grants for Fiscal Year 2010.

* The benefits described in this fact sheet represent estimates of highlights of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. It is not a complete listing of all the programs included in the legislation. Due to rounding, the sum of the programs may not equal the estimated total.

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