State agencies risk losing federal stimulus funds

August 2, 2011

State Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles

Some state agencies risk losing more than $250 million in federal stimulus funds that would benefit low-income households and provide retrofits on residential, commercial and government properties. [Sacramento Bee]

If the money isn’t spent by next spring, the federal government could ask for a refund.

“All of Congress, but especially our Republican counterparts, are looking to cut,” Sen. Alex Padilla, D-Los Angeles, said Monday. “We in California shouldn’t be in the business of giving them low-hanging fruit to cut or sweep back.”

Padilla held the fourth in a series of hearings to grill agencies about what’s taking so long for local governments and private contractors to undertake projects.

“Here we are nearly at the eleventh hour with millions of dollars at risk and thousands of jobs at risk,” Padilla said. “They are being held up by bureaucracy. This is a prime example of why the public is … frustrated with government.”

The state Department of Community Services and Development received $186 million from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 to weatherize homes, primarily of low-income families, by replacing windows and installing insulation, among other methods.

But state Auditor Elaine Howle put it bluntly at Monday’s hearing: “Homes are not being weatherized and money is not being expended.”

The California Energy Commission received $226 million to fund retrofits of middle-income residential, commercial and government properties.

“There’s a lot of money that hasn’t gone out of the door, and it needs to go out the door,” said Robert Oglesby, who recently became executive director of the commission.

Of $31 million set aside to finance clean-energy businesses, nearly nothing had been spent by June 1.

Officials of both state agencies told Padilla and Howle last year that early delays were caused by having to wait on federal regulators to issue new rules.

“It might have been a valid excuse a year ago, but it’s not a valid excuse anymore,” Padilla said.

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I can’t believe they have run out of things to spend the money on?

There are better ways to handle money and budgets… but I guess paying someone a huge salary doesn’t guarantee excellence does it?

Does this really surprise anyone? When Obama and Congress put this stimulus together, I just knew the bureaucracy would eat up most of it.

In Morro Bay, we’ve been waiting for FEMA to release a $1.6 million ARRA grant to rebuild the town’s only fire station that was damaged in the 2003 earthquake. They’ve taken more than a year to do the paperwork and release the money. Why did it take so long?

Because FEMA insisted on the city doing a third environmental review on a project site that has had a fire station on it since the 1940s and was already graded and compacted during the first phase of the project. There were zero environmental impacts but that wasn’t good enough for FEMA.

The city already did a state environmental document (under CEQA), and a federal NEPA document for the USDA (which is loaning the city money for the project). But the USDA’s NEPA wasn’t good enough for FEMA, which insisted the document be redone using its guidelines in order to get the ARRA grant. It’s taken nearly 1-1/2 years to get past FEMA’s B.S.

So I have to agree 100% with the posters here, government agencies are the problem not the solution.

And with the weatherization thing, California has had such a program for low income people for decades paid for by utility customers. What the hell do we need another one for?

Not to worry. They are creating the money out of nothing. When you can create money out of nothing, you can do ANYTHING. There’s plenty more money where that came from.

Who give’s a Rats-ass?

It’s about time we eliminated a HUGE portion of government “services.” In case they hadn’t noticed, our nation is totally BROKE. Even more so now that our our weak leaders on both sides have increased our debt by a few trillion more.

The sky really is falling.

The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.John Kenneth Galbraith

cheers : The sky is not I repeat not falling.

You are a fool if you think that borrowing beyond ones ability to repay is not a recipe for economic disaster. Stop drinking the kool-aid and start paying attention.

in case you hadn’t noticed Cheney and Reagan are no longer in office.

in case you hadn’t noticed Cheney and Reagan are no longer in office

Read those excerpts from the Financial Times and say that. err you did read the links right ?

These two agencies, the Department of Community Services and Development and the California Energy Commission are perfect examples of do nothing waste money government entities. They are allocated funds to do specific tasks yet spend funds to hire administrators and other non essential staff, rent offices, lease furniture, set up computer and phone systems, lease automobiles, design and print beautiful color glossy brochures to explain what they do, hold umpteen meetings to discuss what should be done, etc. etc. etc . The problem is they never quit get around to doing the job they are tasked with doing. And to think there are hundreds of agencies just like them.

Sounds like some of our local government “Administrative” services. It’s sustainable employment or business tactics funded on the public’s back.