What Would You Do With $111 Million In Stimulus Money?


As Tim Cavanaugh noted previously, L.A.'s comptroller has issued two briefs indicating that two city agencies have so far managed to create just 55 jobs with $111 million in stimulus money. Now the Los Angeles Times follows up, noting that the real worry, according to the comptroller, is that the agencies are not spending money fast enough:

The reports conclude that the agencies, Public Works and Transportation, moved too slowly in spending the federal money, in part because of the time it takes to secure approval of government contracts. The two agencies plan to create or retain a combined 264 jobs once all the money is spent, according to the reports.

For those keeping score, that comes out to a little more than $420,000 per job.

With unemployment above 12%, city officials should move more urgently to cut red tape and spend the money, Greuel said. "The process needs to be changed to make sure we get these projects out as quickly as possible," she said.

So the problem here isn't that two city agencies got hold of $111 million in bonus taxpayer cash and came up with the plan to save or create just 264 jobs. (And there's a good chance that a fair amount of those are jobs saved rather than new positions; the story later indicates that so far, "the public works agency has shielded 37 public employee jobs from elimination.") It's that those agencies didn't execute their plan to blow nearly half a million bucks on each job fast enough. Accountability!