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Money on Top of Money

Today’s roundup of stimulus reporting:

California has received $60 million in stimulus funds to upgrade its aged unemployment benefits system, but money previously allocated for a similar process still hasn’t all been used, reports the Associated Press. California, which handles 13 percent of the nation’s unemployment claims, should have completed an upgrade of its computer system last year using federal grants it received in 2002, but the project is six years behind schedule. Right now, the computer system handling the claims is truly retro – the system was built during the 1980s, based on technology from the 1970s. There’s no deadline to use the money, so there is no consequence for the delays in the project.

Contractors from American Samoa say a construction project funded by the stimulus was never advertised and was improperly awarded to a government department, rather than to contractors in need of work. Radio New Zealand Internationalreports that the Department of Public Works is working on office renovations for the Department of Human and Social Services. Contractors told local radio station KHJ that the awarding of the grant defeats the job-creating purpose of the stimulus package.

Wisconsin’s weatherization budget is set to double for the next two years, thanks to stimulus funds, but the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports that in the past, nearly one in eight weatherization jobs have been flawed. The Journal Sentinel looked at inspection records from 2007 to 2009 and found that 12.3 percent of weatherization projects failed to meet federal standards. The projects, from installing new furnaces to adding attic insulation, are intended to upgrade homes for low-income people.

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