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New report details impact of Recovery Act

Caitlin Yoshiko Kandil | 2/15/2011, 10:43 p.m.

Carol Hardy Fanta, director of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy at UMass Boston and one of the coauthors of the study, hopes her research will inspire other reports like it. “In our review of reporting on ARRA spending around the country, this report is the first of its kind,” she said. “It should provide guidance on a number of fronts not only on the Massachusetts R[ecovery and] R[einvestment] O[ffice], but their counterparts across the country.”

Coming on the heels of this research, state Sen. Sonia Chang-Diaz has filed a new bill, “An Act to Create Equitable Job Access,” which would require similar tracking and reporting measures for all publicly funded jobs and contracts. According to the senator, this legislation would ensure greater transparency in the Commonwealth, and would also encourage the hiring of minority and women workers.

The bill has been ranked one of the top priorities of the Black and Latino Legislative Caucus this session.

“It’s great that UMass stepped up to the plate to do this report,” Sen. Chang-Diaz said in a public statement. “But, ultimately, what we want is for community members, advocates, and news outlets to be able to look up the numbers themselves, without having to jump through several hoops to get them and then get them digested by someone else.

“That’s why I filed legislation last month to require fully public reporting — online, quarterly, in user-friendly format — of jobs numbers on all state-funded projects,” she continued. “The idea here is to find out whether contractors are living up to their promises to hire within our communities before a project is over, while we can still do something about it.”