THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA: Winstead Says Stim Money Being Spend Ahead of Schedule

May 10, 2010

THE NEWS SERVICE OF FLORIDA published the following on May 10, 2010:



THE CAPITAL, TALLAHASSEE, May 10, 2010… Florida had spent more than $16 billion from the federal stimulus dollars by the end of March and is on track to spend at least $1 billion more by the end of the year, the state’s recovery point man said Monday.

Don Winstead, appointed by Gov. Charlie Crist to oversee the collection and distribution of American Reinvestment and Recovery Act funds, said nearly $20 billion in federal stimulus dollars has been awarded or expected as the state continues to reap the benefits of federal tax dollars aimed at jump-starting the national economy.

While the state has record unemployment at 12.3 percent, it could have gone as high as 14 percent, Winstead said.
“The simple fact is without these monies , that unemployment rate would be higher than it is today and the situation would be even worse,” Winstead said. “That is what compels us to implement these monies as quickly as possible.”

Winstead made the remarks Monday as part of a series of quarterly updates on how the state is spending money from the federally-backed recovery effort. The figures are accurate through March 31 and reflect spending from state agencies, city and county governments, non-profit organizations and private firms that have been awarded contracts.

Newly allocated federal stimulus money, nearly $2.5 billion, is included in the 2010/11 budget awaiting the governor’s signature. In addition, another $2 billion in previously awarded federal stimulus funds is bolstering state spending for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

“I think the rate of spending is maybe a little ahead of what I had expected,” Winstead said. “I’m generally pleased with the rate.”

Not included in the $20 billion figure is $1.25 billion for high speed rail and millions more to be award to private companies that are now submitting bids for competitive projects.