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Questions Spread About Stimulus Job Numbers

A road construction flagger slows traffic next to a road project funded by federal stimulus funds in Littleton, Colo. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images) Today's roundup of stimulus coverage:

The Associated Press's Ryan Kost reports on the difficulty of obtaining accurate numbers of jobs created by the stimulus. Welcome to the hunt, AP! ProPublica is happy to have the company. Kost notes that in Oregon, lawmakers say the stimulus has created 3,236 jobs — even though the average job lasts just one week, after which workers are once more unemployed. "Sometimes some work for an individual is better than no work," the AP quotes Peter Courtney, president of the state Senate, as saying.

New Jersey has passed a stimulus bill of its own, reports the Star-Ledger of Newark. The bill includes incentives for developers. However, the Star-Ledger notes, the bill does not call for recipients of tax breaks to meet any new standards on transparency — a point of contention after last week's arrests of three Garden State mayors on charges of accepting bribes from a would-be developer.

New York City will be left out of $1 billion in stimulus funds meant to avoid police layoffs, the Daily News reports. According to the paper, Justice Department officials decided the money should go to cities with a combination of serious budget shortfalls and high crime rates. Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it doesn't make sense to punish New York's police force for its success in keeping crime low. The AP adds that Seattle, Houston and Pittsburgh will also be left out of the funding program.

Nevada Gov. Jim Gibbons is pushing to hire a "stimulus czar," reports the AP. The position is expected to cost $500,000, money that would come from the state's contingency fund, since it wasn't included in Nevada's budget. Neighboring California has such a position, as do a number of other states.

The New York Post reports that tens of millions of dollars in stimulus money is going to toilets. Various federal departments are spending a share of their stimulus funding to build and repair toilets, including $2.8 million for toilets in national forests in New Mexico alone, the Post's Geoff Earle reports.

Are you tracking the stimulus? ProPublica has set up a mailing list for reporters covering the stimulus, and you're welcome to join. You can also help us by signing up for the Stimulus Spot Check, our latest ProPublica Reporting Network initiative.

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