With a House vote of 246 to 183 and a Senate vote of 60 to 40 late Friday night, the $787 billion economic stimulus package is next headed for President Barack Obama.
The News-Sentinel asked several area and state officials for their opinion regarding the impact of the package on local taxpayers and businesses.
Name: Dr. Jeffrey Michael
Title: Director of the Business Forecasting Center at University of the Pacific Eberhardt School of Business
Does the bill change your economic forecast? Passage of the stimulus bill doesn't change our forecasting view at all, because we've expected something like this. It's smaller than what we thought was coming out.
Our outlook isn't changing from cloudy to sunny. If they didn't pass it, our outlook would change to be substantially worse.
I think (the package) is well worth it. If they were to make it a bigger program, it would have a bigger impact, but it would cost us more in the long-term. It will make a difference. It won't have an immediate reversal, but it will help people get working again.
Name: Steve Diede
Title: President of Diede Construction in Lodi
Will provisions for development and infrastructure impact the construction industry? Construction creates a lot of jobs, and those are the people who go to buy cars and such.
We've cut back several people here at our office and out in the field. We've never been in that position.
Usually we staff 175 during our up season. Right now we're staffing at about 100 (people).
(Diede Construction is) fortunate that we've gotten into different businesses that help support our company. As far as our construction industry, we bid an $8 million job the other day and there were 30 bids on it. These are jobs where there's usually only five or six bidders, and now there's 25 to 30 on it.
We've actually gone to different municipalities and helped them put together shovel-ready projects. So when that money from the stimulus package comes through, those will be ready to go.
A lot of school districts had to stop the jobs they were working on because they didn't have the funding.
Name: Andrew Chesley
Title: Executive Director of the San Joaquin County Council of Governments
Will an impact be seen in the county? There will be an immediate impact in a threeto four-month sense in the area of roadway maintenance. Probably just because of construction season, it's something you'll visually see in the spring.
We'll particularly see it in the larger jurisdictions - San Joaquin County and Stockton. These will be shelf-ready projects.
There will be some challenges. It's important not to oversell (the stimulus package).
While I think we're going to see a lot of contractors going to work, we may find over time that equipment and skilled personnel will not be as readily available as we'd hoped.
Name: Jerry McNerney
Title: Representative, 11th Congressional District, D-Pleansanton (McNerney represents the Lodi area and voted "yes" on the bill)
Who will be affected by the stimulus package? Right here in San Joaquin County, the unemployment rate is 13 percent. I hear from many people who are worried about being laid off or losing their home to foreclosure.
The economic recovery package is about getting people back to work, and it will create or save 396,000 jobs in California, 9,000 of which are in my district. This bill will help stimulate the economy and create jobs by investing in education and transportation projects, as well as providing tax relief to middle-class families. In fact, the tax relief package in the recovery act is one of the largest in American history. It will help Lodi's families by providing a refundable tax credit of up to $400 per individual and up to $800 per couple filing jointly.
Name: Dan Lungren
Title: Representative, 3rd Congressional District, R-Gold River (Lungren represents the Galt area and voted "no" on the bill)
Do you believe there is a more feasible path to economic recovery? Make no mistake; I understand the severity of our economic situation and the pressure weighing on all Americans during these tough times. Today I did not vote against economic recovery; I voted against wasteful government spending. I am disappointed with the passage of this ill advised bill. We need to create jobs, protect struggling American families and lay the ground work for economic prosperity - this massive spending bill does little to accomplish those goals.
Instead of allowing American families and small business owners to keep more of what they earn, Congress has just loaded more debt on their backs. I supported alternative legislation that micro-targeted economic recovery in three areas: one - support families through tax relief; two - provide economic relief for American businesses and entrepreneurs; and three - save future generations from a crushing debt burden.
Name: Ryan Sherman
Title: President of Lodi Association of Realtors
Will the stimulus package turn the real estate market around? Very few people qualify for the $8,000 (tax incentive). Anytime the government wants to help out to offset things, it's good. But the caveat is, will it help out? (If) the government infuses million or billions of dollars, there's a risk of inflation. The offset of inflationary risks is interest rates.
I think I'm more of a free-market kind of a person. The weak go away and the strong survive. We're a capitalistic society. If the government takes the risk out of a free market economy, (is that) what we really are?
The subprime and bad loans have adjusted, but we don't know what the next two years will look like. We're still going to be seeing foreclosures for a few years.
The problem is, of that ($787 billion) how much is actually going to get to people who can do something with it?
Name: Kris Vosburgh
Title: Executive Director of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association
Are the tax incentives enough start making a difference? Generally, we would favor an approach for a stimulus package that would focus on tax cuts that would quickly put money back in the pockets of people.
It sounds like what government is proposing is to make work proposals or investing in things that would have results many years down the line. They won't do anything immediately to fix the economy.
When they talk about this being the worst since "whenever," in some ways, it's the worst, but in other cases it hasn't matched up with 1982. When congress and President Reagan cut taxes and put money back into the hands of consumers, we saw 25 years of sustained growth.
The government drives most revenue when the economy is most productive: when people are working and spending. You want to keep that money in the hands of those producing that wealth.