More than a year after Congress approved $800 billion in stimulus funds (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act), the Los Angeles city controller has released a 40-page report on how the city spent its share, and the results are not living up to expectations.
"I'm disappointed that we've only created or retained 55 jobs after receiving $111 million," said Wendy Greuel, the city's controller. "With our local unemployment rate over 12 percent we need to do a better job cutting red tape and putting Angelenos back to work."
According to the audit, the Los Angeles Department of Public Works spent $70 million in stimulus funds -- in return, it created seven private sector jobs and saved seven workers from layoffs. Taxpayer cost per job: $1.5 million.
The Los Angeles Department of Transportation created even fewer jobs per dollar, spending $40 million but netting just nine jobs. Taxpayer cost per job: $4.4 million.
Greuel blamed the dismal numbers on several factors
- Bureaucratic red tape: Four highway projects did not even go out to bid until seven months after they were authorized.
- Projects that were supposed to be competitively bid in the private sector went instead went to city workers.
- Stimulus money was not properly tracked within departments
- Both departments could not report the jobs created and retained in a timely fashion..