Off To Kokomo

On Tuesday, President Obama and Vice President Biden go to Kokomo, Indiana, where they will tout gains under the controversial economic stimulus law. The White House issued the following “background” press release on the Obama-Biden trip.  You can review the Obama Administration claims and leave your own review of the stimulus.

The White House
Office of the Press Secretary


22, 2010





Tuesday, November 23, 2010, President Obama and Vice President Biden will take
their White House to Main Street Tour to Kokomo, Indiana, a community that is
turning the corner, in part as a result of innovative investments from the
American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, as well as the Obama Administration’s
auto industry restructuring plan. Kokomo is leveraging opportunities from the
Recovery Act to not only provide much-needed economic relief for middle class
families, but to invest in new, sustainable industries and technologies. During
the visit, the President and Vice President Biden will visit Indiana
Transmission, a Chrysler plant in Kokomo. 




Obama last visited Kokomo, Indiana in April 2008.  As part of that visit,
he held a town hall meeting where he discussed recent layoffs in the community
and called for new investments in clean energy, manufacturing and education to
help bring secure, well-paid jobs to places like Kokomo.   


recent years, Kokomo, a midsized industrial town in north central Indiana, was
hard-hit by devastating plant closings and layoffs.  In late 2007, Kokomo
Sanitation Pottery closed, laying off nearly 100 workers.  And when
Chrysler laid off over 11,000 workers nationwide in 2007, Kokomo lost even more
jobs.  In mid-2008, hundreds of manufacturing jobs were lost at the local
Delphi plant.  By the end of 2008, Kokomo had been labeled one of
“America’s Fastest Dying Towns” because of the sharp decline in local manufacturing
and auto jobs.  Unemployment hit over 20 percent in 2009, making Kokomo’s
one of the highest unemployment rates in the country. 


the help of the Recovery Act and the Administration’s auto restructuring plan,
along with smart investments by the mayor that subsequently leveraged
additional private capital, Kokomo is on the rebound today. Unemployment is
down nearly 8 percent to 12 percent as of September 2010 and the downtown has
experienced significant revitalization.  Kokomo is a key example of how
federal government investments, when used wisely, can work together to impact
an entire community.


Mayor Greg Goodnight was able to leverage hundreds of thousands of dollars in
Recovery Act funds to help revitalize the downtown.  Since then, about a
dozen new small businesses have opened in downtown Kokomo over the last year.


city also significantly benefited from auto restructuring.  According to
recent press coverage, “without the federal auto bailout, many feel 3,500
workers in Kokomo would have lost their jobs.”  And according to the
Mayor, Chrysler’s presence in the city helps them generate about $18 million a
year in property taxes.  Had Chrysler gone under, the city would have
suffered an enormous economic setback.


has received more than $8.4 billion in Recovery Act funds. As a result, the
Council of Economic Advisors estimates that the Recovery Act is already
responsible for 71,000 jobs in Indiana through September 2010. To
date, more than $6.2 billion of this funding has been spent. These dollars and
awards to come will continue to support even more jobs in Indiana in the months




the steps the President took, Chrysler would have liquidated resulting at least
a million jobs lost for workers across the country, including in Kokomo. Now,
just over a year later, Chrysler is returning to profitability, hiring workers,
keeping plants open. And because of the steps the Administration has taken with
Cash for Clunkers and the Recovery Act, the industry overall is strengthening –
including America’s auto dealers.


Chrysler plant the President and Vice President will visit in Kokomo on Tuesday
received a $343 million private investment in June 2010 to retool and modernize
its Kokomo transmission plant, which has helped to retain more than 1,000
workers this year for the production of a future eight-speed automatic
transmission. According to the Kokomo Tribune, Chrysler has recently recalled
400 employees that were previously laid off as a result.


new report, released last week by the Center for Automotive Research in Ann
Arbor, Michigan, estimates that the President’s efforts saved over 1.14 million
jobs overall, and averted $28.6 billion in costs to the government.  Over
the past year and a half, the auto sector has rebounded: industry employment
has increased nearly 10 percent, and each of the big three – Ford, General
Motors, and Chrysler – is operating at a profit.




the Kokomo area has received over $400 million in direct Recovery Act
for a variety of programs and projects. These projects represent
vital investments in the local community, including:


·       Delphi Automotive, a Michigan based
company, was awarded over $89 million from the Department of Energy to
expand manufacturing capacity of passenger and commercial hybrid vehicles
components. The “new” Delphi, with the help of the Recovery Act, is beginning
to manufacture circuit boards that control hybrid vehicles, otherwise known as
the “brains of a hybrid vehicle.”

Recovery Act is responsible for nearly 60 jobs to date at Delphi and in
total will enable the company to retain and hire nearly 200 additional workers
as production of the hybrid vehicles parts ramp up over the next several years.

currently supplies power electronics components such as inverters, chargers,
and DC/DC converters to production hybrid vehicles from manufacturers, such as
GM, Ford, Daimler, and BMW. 

a result of this grant, Delphi already has agreed to supply power electronics
to GM, Allison Transmission, and Coda Automotive.

began in July and Delphi began shipping products to customers in August.


·       In his July 4, 2010
radio address, President Obama announced a conditional offer of $400 million
from the Department of Energy’s 1705 loan guarantee program for Colorado-based
thin film solar PV manufacturer Abound Solar. Abound will use
nearly $300 million of the loan guaranteed to open a new plant in an
empty Chrysler supplier factory just 20 miles outside of Kokomo, in Tipton,
IN.  Construction will begin on the Tipton plant in early 2012 and Abound
plans to hire 900 workers at the plant once it’s up and running. 
The loan, which is expected to close by the end of the year, will not only
enable Abound drive additional economic activity across the industry and down
the supply chain, but will also help establish U.S. leadership in cutting edge
solar technology around the world.  The project represents the first time
new manufacturing technology for Cadmium-Telluride panels is deployed
commercially anywhere in the world.  Ninety percent of Abound’s product is
being exported abroad to places like Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom.


·       Kokomo Mayor
Goodnight is using $214,600 in Energy Efficient Conservation Block
Grant (EECBG)
funds from the Department of Energy to install
energy-efficient lighting in Foster Park, along Kokomo’s “Walk of Excellence”
and to retrofit parts of City Hall. This funding is contributing to the
revitalization in downtown Kokomo that has helped to lure nearly a dozen new
small businesses in the last year.


·       In addition to the
new lighting downtown, the City is also replacing sidewalks and curbs
throughout neighborhoods in Kokomo with $265,700 in Community
Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding from the Department of Housing and Urban
Development.  HUD also provided over $1 million from in Public
Housing Capital Funds to improve and modernize various public and low-income
housing developments in Kokomo. The Kokomo Housing Authority reported hiring 5
new workers
and retaining 38 additional workers as a direct result
of the Recovery Act.


·       Mayor Goodnight was
also able to hire 5 new police officers with over $1 million from
the Justice Department’s Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.
DOJ also provided $200,000 in Byrne Justice Assistance Grant funds to
the City of Kokomo.


·       Howard County,
where Kokomo is located received over $17 million in Recovery Act
funding from the Department of Transportation, including:

$11.4 million for the Kokomo Bypass (Route 31), which is
being use to improve and realign the highway and upgrade several bridges along
the route. This section of roadway is part of a $345million, 14-mile
project that is part of the Indiana Governor’s Major Moves program. The
Recovery Act-funded section of the bypass project is 95 percent complete. The
contractor is Primo, Inc., and the project has created approximately 49 jobs
to date.

Over $2 million to rehabilitate Dixon Road and
add additional travel lanes.  This major local project is still underway,
even though construction has ended for the season.

Over $1 million for other resurfacing projects including
18 locations on Routes 400N, 750W, and 100N in Howard County, all of which were
finished in late 2009.  

o   Over $1 million from the Federal
Transit Administration to purchase and renovate an existing building in
downtown Kokomo to be used for both for transit operations for the City’s paratransit
system, the Spirit of Kokomo, and for the administration of the local
metropolitan planning organization (MPO). The project is halfway completed, and
created 34 jobs last quarter.


·       The Department of
Education provided the Kokomo-Center Township Consolidated School Districts
with over $12 million in Recovery Act funding, including:

Over $5 million in State Fiscal Stabilization Funds (SFSF)
to fill budget gaps;

Nearly $5 million in IDEA funding for students with

$1.7 million to expand Kokomo’s existing Head Start and
Early Head Start programs; and

Over $1.5 million in Title I funds to improve schools
in the district.


·       The Department of
Education also provided $1 million in Pell Grants to colleges and
universities in Kokomo to increase access to higher education.

30,000 students in Indiana are benefiting from increased Pell Grants as
a result of the Recovery Act.

total includes approximately 125 students in Kokomo alone.


·       The Small Business
Administration (SBA) supported 14 loans for small businesses in the Kokomo area
totaling $7.3 million including:

Gingerbread House Bakery: Lauren Gaines and
her husband received a $140,000 loan through the Recovery Act to purchase the
Gingerbread House Bakery.  Thanks to the Recovery Act loan, they were able
to save about $2,500 in fees.  This loan enabled them to take over the
former donut shop and make it their own.  Since then, business has been
booming. This loan was the only way Lauren and her husband could have started
the business.  They currently have 4 people on their payroll and expect to
expand. The Gingerbread House Bakery has evolved and, while it still
specializes in donuts, it now also makes traditional baked goods, cookies and
cakes on special order and specialty treats during the holidays.  Lauren
reports the bakery has been increasingly busy since opening last December 1st
They expanded the kitchen in April to meet demand and they hope to expand and
build another building in the next six months.

Stephens Machine Inc., which is a Kokomo-based machine
shop that received two SBA loans through the Recovery Act ($487,000 and
$375,000). The company has two local facilities totaling more than 45,000
square feet where they engineer, design and build automated production
machinery, do tool and die work and produce prototypes used for research and
development.  They’ve already reported 12 new jobs as a result of the
Recovery Act loans.

Blondie’s Cookies, which received an $890,000 SBA
loan through the Recovery Act and report creating 30 new jobs as a result of
it. The company was started in 1984 when the owner was a student at
Indiana State University and has 11 locations in malls around Indiana,
including one in Kokomo’s Markland Mall. They hope to add two to three more
locations in Indiana, as well as expanding to other states.

Coldline Manufacturing, which is a
Kokomo-area business that is using an $80,000 Recovery Act SBA loan to revamp
their business plan from manufacturing refrigerated trailers to custom auto
parts and metal fabrication.  As a result of their shift in strategy, they
have been able to hire several new part-time workers and have saved $1,440 in
fees with the loan.




Jobs & Spending



– CEA estimates that 71,000 jobs were created or saved by
the Recovery Act in Indiana through September, 2010.


·       TOTAL SPEND – More than $8.4
billion in Recovery funds has been made available to Indiana – and over $6.2
billion has already been spent.


in Infrastructure


INFRASTRUCTURE: Over $1.3 billion has been obligated for 1320
infrastructure projects
in Indiana, funding 2,400 jobs through September,


TRANSPORTATION – Over $807 million has been
obligated for 1,161 transportation projects in Indiana.


SMALL BUSINESS1,536 Recovery Act SBA-backed small
business loans
have been given to Indiana small businesses, supporting more
than $584 million in lending.


to Individuals


TAX RELIEF – Because of the Making Work Pay tax
credit, 2,400,000 Indiana working families will collectively receive $1.3
billion in tax relief.


Indiana residents have expanded unemployment benefits because of the Recovery


STIMULUS PAYMENTS – More than 1.1 million Indiana
seniors, veterans and other high-need residents have received one-time economic
relief payments of $250, totaling over $295 million.




TEACHERS – More than 4,300 education
were reported as funded by the Recovery Act in Q2 2010 in
Indiana – which has received more than $1 billion in State Fiscal Stabilization
Funds (SFSF).


MEDICAID – The Recovery Act has already made more
than $1.5 billion available to Indiana for Medicaid assistance
The state of Indiana has spent more than $1.1 billion of the available funds.


·       ‘COPS’ PROGRAM:  Law
enforcement agencies in Indiana received over $26.6 million in funding from the
Recovery Act to support 126 police officers’ salaries and benefits for three
years, including 5 officers at the Kokomo Police Department with $1,146,950.