Tech is still a big winner in the $789 billion compromise economic stimulus plan, the largest stimulus bill ever passed in America. More than $7 billion was allocated to expanding broadband into rural areas and those with limited access, though broadband tax credits – which analysts believe would have most benefited Verizon and AT&T – were cut from the bill. Other than the tax credits, tech was spared from most of the cuts needed for compromise with Congress. $20 billion was allocated for the smart grid, advanced battery technology and energy-efficiency measures, including substantial tax credits for buying plug-in hybrid cars. Another $20 billion will go towards electronic health records.
Up to $23 billion dollars have been allotted to other areas that also involve tech, improving technology in schools, hospitals and government agencies.
Some in Washington are saying that tech is to Obama what oil was to the Bushes, according to the New York Times.
The Times also points out that many of the tech companies that stand to gain from the stimulus bill were big contributors to Obama’s campaign, though the current president’s ties to these companies are more transparent than the former administration’s.
Investment in technology is a major part of the president’s overall economic agenda to “retrofit America for a global economy.”
As the president explained in a January 8 address on the stimulus package, this “means updating the way we get our electricity by starting to build a new smart grid that will save us money, protect our power sources from blackout or attack, and deliver clean, alternative forms of energy to every corner of our nation.
"It means expanding broadband lines across America, so that a small business in a rural town can connect and compete with their counterparts anywhere in the world. And it means investing in the science, research, and technology that will lead to new medical breakthroughs, new discoveries, and entire new industries.”
A final vote on the stimulus package is expected Friday or Saturday. $282 billion of the plan is in tax cuts, $507 billion will be in payments infused into various sectors.
Backers say the bill will create 3.5 million jobs.