Archive for the ‘Economic Recovery’ Category

Supersizing New Jersey’s Subsidies

April 8, 2014

What a waste

Economic development incentives are making headlines again in New Jersey.   Following a massive legislative overhaul of the state’s business subsidy programs last year, Good Jobs First predicted that the state would quickly lose control of spending through the expanded programs.  It took less than a year for the state Economic Development Authority (EDA) to prove us right.

The (Bergen) Record revealed this weekend that under the new subsidy structure the EDA has awarded twice the amount of business incentives as it did during the first quarter of last year:

“The grants so far, awarded in the form of tax credits, totaled $355 million. That’s about $89 million a month, compared with about $36 million a month awarded under the state’s main incentive programs in the first nine months of 2013, authority data show. The state made about six awards a month under the revamped programs, nearly double the number in the first nine months of 2013.” (source)

Prior to the state’s business subsidies undergoing scrutiny as a result of the ongoing David Samson/Christie-Gate scandal, and even before the structural overhaul that has allowed the current subsidy surge, New Jersey was already facing criticism for its excessive spending on business incentives.  During its first two and a half years, the Christie Administration awarded nearly $2 billion in tax incentives and grants.

All this spending has done little to help the state’s economy.   New Jersey’s employment recovery rate lags behind the rest of the nation and reports that small business owners are still having trouble accessing Hurricane Sandy recovery funds are persistent.  Unfortunately for residents, the Christie Administration has already demonstrated that doubling the state’s already ineffective business incentive spending isn’t likely to have much of an impact.  Supersizing subsidy spending is no recipe for prosperity in the Garden State.

New Jersey Subsidy Overhaul Scraps Cost Controls and Accountability

September 19, 2013

Fallout from Hurricane Sandy and this month’s tragic boardwalk fire are not the only costs that New Jersey taxpayers will face in the coming years – Governor Chris Christie has signed off on a massive overhaul of the state’s business subsidy system that will cost the state plenty.

The Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 consolidates New Jersey’s biggest subsidy programs into two programs that will likely cost more than the largest five currently do.  Gone are the Business Employment Incentive Program (BEIP), the Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit, and the Business Retention and Relocation Assistance Grant (BRRAG) tax credit.  The state will now award job subsidies to companies through the Economic Redevelopment Growth Grant and the Grow New Jersey program.  Supporters of the Act argue that streamlining and simplifying New Jersey’s subsidy system will enhance the business climate of the state, but the legislation is seriously deficient in the matter of accountability.

This is not to say that the state’s previous subsidies were without problems.  In its nearly two decades of use, BEIP awards have cost the state over $1.5 billion.  At one point, the New Jersey Economic Development Authority was even issuing bonds in order to meet its BEIP debt obligations to subsidized companies.

Recently the Christie Administration has accelerated its subsidy spending, amounting to more than $2 billion awarded to companies in the last 3 years alone through a combination of programs.  Over half of that amount was spent through the once-credible Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program, a subsidy designed to spur development near transit stations.  With the support of Gov. Christie, the pool of credits available for the program was expanded and quickly exhausted, with many of the awards going to companies making short in-state moves.

The two remaining subsidy programs are deeply flawed.  The Economic Redevelopment and Growth Grant (ERG) program, enacted in 2008, diverts more types of tax revenue away from public coffers than any other tax increment financing program in the nation.  One of the first awards made through this program was a bailout for the struggling Revel Casino in Atlantic City – a project so financially toxic that Morgan Stanley walked away from its nearly $1 billion investment in the development.  (Revel has since declared and emerged from bankruptcy.)

Ironically enough, the other surviving subsidy, Grow New Jersey, was enacted to appease suburban and rural areas that had lost jobs through headquarters relocations subsidized by the out-of-control Urban Transit Hub Tax Credit program.  Since the first application was approved in April 2012, the state has awarded an average of $22.2 million per month to New Jersey businesses.

Unsurprisingly, in their new iterations, Grow New Jersey and ERG lack aggregate cost controls.  There is no annual or program-wide cap for use of either subsidy, virtually ensuring that New Jersey’s economic development spending spree will continue unchecked.  The potential costs to the state are immeasurable; fiscal analysis of the bill conducted by the Office of Legislative Services concluded that “the bill will produce an indeterminate multi-year State revenue loss” but it “cannot project the direction or magnitude of the bill’s net fiscal impact on the State and local governments.” There is a   $350 million maximum subsidy per company but business eligibility criteria have been loosened.

Aside from the potentially astronomical costs to the tax-paying public, the Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 introduces a host of other accountability problems to the state’s subsidy system.  Chief criticisms include the inclusion of retailers as eligible recipients, the removal of the state’s long-standing prevailing wage requirement for subsidized facilities, the elimination of the requirement that subsidized businesses pay a portion of health care benefit premiums, the allowance for businesses to count part time employees toward job creation requirements, and the high probability that both subsidy programs will accelerate suburban sprawl in the state.

In spite of the Christie Administration’s unprecedented spending on business subsidies over the past three years, New Jersey’s economic recovery lags behind most of the nation.  At last count, the state unemployment rate was 8.7 percent, earning it a ranking of 43rd in the country.  More unchecked spending on business subsidies is surely no remedy for the state’s employment problem.  The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results, an adage unfortunately lost on Gov. Christie and New Jersey’s lawmakers.

$2.6 Billion Spent on Cleaning Up DC Rivers Must Address Local Job Creation

June 7, 2013

SinkorSwim_WebBoxOver the next decade, DC Water will use a regressive Impervious Area Charge (IAC) to fund $2.6 billion in needed water infrastructure investments. Middle- and low-income residents and neighborhoods will carry the highest burden of the DC Water fee increase that will pay for these improvements.

Despite the fact that the funding burden of these projects falls heavily on the most vulnerable residents, DC Water has not implemented a local hiring agreement, even though putting residents to work on the project may be the best way to reduce the harm of a regressive fee. These are among the findings of Sink or Swim? Who will pay and who will benefit from DC Water’s $2.6 billion Clean Rivers Project?, a study published this week by Good Jobs First.

More coverage of the report can be found over at the Washington Post and the Washington City Paper’s Housing Complex Blog.

Cities rarely spend so much — $2.6 billion — on infrastructure projects. A strong Community Benefits Agreement could make this public infrastructure investment provide a jobs stimulus benefit to District residents without spending an additional dollar. A proposed Community Benefits Agreement (CBA), like the District’s amended First Source Law, would establish a minimum percentage of work hours that must be performed by District residents, increasing to 50% over the next decade.

The report was commissioned by the Washington Interfaith Network (WIN) and The Laborers’ International Union of North America (LIUNA).

Among the major findings:

  • The impact of the IAC – measured as a share of 2013 property taxes – will be four- to five times greater for homeowners in poor neighborhoods than for those in affluent neighborhoods.
  • Small businesses, especially those east of the river, will feel a heavy burden from IAC fees. Office buildings on K Street will feel little impact.
  • There is no indication that District residents will benefit in proportion to their burden. Contractors on major DC Water projects currently employ more North Carolinians than residents from Wards 7 & 8 combined. Over half the contractor workforce lives outside Washington, D.C. and its immediate surroundings.
  • Continued failure to hire local residents will result in a massive transfer of wealth out of the District. We estimate that over the next thirty years, D.C. ratepayers will be billed $4.2 billion in IACs, including $1.1 billion from Wards 7 and 8 alone.

District residents will pay for these infrastructure investments through a regressive fee for the next thirty years. Low- and middle-income residents will be hit the hardest. These are neighborhoods that have historically been excluded from opportunities in construction careers; to not leverage $2.6 billion in public spending for District construction careers would represent a tremendous missed opportunity.

Colorado Governor Doesn’t Buy Sales Tax Giveaway

May 10, 2012

Westernaires and Color Guard in Downtown Denver opening the National Western Stock Show

Advocates of accountability and fiscal responsibility in Colorado recently achieved a major victory when Governor John Hickenlooper vetoed a controversial economic development bill.  SB 124 was designed to amend the state’s existing Regional Tourism Act, which allows Colorado’s Economic Development Commission to award portions of sales tax revenue as a subsidy to projects deemed important enough to attract out-of-state tourism dollars.  If signed by the Governor, it would have increased the number of allowable projects this year from two to six.

The bill was made all the more contentious by the fact that the Economic Development Commission is currently in possession of an application for the existing Regional Tourism subsidy from Gaylord Entertainment Co., which is constructing a massive hotel-convention center complex in Aurora, Colorado.  The complex, located close to Denver International Airport, has been criticized for its potential to leech convention center business from Denver.  Confirming these fears, the announcement by the Western Stock Show–a Denver institution for over a century–of its intent to relocate to Aurora gave the issue a public symbol in the media.  The Gaylord complex is already approved for a tax increment financing (TIF) subsidy by the city of Aurora and has applied for an additional $170 million in sales tax TIF subsidies through the state’s Regional Tourism Act.

Concerns over intra-regional competition for jobs and tax revenues was not lost on Gov. Hickenlooper, who in his veto letter stated: “the [Regional Tourism Act] does not contemplate…projects that are likely to serve only the interests of a particular community.”  The Governor’s decision also reflected his concern that politicizing subsidy-awarding process would reduce the program’s effectiveness and accountability.  “This [veto] will help ensure the state sales tax increment revenue is used appropriately, and that the EDC is awarding projects that will in fact drive tourism and economic development…we want to ensure that the RTA process remains competitive, resulting in the most ‘unique’ and ‘extraordinary’ projects being approved,” he wrote.

TIF subsidies derived from property tax are used liberally in Colorado by local governments, but the use of sales tax revenues as a subsidy has been restricted thus far.  Recent years have brought multiple ill-informed efforts to deregulate and loosen rules on the TIF-ing of sales tax.  Many of these proposed tax giveaways have been beaten back by a coalition of groups led by the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, which successfully defeated a number of wasteful business tax credit and subsidy bills this session.

Congratulations to our allies on their hard-earned victory!

New Year Brings New Recovery Board Chair

January 4, 2012

By Andrew Seifter, Good Jobs First

President Obama has appointed Kathleen S. Tighe, Inspector General of the Department of Education, as the new chair of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board.  Tighe replaces Earl Devaney, who held the post since the Recovery Act was enacted in February 2009, but announced last month that he was retiring.

As an existing member of the Recovery Board (which consists of cabinet agency Inspectors General), Tighe has demonstrated a strong record of cracking down on fraud and misuse of government funds, so she is a logical, if conventional, choice to replace Devaney.  In a press release announcing her appointment, the Recovery Board highlighted several instances in which Tighe helped win settlements or convictions against fraudulent companies or individuals, including a former City University of New York employee who was convicted for trying to “scam more than $1.5 million in Re­covery Act grant funds.”  According to Tighe’s November 2011 Report to Congress, the case involved a former employee at the University’s Research Foundation who had presented two fraudulent Grant Award Notifications that were discovered by an official who had recently participated in a Recovery Act grant fraud awareness training provided by Tighe’s office.

Tighe also continues to serve as a member of the Government Accountability and Transparency (GAT) Board, suggesting that she will remain a critical player in ongoing efforts to transfer the accountability measures of the Recovery Act to all federal spending.  The GAT Board has been active of late, issuing three key recommendations to the President in December.

As I surmised from reading Devaney’s resignation letter and his final “Chairman’s Corner” column, one of the GAT Board recommendations is for a uniform ID system for all federal spending projects.  The Board wisely suggests that in pursuing this goal the government incorporate standardization efforts already underway at the Federal Acquisition Regulatory Council and the Treasury Department.  The other recommendations are somewhat broader: adopt a “cohesive, centralized accountability framework” to track spending, and reevaluate the methods the government employs to collect and display data.

The GAT Board mentioned one benefit of data standardization, in particular, that got our attention at Good Jobs First: it would “foster a common understanding of data between the Federal Government and the states, which are the largest recipients of Federal funds.”  We’d consider that a huge step forward for spending transparency, based on our experience tracking the Recovery Act.  Although the Stimulus has pushed the states toward improved disclosure, all too often certain information about both spending and outcomes (such as job impact) has been lost in translation as money moved from the federal government to state agencies that then passed it on to local recipients.

We also strongly support the GAT Board in urging the government to “stay on the cutting edge” by constantly exploring ways to make use of advances in technology such as geospatial services.  We’ve seen for ourselves that the possibilities in this regard are far greater than they were years, even months ago.  As the state of technology continues to improve, the bar for transparency must continue to rise.

Many of the GAT Board’s observations and recommendations are a direct result of the Recovery Act, and not just because it provided a powerful model for tracking billions of dollars of government funds.  The Recovery Act also moved the conversation forward by highlighting the limitations of the current system.

For example, the Recovery Act has pressed federal agencies to improve their internal reporting procedures and address problems with existing protocols.  As Recovery Board member and Department of Commerce IG Todd J. Zinser said in November 30 testimony to the House Science, Space and Technology Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations, the Commerce Department met Recovery Act reporting requirements, but only by “performing many manual procedures to compensate for grant and contract system inadequacies.”  Zinser’s remarks bring to mind Director Mike Wood’s comment last spring that a Deputy Secretary at the Department of Housing and Urban Development told him that HUD “changed their whole management structure … based on how they ran their Recovery program.”

Leaving a Lasting Legacy, Devaney Can Depart Recovery Board with Head Held High

December 14, 2011

By Andrew Seifter, Good Jobs First

Earl Devaney, who as Chairman of the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board oversaw implementation of the Recovery Act’s revolutionary accountability measures, is retiring.

A longtime civil servant with a breadth of experience in law enforcement, Devaney proved during his tenure on the Recovery Board that enhanced transparency not only keeps the public informed of the costs and benefits of government spending projects; it also prevents waste and fraud.

While law enforcement officials still aggressively use the full weight of the law to go after instances of fraud, the bright light that the Recovery Act has shined on the flow of funds has made scammers think twice before trying to cheat Uncle Sam.  As Devaney recently told the Washington Post, “I think this [Recovery Act] money was so transparent that guys that really commit big frauds … didn’t come near this money.” director Michael Wood has similarly credited transparency for the Recovery Act’s “very low non-compliance rate” and “extremely low” fraud rate.

Devaney’s work is also a testament to the bipartisan nature of support for spending transparency and accountability.  Even on an issue as politically polarizing as the Recovery Act, Devaney’s efforts to police stimulus funds are respected on both sides of the aisle.  How many other officials in Washington, upon announcing their retirement, could draw effusive praise from both Vice President Biden and Republican Congressman Darrell Issa?

In addition to leaving the Recovery Board, Devaney is also resigning as Chairman of the Government Accountability and Transparency Board (GATB), the institution President Obama created this year and tasked with expanding the Recovery Act’s transparency measures to all federal spending.  In his resignation letter, Devaney hinted that the GATB is “on the verge of proposing concrete methods to increase accountability and transparency of all Federal funds.”

On November 21, Devaney devoted his final “Chairman’s Corner” column to making the case for a “uniform government-wide award identification number” for federal spending. This administrative restructuring, he argued, is essential for full spending transparency and will save the government both time and money.  We’ll see if this recommendation is part of the forthcoming GATB proposal that he referenced.

No doubt a very busy man, there is one other position that Devaney is stepping down from before riding off into the sunset: Inspector General of the Interior Department.  Among his many accomplishments while serving in that post, which he’s held since 1999, Devaney oversaw investigations that led to the well-publicized conviction of lobbyist Jack Abramoff.

No Job Subsidies for Companies That Discriminate Against the Unemployed

September 2, 2011

Should taxpayers subsidize companies that refuse to even interview unemployed workers? Of course not!

Yet despite the fact that tax breaks are invariably justified in the name of reducing unemployment—not to mention the fact that more Americans have been unemployed for longer periods of time in this Great Recession than any downturn since the 1930’s—it’s legal for companies getting subsidies from states, cities or Uncle Sam to turn away applicants just because they are currently unemployed.

This callous treatment of the unemployed is outrageous but true: as the National Employment Law Project (NELP) documented recently (confirming news reports), dozens of companies and some of the nation’s most prominent job-search websites are routinely posting job ads that explicitly say applicants “must be currently employed.”

NELP rightly emphasizes how many job seekers there are for every job opening. We would add that, given higher rates of unemployment among people of color and younger workers, excluding unemployed applicants can only worsen discriminatory patterns.

If major economic development subsidies were reformed to prohibit this practice, it would greatly benefit millions of unemployed Americans. That’s because federally funded programs such as Industrial Revenue Bonds, Workforce Investment Act grants, and Community Development Block Grants are ubiquitous—as are state-enabled subsidies such as property tax abatements and investment tax credits.

Another federal remedy has also been proposed: House and Senate versions of the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 (already with 35 House co-sponsors) would prohibit companies and employment agencies from refusing to consider applicants solely because they are unemployed. In a recent radio talk show, President Obama endorsed the legislation.

As Good Jobs First documented in 2008 in Uncle Sam’s Rusty Toolkit (co-published with NELP and others) five of the most common federal job subsidies lack many of the taxpayer safeguards that are becoming increasingly common at the state and local level, such as online disclosure of company-specific costs and benefits, money-back guarantee clawbacks, Job Quality Standards, location efficiency and green building standards.

To that list for both the states and the feds, we would add: no discrimination against applicants just because they are unemployed!

California Latest State to Do Away With Recovery Act Website

July 21, 2011

It’s no longer just Republican governors who openly oppose the federal stimulus law who have stripped or shut down their states’ Recovery Act websites.  As of July 1, the stimulus website in California, the biggest of the blue states, is no more.

Perhaps it’s not so surprising that California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has decided to get rid of the state website dedicated to tracking Recovery Act funds.  Before he even took office, Brown announced in December 2010 that he was eliminating the state’s Office of the Inspector General, which oversaw California’s use of Recovery Act funds.  At the time, Brown said that the Office was redundant and unaffordable for a state facing a multi-billion dollar budget deficit.  We can probably assume that the decision to eliminate the state’s stimulus website also comes out of budgetary concerns.

At the web address that used to host the California Recovery Act website, there is now only a message that reads: “As of July 1, 2011 the California Recovery website has been discontinued. Recovery Act data is available on the Federal Recovery website at”  But as we’ve argued at Good Jobs First, simply directing residents to the federal Recovery Act site is not enough.  Effective state stimulus websites provide more state-specific funding and program details than the federal website.

On the one hand, we recognize that states are facing really tough budget shortfalls and have had to make tough decisions; some worthwhile programs must be cut.  But as Collins Center Vice President Leda Perez has pointed out, you can’t put a price tag on the value of transparent and open government.  And although many stimulus funds are drying up this year (thereby exacerbating state budget shortfalls), state agencies in California and across the country will continue to oversee large sums of Recovery Act funds through 2013.

Keeping that in mind, the concern here is that states may be prematurely “moving on” from the Recovery Act, and that type of attitude could become increasingly prevalent in the months ahead.  In addition to the states we’ve chronicled that have taken down their stimulus websites, there’s also New Hampshire and New Mexico, which recently announced that they are shutting down the state Recovery Act offices that were created to run their websites and more broadly oversee stimulus spending.   In announcing that they are closing up shop, the New Hampshire Office of Economic Stimulus added that the state’s stimulus website will only remain active until December 31.  We’ll probably soon be hearing about other states that are shutting down Recovery Act offices and websites.

In many ways, the Recovery Act has been a boon to transparency and accountability.  States shouldn’t let the ongoing phase-out of stimulus funds tempt them to return to business as usual.

Expiration of Stimulus Funds Means Higher Costs for Higher Education

June 15, 2011

(This post originally appeared on the States for a Transparent and Accountable Recovery blog).

A couple months ago, I detailed in this space how the end of federal stimulus support is putting the squeeze on states’ K-12 education budgets, forcing school boards across the country to grapple with teacher layoffs, larger class sizes, fewer school programs and shorter school days.  But the pain isn’t only being felt by K-12 teachers and students; it also extends to public university students and their families, many of whom are facing major hikes in tuition and fees as Recovery Act funds for higher education come to an end.

As the Pew Center on the States’ Stateline news service explains, lawmakers facing severe budget crunches have “targeted higher ed because it’s easier to cut — legally, politically and logistically — than K-12 schools, roads, prisons or health care.”  As a result, “higher education continued to bear the brunt of state budget cuts in 2011.” These cuts, necessitated in large part by the expiration of stimulus funds, have forced public colleges and universities to raise tuition rates, often dramatically:

  • As Stateline noted, state support for the University of Washington has been cut from $400 million to $200 million, causing tuition to “rise by at least 16 percent next year.”
  • State budget cuts have “prompted a 20 percent increase in tuition at Arizona State University,” according to Stateline.
  • The Associated Press reported that the Florida state legislature has “approved an 8-percent tuition increase and most if not all” of the state’s 11 public universities “are expected to seek the board’s permission for an addition 7 percent, the legal limit.”  The spending cuts, the AP notes, “are due almost entirely to the expiration of federal stimulus funding the universities have received in the current budget year.”
  • In a separate article, the AP noted that the chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents cited “the evaporation of federal recovery act funds” in announcing that “[s]tudents attending Tennessee colleges and universities could see a tuition increase of 9.5 percent or more this fall.”
  • As the Boston Globe recently reported, the University of Massachusetts’ Board of Trustees has approved a plan that “will increase tuition and fees by 7.5 percent, meaning the average in-state undergrad will pay $11,838, an $826 increase from the academic year that recently ended.”  According to University officials, “the fee hike was necessary mainly because a federal stimulus program, which provided $38 million in funding this year, has ended.”
  • Wright State University in Ohio has raised tuition to the 3.5 percent state cap ($273 per year) to help offset the largest reduction in state funding in the school’s history, the Dayton Daily News reported. In response to these state budget cuts, which “come mainly from a loss of federal stimulus money that was not replaced,” the University of Cincinnati has also raised tuition to the cap, Miami University and Ohio State University are expected to do the same, and less expensive community colleges are seeking state lawmakers’ approval to raise tuition rates more than 3.5 percent.

A college education has long been recognized as a path to financial security, but with tuitions on the rise, more and more prospective students may lack the resources they need to make the dream of attending college a reality. Higher costs also impact those who are struggling to find work; in periods of high unemployment like today, many people go back to school to retool and gain new skills, but higher tuition rates may take this option off the table for those with more limited means.  Then there’s the big picture: Making college less affordable seems like precisely the wrong thing to do in an increasingly competitive global economy where those nations that invest in a skilled and educated workforce have the best hopes of future prosperity.

For all of these reasons, steep tuition hikes at traditionally affordable public institutions could exacerbate our economic troubles.  But that’s precisely the situation we find ourselves in as the Recovery Act moves into the rearview mirror with no more federal support in sight.

Traffic Citation: The Scott Administration’s Faulty Rationale for Dismantling Florida’s Stimulus Website

May 18, 2011

(This post originally appeared on the States for a Transparent and Accountable Recovery blog).

Leda Perez’s recent column challenged the Rick Scott administration’s central justification for severely downgrading Florida’s Recovery Act website: that the website was “not used that much.”  I’ve already touched on Perez’s column a bit, but she really got to the crux of the issue when she asked: “Should we eliminate [Freedom of Information access] because an insufficient number of people make requests? Or, should Congress or presidents simply be appointed because an insufficient number of people exercise their voting rights?”

Indeed, transparency, openness and accountability are essential democratic principles and governments should preserve tools that promote those principles no matter how infrequently they are used. 

But even if it’s a poor defense for gutting the stimulus website, it is worth exploring the Scott administration’s claim that the website was “not used that much.”  Perez referenced the “apparent selectivity in what public information remains available via web portals,” and that got us thinking: Just how many viewers did the Florida Recovery Act website attract before the Scott administration gutted it, and how does that compare to other state websites that are maintained at taxpayers’ expense?

We don’t know how the Scott administration evaluated the Recovery Act website beyond spokesman Brian Burgess’s statement on Twitter that “we actually analyzed hard visitor traffic data (at least what was available).”  But here’s what that “hard visitor traffic data” shows, according to, a company that tracks web traffic data: The website maintained by then-Governor Charlie Crist had between 1,296 and 5,501 unique visitors per month from April-November 2010, and averaged 2,907 monthly visitors during that period.

Those are hardly earth-shattering figures, but remember that those thousands of monthly visitors to the website consist of contractors looking to hire workers, people looking for jobs, public interest groups organizing around important causes and highly-engaged citizens who want to keep tabs on how their tax dollars are being spent.  Each of these people only count as one visitor, but depending on how they use the website it could have a big impact on their companies, families, neighbors, and even entire communities.

Then there’s the “selectivity” issue that Perez raised.  The traffic figures for the stimulus website that Scott dismantled are comparable to plenty of other state websites that haven’t been taken down.  Here are some examples:

None of this is to suggest that these sites should be taken down.  But why won’t the Scott administration treat the Recovery Act with as much taxpayer respect as the state treats consumer protection, child literacy, hurricane preparedness and the Florida sports industry?