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Thursday, September 30, 2010 - 12:41pm

Stimulus-Funded Jobs Program Ends

Barring an extension by Congress, a stimulus-funded jobs program ends Thursday, with Georgia coming up short in hitting its goal to use all the allotted money.

Georgia got a little more than $20 million in stimulus funds for job subsidies and public assistance.

But the state had to match those funds by 20 percent.

Georgia's goal was to employ 5,000 people, but only 2,300 got work through the program. Now, they might be losing those jobs.

Bert Brantley with Governor Sonny Perdue’s office says it’s been tough for the state to fully-fund its 20 percent share for the program in tight budget times. And he says, the governor insisted on strict accountability for all of Georgia’s stimulus money.

“We didn’t want somebody to come back and say ‘this money was wasted, it fell into the wrong hands, you didn’t put the appropriate safeguards on it, and the money was flushed down the toilet’. That has been our focus on implementing the stimulus program over the past couple of years.”

Some critics say the state has not done a good job of running it’s part of the stimulus programs.

Benita Dodd of the business-focused Georgia Public Policy Foundation says the program is actually suppressing job creation.

“It’s just really disappointing and confusing to businesses, because businesses are wondering what’s coming out of government next. So why would they want to provide jobs when they think that government is going to stick a bag out with money in it.”