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Published On: Tue, May 19th, 2015

Baltimore proves that more money is not the solution

While the leaders in Washington cry out for more spending on education, infrastructure and crime prevention, a quick look back at the Stimulus Bill reveals almost $2 billion went to Baltimore, which is now a quagmire.

The city of Baltimore received over $1.8 billion from President Obama’s stimulus law, including $467.1 million to invest in education and $26.5 million for crime prevention.

President Obama now claims that if the Republican-controlled Congress would implement his policies to make “massive investments in urban communities,” they could “make a difference right now” in the city, currently in upheaval following the death of Freddie Gray.

Washington Free Beacon analysis found that the Obama administration and Democratically-controlled Congress did make a “massive” investment into Baltimore, appropriating $1,831,768,487 though the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), commonly known as the stimulus.

According to Recovery.gov, one of Baltimore’s central ZIP codes, 21201, received the most stimulus funding in the city, a total of $837,955,866. The amount included funding for 276 awards, and the website reports that the spending had created 290 jobs in the fourth quarter in 2013.

Of this amount, $467.1 million went to education; $206.1 million to the environment; $24 million to “family”; $16.1 million to infrastructure; $15.2 million to transportation; $11.9 million to housing; and $3.1 million to job training.

photo: TaxRebate.org.uk

photo: TaxRebate.org.uk

ZIP code 21202 received $425,170,937, including a $136 million grant to “improve teaching and learning for students most at risk of failing to meet State academic achievement standards.”

Sadly, corruption plagued where the money actually went: a federal audit discovered that Baltimore City Schools spent more than $2,400 for fried chicken and biscuits at a PTA meeting to discuss the budget using federal stimulus and Title I funds.

Add in a dinner cruise, $1,300 to attend a theater performance, and $500 on a mother/daughter makeover and much, much more.

WJZ13 spoke to Baltimore City Schools CEO Andres Alonso; he downplayed the “errors.”

“Anytime there’s an audit of Title I dollars, you’re going to see errors at the school level because schools spend money for what they need, and then sometimes they worry about if it fits the parameter of the grant later,” Alonso said.

The Free Beacon details how the piles of money were allocated as President Obama and others called “for more early education programs, criminal justice reform, and “making investments so that [youth] can get the training they need to find jobs…There’s a bunch of my agenda that would make a difference right now in that,” he said.

The president then proceeded to blame the Republican-controlled Congress for not implementing his agenda.

“I’m under no illusion that under this Congress we’re going to get massive investments in urban communities,” Obama said.

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About the Author

- Roxanne "Butter" Bracco began with the Dispatch as Pittsburgh Correspondent, but will be providing reports and insights from Washington DC, Maryland and the surrounding region. Contact Roxie aka "Butter" at [email protected] ATTN: Roxie or Butter Bracco

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