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PA Group: Let's Pass Economic Stimulus Package Quickly

January 5, 2009

President-elect Barack Obama is expected to meet with congressional leaders today to finalize details of a $1.2-trillion economic stimulus plan. Democrats hope to pass the measure shortly after Obama takes office.

Robin Stelly is the field coordinator for the advocacy group Penn Action, which supports swift passage of the plan. She says the economic crisis in Pennsylvania and across the country requires quick action.

"We have 2 million people, almost, in America, who have lost their jobs; 2.5 million have lost their homes. We have people who are hungry, we have people who are living on the street, and we can stop that. All we need to do is invest in the right priorities."

The stimulus plan will focus on job creation through long-term infrastructure projects instead of tactics to boost consumer spending. Stelly agrees with that strategy, saying job creation is the best type of economic stimulus, especially in Pennsylvania.

"The best way to get jobs in Pennsylvania and around the country is going to be to invest in infrastructure projects. We have 319 shovel-ready projects right here in Pennsylvania, and that's worth about a billion dollars that could be launched right into the economy if Congress approves the funds."

Some are concerned about this stimulus package boosting the federal deficit, but Stelly believes the payoff is worth it. She says the economy could start to turn around within a year, if the plan can succeed in creating about 3 million new jobs.

Kelly Glorioso Fodel, Public News Service - PA