A Creighton University economist says it doesn’t appear the federal economic stimulus package is doing much to lift rural communities out of the recession. Ernie Goss conducts a monthly survey of small town bankers in 11 Midwest states, including Iowa. "None of the bankers, and that’s zero, reported large and significant impacts. In fact, most of the bankers report that the impacts thus far have been none to very, very modest…so, we’re not seeing much of an impact from the stimulus package," Goss said.
The survey also quizzed small town bankers about President Obama’s health care plan. "Almost 70% reported that they did not, definitely did not, support taxing the wealthy to provide health insurance for the uninsured," Goss said. "So there is some real concern about how the new health care plan is funded and where that money comes from."
According to the survey, the bankers’ economic outlook dropped for the second straight month in July and is at its lowest point since March. Goss says that can be blamed in large part on declining crop prices. About one-third of the bank CEOs expect crop income for 2009 to be down significantly from last year. Goss’ Rural Mainstreet Index focuses on nearly 200 rural communities with an average population of 1,300.