On February 17th, President Obama signed into law the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, a huge and potentially signficant investment in the US economy. While many of the local projects have been submitted and much of the funds have already been allocated, we have a role to play in deciding how our tax dollars should be used. What is the legacy of this huge investment? More jails or better healthcare? And who will be hired for these upgrades?
In Crook County, leaders estimated many jobs would go to out of town-ers. Now is the time to find out what projects are on the slate for your county and make sure that your county and city officials are hearing from you. This is new territory for us all. Let’s make the most of it by encouraging regional hiring, socially beneficial projects that have long term impacts, and community involvement from start to finish. These are our tax dollars at work, as the signs say!
There are several helpful websites to check out. To get started, the federal government’s home page on the recovery is a great resource which links to the Oregon recovery page as well with county by county breakdowns of transportation and capitol improvement projects. In addition to checking these out, you should also be contacting your city and count officials to ask them what’s on tap for your community. That might give you the best overall sense of what’s happening – and create an opportunity to practice the accountability that must be part of building a new democratic economy.