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Residents Weigh Impacts of Federal Spending
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Second District Representative Joe Courtney famously voted against the bank bailout bill, defying his party leadership.  But he fell into line on another massive spending bill – the economic stimulus package.

This is a measure which the business community embraced and endorsed when we voted on it back in January, because they recognized that in this recession, the private investment and the private spending in our economy had really almost collapsed.

Courtney spent a morning in Norwich recently, speaking to Chamber of Commerce members, and attempting to convince them that on the evidence of the last few months, he was right to back the bill.  Many in his audience were small business owners who’ve been at the sharp end of this recession.  Realtor Christy Lawrence Hanness.

I had my own office for about 13 or 14 years.  Unfortunately I was forced to close it in November.  I was losing money.  My husband and my accountant had an intervention, they told me I was in denial and I had to close.

She’s now employed as a broker for a large realty firm, William Pitt Sothebys in Essex.  She says she supports the stimulus, and she’s seen positive effects from that part of the measure aimed at boosting the housing market.

We’re seeing a lot more first time homebuyers.  People are grabbing that eight thousand dollar tax credit, so that is working.

It is a historic piece of legislation and these are historic times in which we live.

Another fan of the stimulus package is Republican Governor Jodi Rell.

The stimulus, regardless of which side of the aisle you’re on, which party you happen to be affiliated with, has been good news for the states around our country.

Rell was speaking at the recent ground breaking for Connecticut’s very first transportation project funded with stimulus dollars, the repair of a bridge on Rt 5 in Enfield.  Connecticut has been promised 400 million dollars in spending on 33 road transport projects, but it took until late June for shovels to hit dirt, while all the time the state has been losing construction jobs.  Connecticut will also see a big chunk of the cash promised to Amtrak – the single biggest rail repair project in the nation is slated to happen here –  the 100 million dollar repair of the Niantic River bridge.  But that project and other planned for the state are currently being reviewed by the state Department of Environmental Protection, and there’s no firm start date.  For some though, the objection to the stimulus goes far beyond questions of efficiency.

We’re down 40 percent this year – how’s that stimulus working?

Gary McKeon is the co-owner of Joshua’s Limousine Service in Ledyard -  he too has been listening to Joe Courtney’s breakfast time speech, but he’s not impressed.

It’s a joke.  It’s an opportunity for the government to take more and more control over what we do.  The government really needs to stay out of what we do, how we do it and why we do it.  They have absolutely no business sense.  The only thing they’re doing is laying debt upon debt upon debt on my kids and my grandkids, and I apologize to my grandkids every single morning when I see ‘em.

While its boosters may concede that some of the stimulus cash has been slow to arrive, they’re less likely to reach any philosophical agreement with those who argue it’s simply unaffordable.