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Pumping $7 billion of stimulus money into Minnesota: We need your help

In a few short months the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act turns 2. Since February 2009, a pipeline of federal money has pumped more than $7 billion into Minnesota’s economy, according to the most recent data compiled by ProPublica

That’s $1,357 per Minnesotan, which is $135 more than the national per capita average (that puts us right between New York and Hawaii).

Although job creation was at the heart of this massive bill, there is almost no overlap between counties pulling in the most stimulus money and counties with the worst unemployment rates.

Of the 20 counties that have pulled in the most recovery money, only one - Itasca -- also ranks among the top 20 county unemployment rates. We’ve looked at this issue before, when the stimulus bill was not quite a year old. Little has changed since then. In an interview with MinnPost, Timothy Taylor, managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives, explained then:

“This is a standard problem for any big macro stimulus package. If you take a long time to target specific geographic areas and groups, then it takes government months or years to figure out who is going to get what. If you get the money out there fast, then some of it isn't going to be well-targeted.”

Pulling back to the state level, where exactly is all of this money coming from? The largest slice comes from the Department of Health and Human Services, with $2.2 billion funding mostly going the state to fund Medicaid.

The next biggest spender is the Department of Education, also spending in the billions ($1.2 billion) and funding projects like the renovation and revitalization of public schools.

Here’s a complete ranked list of the Federal agencies sending stimulus money to Minnesota:

Department of Health and Human Services

$2,231,917,597

Education Department

$1,240,541,412

Agriculture Department

$748,749,537

Transportation Department

$625,768,617

Labor Department

$588,612,079

Small Business Administration

$503,005,397

Energy Department

$336,154,016

Housing and Urban Development Department

$253,457,361

General Services Administration

$173,450,604

Environmental Protection Agency

$129,357,107

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

$69,096,220

Justice Department

$57,323,807

Homeland Security Department

$33,126,141

National Science Foundation

$32,474,364

Department of Veterans Affairs

$30,941,578

Interior Department

$30,829,106

Army

$29,314,312

Commerce Department

$16,579,747

Treasury Department

$5,190,000

National Aeronautics and Space Administration

$3,333,506

Federal Communications Commission

$2,249,775

National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities

$1,687,185

Independent Agencies

$1,470,321

Air Force

$1,315,808

State Department

$1,206,091

There’s much to explore in ProPublica’s data, and no doubt much to discover. Have a look at your county and tell me what you find. Anything alarm or amuse you? Anything you can tell us that wouldn’t be evident from the data? Share it in the comments.

And if you’ve tried for or received stimulus money, I have a few questions and a simple and secure form below for your answers.

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Comments (6)

What a joke. What a big fat joke. Never saw it. Not a dime. What a waist of reading space. More covered up government exploit and waste.

A trillion dollar federal stimulus, aimed at creating and/or saving jobs, spending the loot primarily in counties with the lowest jobless rates. Don't count me among the surprised.

It seems that the only "shovel ready" jobs were for the shoveling of bull.

Because a Democratic president passed a stimulus bill, because economic conditions are still lousy, and because the media-political system is currently capable of generating arguments about literally anything, an argument is now circulating that the stimulus didn't do anything at all to raise GDP or employment. This is a view that virtually no economist holds. When you spend less, the economy contracts.

Apparently some people don't drive much. I saw numerous road repairs being done and I see many more that also are long overdue for maintenance. I also know of one schoolteacher who is still working due to stimulus funding.

Dan (#4):

Like Representative Rukavina, you had never seen road maintenance until the stimulus? Minnesota having two seasons, winter and road construction, is a joke older than all of us.

There is no way to run a controlled experiment with the stimulus. However, it was touted to create 3.5 million jobs and in the time since the stimulus, 2.6 have been lost. Hard to make a case of stimulus success with that glaring fact to overcome.

I took a look at the Small Business Admn grants for Ramsey County. Had to look a long time to find even one that had a Minnesota address! Seems most of the money went out to the west coast. So much for supporting local small business/employment growth!