Archive for May, 2009

Recovery Act Info Center website unveiled as part of STAR Coalition launch

May 27, 2009

star-logoGood Jobs First has launched a new Recovery Act website as part of the creation of States for a Transparent and Accountable Recovery (STAR), a new network promoting state and local activism to ensure the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) is transparent, accountable, fair and effective.

The STAR Coalition includes national organizing networks such as the Apollo Alliance, Center for Community Change, Common Cause, National People’s Action, Progressive States Network, Transportation Equity Network, Partnership for Working Families, Smart Growth America and U.S. PIRG as well as many of their state and local affiliates. The STAR Coalition collaborates with and shares members with the Coalition for an Accountable Recovery, which is working at the federal level to promote ARRA transparency and accountability.

The new STAR Coalition website includes the Recovery Act Info Center, a deep resource for activists and journalists alike.

For each state plus DC, web pages contain:

  • An evaluation of the state’s Recovery Act website, especially with regard to disclosure of contractor information.
  • Details on Recovery Act oversight policies and structures.
  • A synopsis of policy debates on ARRA issues occurring in the state.
  • Key data such as total ARRA funding the state is expected to receive.
  • Listings of watchdog organizations, their ARRA publications, and other resources.

In many states, these watchdog groups will help expand and update the state pages.

The site also includes:

  • Transparency Players: a review of ARRA transparency issues, including a rundown of players in the Administration, Congress, and non-profits shaping policy.
  • Money and Policy: a description of national ARRA funding streams-plus policy debates-in key areas such as transportation, energy, education and unemployment compensation.
  • Weblinks and Bibliography: an extensive collection of ARRA weblinks and resources, including obscure items such as unpublished Congressional Research Service reports.
  • City Websites: an overview of ARRA websites launched by the nation’s largest cities.

The STAR website will be expanded throughout 2009 and 2010 as new data becomes available from the federal government. Currently, only a handful of states have any reporting data on their recovery websites.

Southern Activists Meet on Recovery Accountability

May 4, 2009

star-logoActivists from across the southeastern U.S. gathered in Atlanta last week to hear from national experts on the Recovery Act and to discuss plans for promoting a stimulus accountability agenda in their individual states. The regional conference was the first public event sponsored by States for a Transparent and Accountable Recovery (STAR Coalition).

Participants came from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Virginia.

Among the plenary speakers were Jerome Ringo of the Apollo Alliance, Will Schroeer of Smart Growth America, Craig Jennings of OMB Watch, Rick McHugh of the National Employment Law Project, John Dawkins of the South Carolina Progressive Network, and David Blatt of the Oklahoma Policy Institute. The conference was also addressed by Georgia State Senator Nan Orrock and Georgia State Representative Stacey Abrams.

Workshops were held on topics such as Organizing Around the Recovery Act, Modernizing the Safety Net, Green Jobs, Transportation Infrastructure and Researching Contractors. The day concluded with state caucuses.

The plenary sessions were recorded by a video team, which also taped interviews with individual participants. Video excerpts from the conference and the interviews will be posted on the STAR website at a later date.

The conference was organized by Good Jobs First on behalf of the STAR Coalition, which is still in formation. The website of the Coalition, which will contain info resources on the Recovery Act, will be launched soon.