Stimulus Bashing Governors Issue Hundreds of Millions of Dollars in Stimulus Funded Bonds
Last month, Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ), a frequent critic of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (i.e. the stimulus), announced that he was going to take advantage of a stimulus program to get suspended infrastructure projects in his state back on line. That program — the Build America Bonds program — has the federal government pick up 35 percent of the interest on bonds that states issue to fund transportation, infrastructure, and school construction projects.
And Christie is evidently not the only stimulus-critic who feels no guilt about building up his state courtesy of the Recovery Act. Today, the Treasury Department released a full list of Build America Bond projects, as issuances under the program surpassed $150 billion, and look who’s on the list:
– Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX): Perry said that, when it came to the stimulus, “this was pretty simple for us…We can take care of ourselves.” But he used $2 billion in Build America Bonds for highway improvements and another $182 million for “public improvements.”
– Gov. Haley Barbour (R-MS): “A lot of this is just crazy,” Barbour said of the stimulus. “I’m better off not to get it.” But that didn’t stop him from using $98 million in Build America Bonds for recreational facility improvements.
– Gov. Mitch Daniels (R-IN): “It hasn’t worked,” Daniels said of the stimulus. “You have to be a blind zealot to say that this thing has done any good.” The Indiana Financial Authority issued $192 million in Build America Bonds, while the Indiana Bond Bank issued another $54 million.
– Gov. Bobby Jindal (R-LA): Jindal has called the Recovery Act “a nearly trillion-dollar stimulus that has not stimulated.” Louisiana has issued $181 million in Build America Bonds for highway improvements.
These totals leave out the slew of local school districts and local governments in these states that also took advantage of the Build America Bonds program to make critical investments in state infrastructure. As The American Prospect’s Tim Fernholz explained, Build America Bonds “is one of the most successful programs of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, spurring productive investment, job creation, and creating a more progressive and democratic method of local finance.”
Of course, stimulus hypocrisy is nothing new for the GOP; ThinkProgress has identified 114 Republicans who voted against the Recovery Act, while touting its benefits back home.
Cross-posted at The Wonk Room.