When a patient comes into the emergency room suffering a heart attack, the doctor doesn’t begin by putting him on an exercise program and discussing dietary changes. The time for that will come later. The immediate concern is to stabilize the patient.
That is the goal of the economic stimulus bill — to begin to stabilize our economy by creating jobs. I believe the threat to our nation’s economy is grave, and while this bill is not perfect, we need to act quickly before things get dramatically worse.
Like all North Dakotans, I’m not happy about having to spend $789 billion to jump start our national economy, especially when things look a lot less dire here. However, North Dakota is not an island, and some of the effects of the national economy can be seen here, too.
The stimulus bill does provide a number of important benefits to our state’s industries, infrastructure and working families. First, it will give over 250,000 North Dakotans a tax cut of $400 which will be distributed by reducing the tax withholding from their paychecks. Retirees and disabled veterans will receive a one-time $250 payment. The stimulus also helps first-time homebuyers by providing an $8,000 tax credit to help with the purchase of a home.
This bill also makes a substantial investment in North Dakota’s infrastructure by including $220 million for our highways, bridges and water systems. To help boost our wind industry, there is a three-year extension of the tax credit that helps make wind a viable power source. The multi-year extension will provide the long-term stability needed to plan and build wind farms.
Finally, the stimulus provides over $50 million to doctors and hospitals in North Dakota to adopt electronic medical records systems. This will save billions of dollars by improving quality and reducing duplication and medical errors.
I will be monitoring North Dakota’s funds closely. If you have questions this bill or need help applying for a grant, contact my office in Fargo at 701-235-9760, Bismarck at 701-224-0355 or Washington at 202-225-2611 and we will be happy to assist you.
I’m not happy about the situation we’re in, but ignoring the problem won’t make it go away, and will make things dramatically worse. Just as North Dakotans have a long tradition of meeting our challenges head on, that’s exactly what our nation must do in order to keep our economy from sinking further.
Congressman Earl Pomeroy