White House reports say Pennsylvania's 5th District will save or gain an estimated 7,500 jobs under the new stimulus plan, with the announcement coming one day after President Barack Obama signed one of the largest recovery bills in American history.
The White House released the "American Recovery and Reinvestment Act: Job Impact by Congressional District" report Tuesday, outlining the expected number of jobs the stimulus will create in national congressional districts.
Pennsylvania's 5th District, comprised of Centre County and 16 others, will see an estimated 7,500 additional jobs created under the plan, according to the report.
However, for state Rep. Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, the celebration should be put on hold until "we can track down the number of jobs actually created."
"It is nice to think that it will come true, but I am cautiously optimistic," Benninghoff said.
He said that in government, officials use the term "job creation" to "window-dress a less appetizing package and make it appealing." He focused on the negative implications of the stimulus: the amount of debt states will potentially acquire.
"This isn't free money being used -- this is bonds and borrowing occurring," Benninghoff said.
Benninghoff said future generations could expect a national debt load of more than $1.6 trillion, and the responsibility of repayment would be placed in the hands of current students.
Congressman Glenn "GT" Thompson, R-Howard, who represents the 5th District at a national level, said he hoped the residents within the county would benefit from the plan's massive spending and tax cuts. But in the end, he shared Benninghoff's apprehensions.
"We are working hard to see exactly how it will fit in and how the 5th District will benefit," Thompson said.
He voted against the bill, citing reckless spending and insufficient tax cuts. Instead, he supported a Republican version of a stimulus package, which he said would have cost about half the amount and created twice as many jobs.
Locally, Centre County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jon Eich said he doesn't know how many jobs will be created, but he believes the county will get a "significant boost" in employment because of one factor: its size.
"It's enough to make sure the economy doesn't retract and unemployment doesn't grow higher," Eich said. "It will be a tremendous benefit to the county, short term and long term."
Eich projected the infrastructure construction field, such as road improvement, will receive the bulk of the new jobs in the 5th District.
But Benninghoff said he was concerned with tracking the jobs that are supposed to be created.
"Everyone says they will create jobs," Benninghoff said, "but I have never seen any tracking of how many actual new jobs -- not transfers -- have been created."