Sunday, February 15, 2009

Enzi/Barrasso/Lummis pout -- and won't release stimulus details to Wyoming

On Sunday, Jared Miller of the Casper Star-Tribune wrote about Wyoming’s share of Pres. Obama’s national stimulus legislation.

One of the strangest aspects of the story is that the state doesn’t yet know how much money will come to us via the stimulus. Here’s why:

The Associated Press estimates that Wyoming's share of the funds will be roughly $400 million, including millions for education, weatherization projects, nutrition programs, grants for Internet crimes against children and other recipients.

Lynne Boomgaarden [Gov. Dave Freudenthal's point person on the stimulus package, who also serves as director of state lands and investments] said Friday she was working with a number of sources in Washington, D.C., to create a clearer picture of Wyoming's share of the federal stimulus funds. At this point, she said, the figures are largely speculative."I think when you are seeing numbers you are seeing people's best guesses at numbers," Boomgaarden said.

One reason for the lack of public information about the stimulus in Wyoming could rest with the state's congressional delegates.

Congress members from some other states released detailed lists of proposed stimulus spending after Friday's vote. U.S. Sens. Mike Enzi and John Barrasso declined to provide information about Wyoming's share of the stimulus Friday night.

Enzi, Barrasso and Rep. Cynthia Lummis voted against the bill.

Enzi, in a news release, noted that the legislation is the "single most expensive bill in the history of the United States."

"Unfortunately, the legislation we have before us is partisan and reads like a list of liberal priorities bundled together that could not gain support individually," Enzi said in the statement.

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