No shortage of input as Obama gets down to work
President Barack Obama said he would take bold and swift action to revive the economy, when he took office Tuesday. Now, local and economic experts are weighing in on just what that will mean for Long Island.
Obama says he wants to rebuild America with an $825-billion economic stimulus measure, much of which would go toward tax cuts for the middle class, according to the president. The tax breaks would benefit an estimated 95 percent of Long Islanders.
Both of the Island?s county executives say federal dollars would help boost the economy. Nassau County Executive Tom Suozzi says he wants to see some of it dedicated to easing skyrocketing Medicaid costs, while Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy would put the money to use on road repairs and new sewers.
Dowling College economist Marty Cantor says sewers will be Long Island?s new economic energizer.
"You'll create jobs, create economic activity, but also allow for building of heightened density and affordable housing to keep our young people here," he says.
Long Island Association chief economist Pearl Kamer says it?s unlikely the economy will see a bounce from the stimulus package until later in 2009 or early 2010.
Other areas federal money could help include mass transit and education. Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) says he?ll fight to convince the Obama administration to overturn a decision that would close the Plum Island Animal Disease Center in 2015.
Democrats in Congress hope to have a stimulus package on President Obama's desk by mid-February.