Is it stimulus?

MPR News reporter Annie Baxter has a good story this morning on some of the unusual places federal stimulus money will land in Minnesota, including $11,000 to the Dakota County Sheriff’s office that may buy a couple of updated digital video recorders for cruisers.

But is that the sort of thing that will really stimulate the economy?

I raised this issue earlier in the week when I looked at the list of greater Minnesota road projects financed with stimulus money and asked: Are snow fences and road resurfacing really stimulus?

Yeah, it’s small stuff in an $800-plus billion spending package, but I’d love to hear from people who can give me specific examples of how the stimulus money is giving a shot in the arm to their local economy. Or tell us if you don’t think it’s money well spent.

Brent Olson, one of our Public Insight Network sources who’s also a commissioner in Big Stone County in western Minnesota, told us he believes one stimulus project — $7 million to resurface Big Stone Highway 75 — will have a positive effect.

Brent told us:

In all honesty, without the stimulus money, I doubt if Highway 75 would have been resurfaced for many years to come – we simply do not have the clout to get the work done. So, a badly needed infrastructure improvement will be done, a great deal of local gravel, etc, will be purchased, and we’ll sell some meals and hotel beds for a couple months – all good things.

Weigh in here on any part of the stimulus package that might affect you or drop me a line.

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