San Diego County turned down federal stimulus money to create jobs for out-of-work, low-income residents this year, one of a small number of California counties to do so.
Under a program lionized by both conservatives and liberals for its successes around the country, the federal government subsidizes local employers, paying all or some of the wages for welfare recipients placed in jobs. The states and counties set up and run the program.
In California, 47 of the 58 counties receive funds for the program. Statewide, the program has created about 20,000 temporarily subsidized jobs. Los Angeles has been awarded $62 million in federal funds. Santa Clara, $9 million. Fresno, $4.3 million.
San Diego, $0. The county was the biggest county that didn’t take advantage of the funds.
“I was shocked to learn that San Diego did not apply,” said Laura Chick, who as inspector general oversees federal stimulus money in California.
“It’s incomprehensible to me that that a large county hit by the recession, with such a problem with foreclosure rates and such high unemployment wouldn’t avail itself of a program that helps people get off welfare rolls and helps businesses by paying employer salaries,” Chick said.