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Downturn creates state spending 'czars'

Staff Report • Apr 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Stateline.org is asking readers: What do a real estate developer, a child welfare expert, a chief justice and a former U.S. diplomat who served in Japan all have in common? They are state stimulus “czars” who are overseeing the spending of billions of recovery dollars flowing into Massachusetts, Florida, Alabama and Ohio. The federal stimulus law doesn’t require states to appoint point people or spell out their duties, but the Obama administration, which has czars for health care, energy, illegal drugs and even for cities, has asked states to name “implementation czars” as watchdogs for their share of the federal stimulus package. States are getting $275 billion of the total $787 billion economic stimulus package, which is aimed at jolting the country out of recession The czars’ responsibilities vary from state to state, ranging from heading up task forces that will plan where the state will spend the stimulus money to monitoring how the money is spent. CLICK HERE for the full report.

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