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Stimulus foe Biggert supports Naperville's use of funds
By Joseph Ryan | Daily Herald Staff
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Published: 10/28/2009 12:01 AM

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U.S. Rep. Judy Biggert, a Hinsdale Republican, voted against President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus plan, but is applauding spending $10.9 million of it in Naperville to upgrade the city's public utility.

Biggert, however, has not changed her mind on stimulus spending, said spokesman Zachary Cikanek. She just likes the project being funded, he said.

"This was a worthy initiative that she thought did have a strong potential to help create green jobs," Cikanek said.

Biggert has long decried the stimulus plan as a waste of federal tax dollars that would do little to create new jobs. As unemployment rates have continued to rise since it was approved early this year, Biggert has sent out a steady stream of news releases criticizing the current economic policies under Democrats, including the stimulus package.

Earlier this month Biggert said Democratic policies had "failed" in response to the unemployment rate reaching 9.8 percent nationally.

"It's long past time for Congress to reject the big-spending approach to recovery that has clearly failed to stimulate job growth or ease the financial burden on struggling families," she said in a news release. "Congress needs to get its financial house in order, rein in wasteful spending, and enact the sorts of targeted policies that will start creating jobs today."

The $10.9 million in federal tax dollars going to the city of Naperville will be used pay for more than 57,000 smart energy meters and revamp grid technology at the public utility.

The money is coming from a $3.4 billion stimulus line item aimed at transitioning utilities to a more diversified and efficient electricity grid. Obama announced the recipients of the tax dollars at a solar energy plan in Florida Tuesday.

Cikanek said Biggert believed the stimulus measure wasted too much money on projects that would not spur job growth.

"On balance, it was definitely a poor piece of legislation," he said, adding that the Naperville project was "just one initiative of very many and she continues to believe that (the stimulus package) could have been much more targeted and much more effective."