Feds to track Georgia's stimulus spending

It's not a bad thing — having a federal agency place Georgia under a microscope on how it spends its federal stimulus money.

It's because so much stimulus money will be coming here.

Georgia is one of 16 states and Washington that the Government Accountability Office will follow over the next few years to see how the money is spent. The agency chose Georgia and the other locations — including California, Florida, North Carolina and Texas — because, all told, they hold two-thirds of the nation's people and will receive two-thirds of the stimulus money.

The GAO issued one evaluation at the end of April. A second will follow in July, said Alicia Cackley, a director in the financial markets and community investment team for the GAO.

Those reviews take a look at what the state is doing to follow the money, but at this point it doesn't compare how the state stacks up against others. It's too early to tell that, Cackley said.

"Everyone is being extremely cooperative," Cackley said about the state's group charged with tracking stimulus dollars. It includes the state auditor and representatives from each of the state agencies.

"We're very happy to work with them," said Bert Brantley, a spokesman for the governor's office.

Stimulus money has already started flowing into Georgia and other states, mostly for health care, education and transportation projects. A number of other agencies, nonprofits and local governments, however, are shoring up ideas in hopes of also receiving some federal money.