New figures released by Gov. Paterson's stimulus overseers confirms what many critics have been saying about Albany's choices for the billions in windfall dollars that the state has been collecting from Washington.
There will be few long-term accomplishments from all that spending.
Paterson reports that the state is spending just 11% of $18 billion in stimulus on infrastructure projects, like roadwork and bridge construction--, that leave a lasting footprint on the state's physical and economic future.
Instead, most of the money is going to "county governments and schools," a category that includes Medicaid, followed closely by payments "Direct to Individuals" (think, $200 back-to-school welfare bonuses).
It's in that last category, of course, "Direct to Individuals," where New York City spent nearly a third of its $8 billion outlay, compared to just 9% for Tompkins County.
The city was at the top of the chart in the Medicaid-education category, at 40%.
Paterson and Albany's stimulus spending choices are a far cry from those of a bygone recovery led by another New Yorker, FDR, whose alphabet soup of stimulus agencies, like the Civilian Conservation Corps (featured in a new PBS "American Experience" documentary) and Works Project Administration (WPA), left an indelible mark on New York's and the nation's landscape and cities.
Many of those projects--the stately government buildings, national and state parks and campgrounds--are still in use today, 80 years later.
What will be the legacy of Paterson's stimulus choices, but deep deficits when the one-time stimulus runs out?
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