The Clarion-Ledger, 3/22/9

Washington wants Mississippi and other states to start spending stimulus money as quickly as possible, but uncertainty over timelines and spending requirements is holding up the process.

Added to the mix are varying deadlines for the money to be spent, along with accountability requirements and the threat of losing funds if the money isn’t spent appropriately or fast enough.

President Obama signed the $787 billion stimulus bill into law more than a month ago, and Mississippi is expected to receive $2.8 billion. Some of the federal rules for spending the money still are being written.

Last week, the state Department of Education received a form to apply for funds, but officials still haven’t received guidance on how the money is to be spent.

“Even though we may get money, we may be in a sort of holding pattern until we know more,” state Superintendent of Education Hank Bounds said.