Is LaGrange County Getting Short-Changed in the Stimulus Plan?


The lead story on the Huffington Post Thursday morning (although authored by ProPublica) was a critical analysis of where stimulus funds are going. According to the article, some counties — including at least one in Indiana — might be getting the short end of the stick based on need.

Since the economic stimulus bill passed nearly six months ago, the Obama administration has repeatedly pledged that the money would reach middle America, seeping into the communities hardest hit by the recession.

But analysis of the most comprehensive list of stimulus spending to date found no relationship between where the money is going and unemployment and poverty.

Stimulus spending is literally all over the map, according to ProPublica’s analysis, which examined nearly all the contracts, grants and loans the government has reported awarding. Some battered counties are hauling in large amounts, while others that are just as hard hit have received little.

Take Trigg County, Ky., where unemployment was 15.8 percent in June after the auto industry crisis rippled among suppliers. The stimulus has chipped in $1 million toward a biofuels facility and $30 million for a road project. According to the data, the county has been awarded $2,419 per resident.

But LaGrange County, Ind., hasn’t fared so well. Despite having the identical unemployment rate, it has received only $33 a person. The community is still trying to recover after recreational vehicle plants shuttered last fall. Yet the stimulus has provided little more than the education and rural housing money that every county is scheduled to receive.

LaGrange County, of course, is just east of Elkhart, home of Wednesday’s announcement from President Obama about grants coming to the state. To find out what each state is receiving, click here.

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