Opinion

Commentary: San Joaquin Valley is being shorted on stimulus funds

A story in Wednesday's Fresno Bee offers another reminder that the San Joaquin Valley does not get a fair return on the tax dollars that Valley residents send to the federal government, even when stimulus funding is counted into the spending numbers.

Federal spending in the Valley increased by about 6% between fiscal year 2008 and fiscal year 2009, largely because of the stimulus funds.

But the Valley's number is well below the nationwide spending, which increased 16%. If you compare the Valley spending with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's hometown, the gap is enormous. San Francisco had a 66% boost in federal spending between 2008 and 2009, according to Census Bureau reports.

We aren't big fans of earmarks -- or pork spending -- but the federal spending detailed in the latest report is mostly for ongoing programs, such as reimbursement to Medicare providers, Social Security and payments to big federal contractors.

Instead of touting earmarks, we'd rather see the Valley's congressional delegation working together to give Medicare providers in the region more favorable reimbursement rates. That would improve access to health care in the Valley. Many doctors have stopped accepting patients because of reimbursement rates that barely cover costs.

To read the complete editorial, visit www.fresnobee.com.

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