Off To Kokomo

On Tuesday, President Obama and Vice President Biden go to Kokomo, Indiana, where they will tout gains under the controversial economic stimulus law. The White House issued the following "background" press release on the Obama-Biden trip.  You can review the Obama Administration claims and leave your own review of the stimulus.
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The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

FOR

IMMEDIATE RELEASE

November

22, 2010

BACKGROUND

ON THE PRESIDENT'S TRIP TO

KOKOMO, INDIANA TOMORROW

On

Tuesday, November 23, 2010, President Obama and Vice President Biden will take

their White House to Main Street Tour to Kokomo, Indiana, a community that is

turning the corner, in part as a result of innovative investments from the

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as the Obama Administration's

auto industry restructuring plan. Kokomo is leveraging opportunities from the

Recovery Act to not only provide much-needed economic relief for middle class

families, but to invest in new, sustainable industries and technologies. During

the visit, the President and Vice President Biden will visit Indiana

Transmission, a Chrysler plant in Kokomo. 

ECONOMIC

BACKGROUND AND CURRENT CLIMATE IN KOKOMO

President

Obama last visited Kokomo, Indiana in April 2008.  As part of that visit,

he held a town hall meeting where he discussed recent layoffs in the community

and called for new investments in clean energy, manufacturing and education to

help bring secure, well-paid jobs to places like Kokomo.   

In

recent years, Kokomo, a midsized industrial town in north central Indiana, was

hard-hit by devastating plant closings and layoffs.  In late 2007, Kokomo

Sanitation Pottery closed, laying off nearly 100 workers.  And when

Chrysler laid off over 11,000 workers nationwide in 2007, Kokomo lost even more

jobs.  In mid-2008, hundreds of manufacturing jobs were lost at the local

Delphi plant.  By the end of 2008, Kokomo had been labeled one of

"America's Fastest Dying Towns" because of the sharp decline in local manufacturing

and auto jobs.  Unemployment hit over 20 percent in 2009, making Kokomo's

one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. 

With

the help of the Recovery Act and the Administration's auto restructuring plan,

along with smart investments by the mayor that subsequently leveraged

additional private capital, Kokomo is on the rebound today. Unemployment is

down nearly 8 percent to 12 percent as of September 2010 and the downtown has

experienced significant revitalization.  Kokomo is a key example of how

federal government investments, when used wisely, can work together to impact

an entire community.

Kokomo

Mayor Greg Goodnight was able to leverage hundreds of thousands of dollars in

Recovery Act funds to help revitalize the downtown.  Since then, about a

dozen new small businesses have opened in downtown Kokomo over the last year.

The

city also significantly benefited from auto restructuring.  According to

recent press coverage, "without the federal auto bailout, many feel 3,500

workers in Kokomo would have lost their jobs."  And according to the

Mayor, Chrysler's presence in the city helps them generate about $18 million a

year in property taxes.  Had Chrysler gone under, the city would have

suffered an enormous economic setback.

Indiana

has received more than $8.4 billion in Recovery Act funds. As a result, the

Council of Economic Advisors estimates that the Recovery Act is already

responsible for 71,000jobsin Indiana through September 2010. To

date, more than $6.2 billion of this funding has been spent. These dollars and

awards to come will continue to support even more jobs in Indiana in the months

ahead.

AUTO

INDUSTRY RESTRUCTURING IN KOKOMO

Without

the steps the President took, Chrysler would have liquidated resulting at least

a million jobs lost for workers across the country, including in Kokomo. Now,

just over a year later, Chrysler is returning to profitability, hiring workers,

keeping plants open. And because of the steps the Administration has taken with

Cash for Clunkers and the Recovery Act, the industry overall is strengthening -

including America's auto dealers.

The

Chrysler plant the President and Vice President will visit in Kokomo on Tuesday

received a $343 million private investment in June 2010 to retool and modernize

its Kokomo transmission plant, which has helped to retain more than 1,000

workers this year for the production of a future eight-speed automatic

transmission. According to the Kokomo Tribune, Chrysler has recently recalled

400 employees that were previously laid off as a result.

A

new report, released last week by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann

Arbor, Michigan, estimates that the President's efforts saved over 1.14 million

jobs overall, and averted $28.6 billion in costs to the government.  Over

the past year and a half, the auto sector has rebounded: industry employment

has increased nearly 10 percent, and each of the big three - Ford, General

Motors, and Chrysler - is operating at a profit.

RECOVERY

ACT FUNDING IN KOKOMO

Overall,

the Kokomo area has received over $400 million in direct Recovery Act

funding for a variety of programs and projects. These projects represent

vital investments in the local community, including:

·       Delphi Automotive , a Michigan based

company, was awarded over $89 million from the Department of Energy to

expand manufacturing capacity of passenger and commercial hybrid vehicles

components. The "new" Delphi, with the help of the Recovery Act, is beginning

to manufacture circuit boards that control hybrid vehicles, otherwise known as

the "brains of a hybrid vehicle."

o  

The

Recovery Act is responsible for nearly 60 jobs to date at Delphi and in

total will enable the company to retain and hire nearly 200 additionalworkers

as production of the hybrid vehicles parts ramp up over the next several years.

o  

Delphi

currently supplies power electronics components such as inverters, chargers,

and DC/DC converters to production hybrid vehicles from manufacturers, such as

GM, Ford, Daimler, and BMW. 

o  

As

a result of this grant, Delphi already has agreed to supply power electronics

to GM, Allison Transmission, and Coda Automotive.

o  

Production

began in July and Delphi began shipping products to customers in August.

·       In his July 4, 2010

radio address, President Obama announced a conditional offer of $400 million

from the Department of Energy's 1705 loan guarantee program for Colorado-based

thin film solar PV manufacturer Abound Solar. Abound will use

nearly $300 million of the loan guaranteed to open a new plant in an

empty Chrysler supplier factory just 20 miles outside of Kokomo, in Tipton,

IN.  Construction will begin on the Tipton plant in early 2012 and Abound

plans to hire 900 workers at the plant once it's up and running. 

The loan, which is expected to close by the end of the year, will not only

enable Abound drive additional economic activity across the industry and down

the supply chain, but will also help establish U.S. leadership in cutting edge

solar technology around the world.  The project represents the first time

new manufacturing technology for Cadmium-Telluride panels is deployed

commercially anywhere in the world.  Ninety percent of Abound's product is

being exported abroad to places like Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.

·       Kokomo Mayor

Goodnight is using $214,600 in Energy Efficient Conservation Block

Grant (EECBG)funds from the Department of Energy to install

energy-efficient lighting in Foster Park, along Kokomo's "Walk of Excellence"

and to retrofit parts of City Hall. This funding is contributing to the

revitalization in downtown Kokomo that has helped to lure nearly a dozen new

small businesses in the last year.

·       In addition to the

new lighting downtown, the City is also replacing sidewalks and curbs

throughout neighborhoods in Kokomo with $265,700 in Community

Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the Department of Housing and Urban

Development.  HUD also provided over $1 million from in Public

Housing Capital Funds to improve and modernize various public and low-income

housing developments in Kokomo. The Kokomo Housing Authority reported hiring 5

new workers and retaining 38 additional workers as a direct result

of the Recovery Act.

·       Mayor Goodnight was

also able to hire 5 new police officers with over $1 million from

the Justice Department's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.

DOJ also provided $200,000 in Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funds to

the City of Kokomo.

·       Howard County,

where Kokomo is located received over $17 million in Recovery Act

funding from the Department of Transportation, including:

o  

$11.4 million for the Kokomo Bypass (Route 31), which is

being use to improve and realign the highway and upgrade several bridges along

the route. This section of roadway is part of a $345million, 14-mile

project that is part of the Indiana Governor's Major Moves program. The

Recovery Act-funded section of the bypass project is 95 percent complete. The

contractor is Primo, Inc., and the project has created approximately 49 jobs

to date.

o  

Over $2 million to rehabilitate Dixon Roadand

add additional travel lanes.  This major local project is still underway,

even though construction has ended for the season.

o  

Over $1 million for other resurfacing projects including

18 locations on Routes 400N, 750W, and 100N in Howard County, all of which were

finished in late 2009.  

o   Over $1 million from the Federal

Transit Administration to purchase and renovate an existing building in

downtown Kokomo to be used for both for transit operations for the City's paratransit

system, the Spirit of Kokomo, and for the administration of the local

metropolitan planning organization (MPO). The project is halfway completed, and

created 34 jobs last quarter.

·       The Department of

Education provided the Kokomo-Center Township Consolidated School Districts

with over $12 million in Recovery Act funding, including:

o  

Over $5 million in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF)

to fill budget gaps;

o  

Nearly $5 million in IDEA funding for students with

disabilities;

o  

$1.7 million to expand Kokomo's existing Head Start and

Early Head Start programs; and

o  

Over $1.5 million in Title I funds to improve schools

in the district.

·       The Department of

Education also provided $1 million in Pell Grants to colleges and

universities in Kokomo to increase access to higher education.

o  

Approximately

30,000 students in Indiana are benefiting from increased Pell Grants as

a result of the Recovery Act.

o  

That

total includes approximately 125 students in Kokomo alone.

·       The Small Business

Administration (SBA) supported 14 loans for small businesses in the Kokomo area

totaling $7.3 million including:

o  

Gingerbread House Bakery : Lauren Gaines and

her husband received a $140,000 loan through the Recovery Act to purchase the

Gingerbread House Bakery.  Thanks to the Recovery Act loan, they were able

to save about $2,500 in fees.  This loan enabled them to take over the

former donut shop and make it their own.  Since then, business has been

booming. This loan was the only way Lauren and her husband could have started

the business.  They currently have 4 people on their payroll and expect to

expand. The Gingerbread House Bakery has evolved and, while it still

specializes in donuts, it now also makes traditional baked goods, cookies and

cakes on special order and specialty treats during the holidays.  Lauren

reports the bakery has been increasingly busy since opening last December 1st

They expanded the kitchen in April to meet demand and they hope to expand and

build another building in the next six months.

o  

Stephens Machine Inc. , which is a Kokomo-based machine

shop that received two SBA loans through the Recovery Act ($487,000 and

$375,000). The company has two local facilities totaling more than 45,000

square feet where they engineer, design and build automated production

machinery, do tool and die work and produce prototypes used for research and

development.  They've already reported 12 new jobs as a result of the

Recovery Act loans.

o  

Blondie's Cookies , which received an $890,000 SBA

loan through the Recovery Act and report creating 30 new jobs as a result of

it. The company was started in 1984 when the owner was a student at

Indiana State University and has 11 locations in malls around Indiana,

including one in Kokomo's Markland Mall. They hope to add two to three more

locations in Indiana, as well as expanding to other states.

o  

Coldline Manufacturing , which is a

Kokomo-area business that is using an $80,000 Recovery Act SBA loan to revamp

their business plan from manufacturing refrigerated trailers to custom auto

parts and metal fabrication.  As a result of their shift in strategy, they

have been able to hire several new part-time workers and have saved $1,440 in

fees with the loan.

RECOVERY

ACT IN INDIANA

Total

Jobs & Spending

·       JOBS CREATED AND

SAVED

- CEA estimates that 71,000 jobswere created or saved by

the Recovery Act in Indiana through September, 2010.

·       TOTAL SPEND - More than $8.4

billion in Recovery funds has been made available to Indiana - and over $6.2

billion has already been spent.

Investing

in Infrastructure

·      

INFRASTRUCTURE: Over $1.3 billion has been obligated for 1320

infrastructure projects in Indiana, funding 2,400 jobs through September,

2010.

·      

TRANSPORTATION - Over $807 million has been

obligated for 1,161 transportation projects in Indiana.

·      

SMALL BUSINESS - 1,536 Recovery Act SBA-backed small

business loans have been given to Indiana small businesses, supporting more

than $584 million in lending.

Relief

to Individuals

·      

TAX RELIEF - Because of the Making Work Pay tax

credit, 2,400,000 Indiana working families will collectively receive $1.3

billion in tax relief.

·      

UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS - More than 580,000

Indiana residents have expanded unemployment benefits because of the Recovery

Act.

·      

STIMULUS PAYMENTS - More than 1.1 million Indiana

seniors, veterans and other high-need residents have received one-time economic

relief payments of $250, totaling over $295 million.

Helping

States

·      

TEACHERS - More than 4,300 education

positions were reported as funded by the Recovery Act in Q2 2010 in

Indiana - which has received more than $1 billion in State Fiscal Stabilization

Funds (SFSF).

·      

MEDICAID - The Recovery Act has already made more

than $1.5 billion available to Indiana for Medicaid assistance

The state of Indiana has spent more than $1.1 billion of the available funds.

·       'COPS' PROGRAM :  Law

enforcement agencies in Indiana received over $26.6 million in funding from the

Recovery Act to support 126 police officers' salaries and benefits for three

years, including 5 officers at the Kokomo Police Department with $1,146,950.


On Tuesday, President Obama and Vice President Biden go to Kokomo, Indiana, where they will tout gains under the controversial economic stimulus law. The White House issued the following "background" press release on the Obama-Biden trip.  You can review the Obama Administration claims and leave your own review of the ...

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