To: Interested Parties
Fr: White House Communications
Da: April 22, 2009
Re: The Obama-Biden economic plan: creating jobs, strengthening the economy for Montana families

Facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, President Obama started his Presidency with decisive action -- proposing and quickly passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Since the bill went into effect, the ARRA has already helped put money back in the pockets of 95 percent of working Americans, created and saved jobs across the country and made key investments in our community to help kickstart the economy. To ensure that the funds are spent efficiently and effectively, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden with overseeing the implementation of ARRA, and projects have already begun to come in under budget across the country. As the President prepares to introduce the details of his budget and further plans to revitalize the economy, here’s a look at how his policies have impacted Montana in the first three months of his administration.


Working Families:

  • Making Work Pay: The President’s tax-cut – which covers more Americans than any in history – is putting more than $200 million back in the pockets of more than 400,000 hard-working Montana families.
  • $5,747,006 to support child care for working families.


  • $13,971,000 in block grants to foster energy efficiency in building, transportation, and a wide range of other improvements.
  • $26,543,777 to support the weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment.
  • $25,855,000 to the State Energy Program, available for rebates to consumers for energy saving improvements; development of renewable energy projects; promotion of Energy Star products; efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings; and other innovative state efforts to help save families money on their energy bills.


  • $241,182,872 potentially available to Montana to lay the foundation for a generation of education reform and help save thousands of teaching jobs at risk due to state and local budget cuts.

Health Care:

  • $1,300,000 to fund 1 new Community Health Center, which will serve an estimated 5,570 patients and create a projected 40 jobs.
  • $2,861,630 to expand services at 15 existing Community Health Centers, which will expand service to an additional 15,202 patients and create or save a projected 56 jobs.
  • $485,000 to provide meals to low-income seniors.
  • $34,248,946 made available in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to protect health care for the families hit hard by the economic crisis and some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
  • $675,777 in vaccines and grants to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need.


  • $211,793,391 in highway funds to help build and repair roads and bridges.
  • $15,611,710 to repair and build public transportation infrastructure.

Law Enforcement:

  • More than $4.9 million for state and local law enforcement assistance available through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program. The JAG Program supports a variety of efforts such as hiring and support for law enforcement officers; multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces; crime prevention and domestic violence programs; and courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives.


Thanks to the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, real impact is already being felt across the state.

Montana’s First Solar-Powered Business Could Set Precedent for More Businesses Benefiting from Stimulus Package Tax Incentives. "For decades, rural people who live outside of the Flathead Electric Cooperative power grid have relied on a combination of solar panels backed up by batteries or generators. Now, tucked away in Kila, the Flathead has its first grid-tied, solar-powered business: Calm Animal Care. With the recently approved $787 billion federal stimulus package promising substantial funds and tax incentives for renewable energy, more could be on the way. Also, a group named Great Northern Solar recently launched a movement among local businesspeople to build a solar panel manufacturing plant in the Flathead. Last November, Kip Drobish of Oso Renewable Energy along with Whitefish electrician Richard Cowen, installed a grid-tied, battery-backup photovoltaic system for Barbara Calm, the clinic’s owner… The federal government provides a tax credit worth up to 30 percent of the total upfront cost of installing a solar-energy system. States have their own additional incentives. In Montana, people who install a non-fossil form of energy generation or heating are eligible for up to a $500 income tax credit… Many utility companies in Montana aren’t receptive to the idea of alternative energy sources. But Flathead Electric is, which he says is an advantage for area residents hoping to make the switch. Holter said officials at Flathead Electric recognize that great changes in the energy world are on their way. ‘Our board sees this as something that’s coming down in the future, so we’re trying to get ahead of the game,’ Holter said." [Flathead Beacon, 3/4/09]

New Crow Tribe Chairman: "Stimulus Funding Will Help Put A Lot of People to Work." "Cedric Black Eagle was elected chairman of the Crow Tribe on Saturday, beating opponent Leroy Not Afraid by a vote of 2,521 to 850... Black Eagle mentioned the pressed-brick home project that will produce materials to build homes for 1,900 people in need of permanent dwellings. Jobs are another priority, Black Eagle said. ‘I think stimulus funding will help put a lot of people to work, for the next couple of years anyway,’ he said. He also reiterated Not Afraid's words, to help the tribe find common ground. Black Eagle said he would like to sit down with those who opposed him in the election, to address their concerns on issues facing the tribe. ‘If we're going to progress as a nation, then we need to come together as a tribe and move forward,’ he said." [Billings Gazette, 4/19/09]

Stimulus Funds Will Help Billings Hire Staff, More Than Double The Number Of Homes Weatherized Per Year. "A local agency anticipates its workload will triple, thanks to the help of funds from the $787-billion federal stimulus package. Montana Senator Jon Tester took a tour of the Billings Human Resources Development Council Wednesday. ‘It's a big bill and it invests serious amounts of money in infrastructure, but keep in mine the infrastructure needs in this country are huge, it just scratches the surface,’ said Senator Tester. HRDC expects to receive $27-million for weatherization programs. The Billings office will get $2.8-million over the next two years, and bought five new vans, hired five people, and may hire four more. Agency officials said normally it works on 250 to 300 homes a year, but with the new stimulus dollars it will be able to add 300 to 400 more." [Montana’s News Station, 4/8/09]

Montana Will Receive $125 Million In Stimulus Funds For Projects Securing And Improving Commerce Along The State’s Northern Border And Improvements To National Forest Land. "Sens. Max Baucus and Jon Tester have announced that about $125 million in federal stimulus money will be spent on securing and improving commerce on Montana's northern border and on improving the state's national-forest lands. The senators said Friday that about $77 million will be spent on refurbishing, remodeling and, in some cases, rebuilding five ports of entry along the border with Canada. The money is expected to be split almost evenly between the Scobey, Wild Horse, Del Bonita, Morgan and Whitetail ports. Baucus and Tester also said Friday that about $48 million in federal stimulus money will be spent on improving roads, cleaning up abandoned mines and reducing the risk of wildfire in national forests." [Billings Gazette, 4/18/09]

Helena MT Proposed Shovel-Ready Projects that Could Benefit from Stimulus Funds, Including Parking Facilities, Renewable Energy Projects at Water Treatment Plants. "These projects have been included in a resolution approved by the City Commission, which will consider adding more requests Monday at 6 p.m. Some cost figures provided are estimates. Transit facility — $3 million. Plans for the new facility on North Montana Avenue fell through after the federal government reallocated funding to different programs. Now, it could be under construction this summer, City Manager Tim Burton said. He’s been told by the Montana Department of Transportation that the garage is the agency’s top transit priority in the state. "I’m not positive, but I’m highly certain" work could begin this year, he said. ‘MDT called us — we didn’t call them," Burton said… ‘That bus station is going to be huge for this city,’ Smith said. ‘And I don’t know how we’d assess ourselves $3 million or $5 million to build a bus garage (without federal help).’… 15th Street Parking Garage — $6.5 million. Using federal money for this parking complex, which is now under construction adjacent to a new facility being built for the Montana State Fund, would pay off city revenue bonds and free up money for other parking improvements… City commissioners will consider adding this list of energy improvements to their resolution in a meeting Monday at 6 p.m. in the third-floor chambers of the City-County Building. Costs are estimates… Ten Mile Water Treatment Plant — $850,000. The city would install a new HVAC system that could potentially save two-thirds of the energy needed for heating and cooling. Officials also want to install a system that would use forest biomass to heat and power the plant. Surplus energy could be sold. - Solar and wind-turbine projects — $1 million. Equipment would be installed atop the city’s two water treatment plants and its wastewater treatment plant." [Helena Independent Record, 3/8/09]

Small Suppliers Will Benefit from the Stimulus, Like Montana’s Prairie Management Which Hopes to Expand to Other States, in Part Because of the Stimulus."Montana's $200 million-plus in federal stimulus money for highway work isn't out of the chute yet, but it's already buoying the outlook of businessmen such as Kyle and Jason Fisher, brothers who form straw into tubes for erosion control at highway construction sites… It's not just major construction contractors who stand to benefit from stimulus spending by the Transportation Department, said Jim Lynch, the agency's director. Highway work draws on myriad suppliers, some of them small. ‘I think that's what the federal government envisioned when they looked at stimulus’ and the nation's infrastructure, Lynch said. ‘A lot of suppliers’… The Fishers got into the business three years ago and have focused sales efforts in Wyoming, where oil pipeline work boosted demand for wattles, as well as in Montana. Encouraged partly by the stimulus cash, they hope to add customers in Idaho and the Dakotas this construction season. Collectively the five states are targeted for $900 million in stimulus money for road, highway and bridge work. ‘The more business we get, the more people we can employ,’ Jason Fisher said. Ordinarily, the brothers have seven employees for nine or 10 months of the year. The Fishers, both in their 20s, started Prairie Management after Jason had a job hauling wattles. ‘I saw all that money (in sales) going out of state,’ he said." [AP, 3/26/09]


Montana Air Force Base To Receive $26.2 Million in Stimulus Funding To Repair Foundations and Modernize Facilities. "The Department of Defense has allocated more that $47.5 million in federal stimulus money for ‘shovel ready’ construction and repair projects at Malmstrom Air Force Base and at almost two dozen of the base’s facilities. Most of the money, $26.2 million, will be spent on repairing foundation problems for 179 housing units that were built from 1998 and to 2001. An additional $19,580,000 is slated to sustain, restore and modernize 21 different Malmstrom facilities, while $1.8 million will go toward five maintenance projects. The Montana Air National Guard will get $11,000 to rebalance the air system at the unit’s readiness center. First Lt. Korry Leverett said engineers already have drawn up plans for the work. Construction bids are required to be awarded to contractors by mid-June. Brett Doney, president of the Great Falls Development Authority, said Tuesday that ‘these projects come at a particularly important time and will help jump-start local construction during the recession.’" [AP, 3/25/09