Updated March 30 at 11:45am

ProPublica looks at stimulus spending in R.I.


PROVIDENCE – ProPublica, the independent, nonprofit newsroom, has collected the “most comprehensive publicly available analysis of stimulus spending that we know of,” including data for Rhode Island.

The federal stimulus plan, passed as the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 in February of that year, totaled nearly $508 billion nationally – translating into $1,645 per person, according to fourth quarter 2011 stimulus data provided by ProPublica.

In 2011, the Recovery Act’s original expenditure estimate of $787 billion was increased to $840 billion, in line with President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget and changes made by the Congressional Budget Office since the enactment of the Recovery Act, Recovery.gov said.

Rhode Island, with a population of about 1 million people, had a total recovery funding of about $2.2 billion, or $2,088 per person, the ProPublica data showed.

The state unemployment rate in December 2008 was 8.9 percent. In December 2009, it was 12.2 percent and has declined since then - 10.9 percent in December 2010, and 10.7 percent in December 2011.

Noting a similar trend, the national unemployment rate was 7.4 percent in December 2008. It hit 10 percent in December 2009, and also declined in the following years – 9.4 percent in December 2010 and 8.5 percent in December 2011.

The areas with the most per capita stimulus funding were the District of Columbia, $8,357; Alaska, $4,098; and Vermont, $2,837. Rhode Island’s per capita funding ranked 10th behind Massachusetts, which was No. 8 at $2,201.

The data also was sorted by Rhode Island’s five counties. Providence got the biggest share, at $1.7 billion, or $2,737 per person; followed by Washington, $233 million, $1,833 per person; and Kent, $143 million, $859 per person. Newport and Bristol received smaller portions, $78.8 million ($951 per capita) and $27 million ($542), respectively. All of the counties saw declines in the jobless rate from 2009 to 2011, except for Bristol, which noted a slight increase in 2011 from 2010 - 9.2 percent from 9.1 percent.


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