01 Feb 2009 Federal Bailout Plan Poses Risks to States and Localities
Washington, D.C. – Columnist and spokesman Ak’Bar Shabazz of the Project 21 national black leadership network is warning that proposed federal bailout efforts currently under debate in the U.S. Senate pose a risk to the independence of states and localities.
“Although it may be attractive for taxpayers to see some local return on their tax dollars, this measure only allows the federal government – with all of its requirements and stipulations – more intervention into thousands of local communities nationwide,” said Project 21 member Ak’Bar Shabazz. “To maintain autonomy and integrity, measures like this need to be orchestrated at the local level with minimal federal influence.”
Project 21 members have warned that federal dollars tend to come with strings, such as regulatory requirements, that usurp local decision-making, and have supported that tax cuts, which allow for economic growth and lead to larger tax receipts for local and state governments.
Provisions in the U.S. Senate’s spending package for state and local governments include:
* At least $200 million in grants to “expand public computing center capacity” in places such as community colleges and public libraries.
* Assistance of $500 million for “modifying, upgrading or constructing” firehouses operated by state and local governments.
* Three provisions would provide $87.7 billion to bail out state Medicaid programs.
Shabazz added: “In trying to pass this monstrous bundle of earmarks off as a “stimulus” package, senators are spending money that they don’t have on things I don’t think we really need. And, ultimately, it is going to be our children who are going to be stuck with the bill. It gets even more dangerous when it could usurp local authority.”
Project 21, a nonprofit and nonpartisan organization sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research, has been a leading voice of the African-American community since 1992. For more information, contact David Almasi at (202) 543-4110 x11 or [email protected], or visit Project 21’s website at www.project21.org/P21Index.html.