Above the Fold 04.10.09

Stimulus booty comes home…Texas TIERS dries up…Washington State wants steroids to compete…Stimulus opinions abound online…Minn. has hacking target on its back…Govs. get a dose of reality…

Places like Cumberland, Ill., Imboden, Ark. and Cleveland, Kan. have started receiving the first waves of the stimulus package, the Washington Post reports, and the cities couldn’t be happier. “We were very surprised and very pleased. It will connect our city a little bit more,” says volunteer mayor, Patricia Masterson of Cleveland, Kansas about the town’s new sidewalk system being built with stimulus dollars.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission has again put future rollouts of the Texas Integrated Eligibility and Redesign System (TIERS) on indefinite hold, according to the Associated Press. A 20 percent increase in food stamps since January has created a backlog in the system rendering it slowed to current users and useless to those waiting to come online. “We have a basic bathtub problem here, with an increasing backlog of cases. TIERS cases are flowing like water into a tub, but we’re not draining them quickly enough,” Judy Lugo, president of the Texas State Employees Union, said. TIERS has a storied history, one that CivSource will look at in more detail next week.

The Seattle Times is reporting that Governor Christine Gregoire will create a new council to promote aerospace manufacturing in Washington State. A study conducted by Deloitte Consulting assessed the state’s aerospace competitiveness against Kansas, North Carolina, South Carolina and Texas. The report recommends creating the council as well as making several legislative changes like reducing costs of incurred by aerospace companies, like unemployment insurance, workers’ compensation and business taxes.

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning about six states who are asking citizens to chime in about where stimulus dollars should go. llinois, Missouri, New Mexico, New York, Ohio and Virginia have tried to varying degrees to get the public involved over the Internet. The Journal has included some of the more colorful requests, including makeup kits and those just asking the government to do their *&%#@ jobs.

A legislative audit says agency computers in Minnesota are at risk of being hacked, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports. Seven of twelve agencies examined did not have dedicated IT or security staff, according to the report. “Because a security breach at a small agency could expose the state to significant liability or expose other government computer systems to unauthorized access, the state needs to find ways to help small agencies better secure their computer environments,” the report said.

Conservative philosophy gave way to political reality, Politico says, in forcing governors to scale back their expectations of resisting stimulus funds. Govs. Mark Sanford, Bobby Jindal and Sara Palin were aligned in their stance against the stimulus, but “At this point it looks like everybody’s on board with the program,” said Tom Gavin, an OMB spokesman. “What we saw was Gov. Sanford playing chicken and he got run over,” said Hari Sevugan, a spokesman for the Democratic National Committee. The battle for some state legislatures, though, is just starting to get interesting.

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