Spreading the wealth

Most of a $3.9 billion federal stimulus is going to state agencies to help disadvantaged Oregonians.

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The $3.9 billion federal stimulus infusion Oregon received is mostly going to state agencies working to help the unemployed, the elderly and the poor.

But millions are also going directly to local governments and nonprofits, with groups like the Eugene Symphony among the beneficiaries.

By the end of 2009, according to a report by Gov. Ted Kulongoski’s office, state government had obligated or spent nearly $1.7 billion. Of that, $707 million was emergency unemployment compensation and extended benefits to the long lines of Oregon’s jobless. Another big chunk, $545 million, was direct aid to the growing ranks of the needy, in the form of increased food stamps, welfare payments and health care. Education got $279 million, mostly to pay teachers and other school and university employees.

Separately, hundreds of millions of stimulus dollars have entered Oregon without passing through state agencies, instead flowing directly to local governments, nonprofit groups such as the Eugene Symphony, and private contractors.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

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