Local Reaction To Obama's Economic Warning
Thursday, January 08, 2009
By Dawn Alderman
Posted January 8, 2009 @ 5:04 p.m.
Rockford, IL- President-Elect Barack Obama painted a grim picture of a country on the verge of an economic disaster.
"I don't believe it's too late to change course, but it will be if we don't take dramatic action as soon as possible. If nothing is done, this recession could linger for years," says Obama.
Obama is urging lawmakers to waste no more time in passing a bill that could potentially mean billions of dollar in local projects around the country. For Rockford Mayor Larry Morrissey, he says the help can't come soon enough.
"Bringing rail from Chicago to Rockford, igniting redevelopment opportunity on South Main at the old railroad yards. These are dreams a lot of us have had for a number of years. This could be a real opportunity to see those move forward," says Morrissey.
Obama offered few details about the plan, but said the goals include increasing production of alternative energy and updating schools and federal buildings. But Morrissey and other mayors are calling for federal dollars to be streamlined to local communities rather than stalled in state bureaucracy.
"If the money is eventually going to wind up being spent here, why would you pass it through another layer of government when you could avoid it? Just takes time and money. Doesn’t make any sense to me," says Morrissey.
"This is something we must act upon right away," says Rockford College Economics Professor Fred Rezazadeh.
Rezazadeh says passing an economic rescue plan is pivotal, but questions if it' s aggressive enough to make an immediate difference.
"For instance, looking for alternative energy is very important but it will not have short run effects on the economy in terms of restoring confidence and turning the economy around," says Rezazadeh.
Rezazadeh says tax cuts for individuals and incentives for businesses needs to be the first line of defense to combat the crippling economy. The plan is expected to include $775 billion over two years in tax cuts and spending.