Government Accountability Office praises Iowa's handling of stimulus money

I see a Chet Culver campaign ad in our future after reading this Radio Iowa story. The non-partisan U.S. Government Accountability Office examined how 16 states are using stimulus funds from the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act:

“We found that Iowa has a foundation of safeguards to help ensure the funds are being spent in the way that they were intended and to minimize the fraud, waste and abuse,” [GAO Iowa division head Lisa] Shames said. The G.A.O. report also praises Iowa for setting up an Accountability and Transparency Board.

“We found that there were many good features in place and that bodes well in terms of the Recovery Act dollars and to ensure that they’re going to create the jobs and retain the jobs that the law intended,” Shames said.

Click here for the summary of the G.A.O’s report on Iowa. From that page you can download the full report (a 40-page pdf file). Reports on other states are available here.

Did I mention that unlike many states, Iowa is fully utilizing stimulus funds intended to help unemployed people?

And that compared to many states, Iowa has wisely invested its stimulus funds for transportation?

We’ll be hearing more about this next year in response to Republicans attacks against Governor Culver. No doubt ragbrai08 is right, and some version of this Tom Vilsack re-election message from 2002 will return to Iowa airwaves in 2010:

My opponent suggests in negative ad after ad that a bunch of problems that have struck virtually every state in the nation are somehow unique to Iowa. That’s his whole campaign. The truth is that in Iowa, we’ve met that challenge better than most.

Though unemployment remains a significant problem in Iowa, our unemployment rate is well below the national average during this recession. Our state officials are doing a good job allocating federal funds intended to save and create jobs, and the I-JOBS program will save and create additional jobs.

Don’t expect Iowa Republicans to pay attention to the G.A.O.’s findings. They never got the point of the stimulus anyway.

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