St. Louis Public Radio News
4:58 am
Tue January 6, 2009

Groups rally for quick action on stimulus

St. Louis, MO – About 100 members of St. Louis-area unions and community action groups called the offices of Missouri Senators Kit Bond and Claire McCaskill Tuesdsay, demanding quick approval of President-elect Barack Obama's proposed stimulus package.

Most news accounts put the size of the package at about $775 billion. It will likely include some tax cuts and money for infrastructure projects.

Congressional budget estimates due out on Friday could show the US deficit above $1 trillion for the first time. That does not include the cost of the stimulus package.

But rally organizer Martin Rafanan, the executive director of Gateway Homeless Services, says deficit reduction should be addressed later.

"We can do this if we bring ourselves together, find new ways to build our industries, and find ways to end our deficit spending," he said. "But you can't do it with a group of people that are hurting at this time."

Spokeswomen for Bond and McCaskill say the Senators support spending on infrastructure, but both want limits on so-called pork-barrel projects. Much of the St. Louis Congressional delegation is also supportive. Governor-elect Jay Nixon plans to be in close contact with the delegation, and consult the private sector.

"I want to make Missouri the state that uses the stimulus dollars as smart as possible," he said.

Missouri is facing a $342 million deficit in the 2009 budget.