A new government report gives Iowa high marks in its handling of federal stimulus dollars. Iowa is expected to receive about $2.5 billion of the more than $700 billion federal stimulus package approved in February.
The U.S. Government Accountability Office is an independent, non-partisan Congressional agency. The G.A.O. is analyzing how 16 states, including Iowa, manage stimulus dollars. Lisa Shames is heading up the agency’s Iowa division.
"We found that Iowa has a foundation of safeguards to help ensure the funds are being spent in the way that they were intended and to minimize the fraud, waste and abuse," Shames said. The G.A.O. report also praises Iowa for setting up an Accountability and Transparency Board.
"We found that there were many good features in place and that bodes well in terms of the Recovery Act dollars and to ensure that they’re going to create the jobs and retain the jobs that the law intended," Shames said. Iowa was chosen as one of the states to analyze because it represents the country’s rural interests.
Shames says Iowa has either allocated or disbursed more than 90% of funds to be used for Medicaid and highway improvements.