Stimulus: $595,000 a Job?

How much government money does it take to create or save a job? That’s the question that’s raised by the latest stimulus report, which shows that Rhode Island got $801 million for 1,345 jobs in the last three months of 2009. The Providence Journal says that not all of that money went toward jobs—some of it went to construction materials and grants to social service agencies. But it doesn’t give that breakdown, neither does the federal government site or the state recovery office. If all that money went toward the jobs—and as much of it as possible should have, right?—then it cost $595,539.03 per position. We know government workers get benefits far above and beyond what private sector employees get, but we find it hard to believe that they are making nearly that much. So it would be nice to get a breakdown of exactly where all that money went. How much was eaten up by administrative overhead?

As a side note, we can’t help but notice that in his latest budget proposal, Gov. Carcieri calls for a $2,000 tax credit for each new worker businesses hire. He’s expecting as many as 3,600 to 5,000 people will get jobs through the program, at total cost of $10 million in lower revenues for the state. That’s more jobs for a lot less money than the economic stimulus program.


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