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State seeks way to pay for stimulus spending bookkeeping

Washington wants a strict accounting of how the states spend their federal economic stimulus cash.

Wisconsin is not sure how much it will cost to administer the $4 billion-plus that's flowing in.

But Nebraska figures it will cost at least $1.2 million to track the money the way the federal government demands.

Nebraska has added people to handle the massive allocations.

But Linda Barth of Wisconsin's administration department says the state Recovery and Reinvestment Office has used existing state resources.

She says she's waiting for guidance from Washington on how the state can recover its administration costs.

Federal grants normally come with the dollars to handle them. But state officials elsewhere say they won't get enough to cover the stringent accounting requirements for the stimulus cash.

If states miss reporting deadlines or if they don't spend the aid quickly enough, they'll lose it.

The Obama administration is trying to avoid situations like the banking bailout and Hurricane Katrina, where billions in federal aid went unaccounted for.

The White House says it's working to help states with the stimulus accounting, and it promises answers soon.