•$1.3 billion into the state's Medicaid fund.It will take a while for me to digest the specifics of the package. The single largest portion, nearly half, is going to fund Medicaid. While it's a very necessary expense, I don't know if it should fall under the umbrella of a "stimulus" plan.
•$545.8 million in fiscal stabilization money, meant to backstop key services, keeping such professions as teachers, police and firefighters from layoffs.
•$302.1 million for highway and bridge construction.
•$137.5 for transit projects.
•$136.4 million for special education.
•$97.1 million in Title 1 grants and school improvements for districts with low-income students.
•$63.5 million in home-weatherization assistance to help energy efficiency.
•$47.9 million for clean water.
•$45.9 million for the development of alternative energy resources.
•The bill also gives tax breaks to an estimated 1.35 million people in Connecticut ($400 per individual or $800 per married couple) and a one-time $250 payment to people struggling the most, such as disabled veterans and retired and disabled people on Social Security.
The measure is designed to create 41,000 jobs in the state, increase unemployment benefits for 278,000 workers, increase the limits for educational Pell grants and provide a $2,500 tax credit for college to an estimated 30,000 families in the state.
But I understand the necessity of putting stuff like that in the bill. The way the Senate is made up, it's going to take 60 votes to get even a single thing done, so the Democrats will have to sandwich as many needed funding clauses into whatever critical bill is being voted upon. Otherwise, programs like Medicaid will have a lot of trouble getting enough of the funding it needs to operate.
But there are plenty of good things about the package too. Keeping police and fire services fully staffed is a good thing. So is infrastructure repair. Some hi-tech areas are being funded, such as development of alternative energy resources. These will translate directly and indirectly to creating and saving jobs.
Still, we do have a long road to recovery ahead. The best we can look forward to right now is simply hanging on until the economy starts moving again.