Rendell appoints new stimulus tsar: himself


Gov. Rendell today announced the appointment of a new Pennsylvania "stimulus enforcer:" himself.

Rendell, speaking on Fox New Sunday, said he will dedicate the last two years of his administration to ensuring the federal economic stimulus money will be spent wisely here.

"It's very important that we get that right," he said of the billions expected to flow into Pennsylvania coffers.

Rendell said he expects infrastructure dollars to roll out first and that hundreds of "shovel ready" bridge and road projects will put people to work by May (that's a month later than he predicted last week.)

He said he believes in the end Pennsylvania could net about the same number of jobs the state has lost (76,000) in the last year. (According to White House estimates, the number of new jobs created or retained in Pennsylvania under the stimulus plan is 143,000.)

Stimulus critic, South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who appeared with Rendell on the program, said he is resisting stimulus money because, among other reasons, he fears his state won't be able to cover all the additional unemployment and worker benefits being offered when stimulus funds dry up.

Rendell said he recognizes that may be an issue for state budgets down the road, but that something must be done now to turn around the economic slide.

"I don't care," said Rendell. "My people are suffering, my people are hurting and they need that money."

Rendell, who is chairman of the National Governors Association,  was in Washington for the group's winter meeting.

He told reporters yesterday that the law, while not perfect, is a "tremendous help" to the states.

"There's not a state in this union that is going to be able to use the stimulus money to wipe away all the problems, all the challenges we face," he said.




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