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By not applying for federal stimulus dollars to create local jobs, San Diego County missed out on between $11 million and $18 million, according to an estimate from the Center on Policy Initiatives, a local think tank that advocates for low-income and middle-class workers.

To come up with that number, analyst Jason Everitt took the populations and unemployment rates of the counties that received the federal funds and determined where San Diego County’s population and unemployment rate rank in relation.

As we reported this week, Los Angeles received $62 million for the subsidized jobs program, Santa Clara received $9 million, and Fresno received $4.3 million.

Everitt called the refusal of the estimated $11-$18 million an “inexcusable mistake.” The county’s unemployment rate in May was 10 percent.

The estimated loss is hypothetical, since the county didn’t apply for the funds. Not all counties would be as poised as L.A. or San Francisco to take advantage of or request as many dollars for such a program, since some (like San Diego) would be starting the program from scratch. There’s also variation from county to county in terms of the size of the budget and workforce to administer the welfare program.

But even with these caveats, Everitt believes San Diego could’ve created thousands of local jobs by applying for the funds.

“It is patently offensive what the county is doing to willfully reject funds at the moment of ultimate suffering for San Diego County,” Everitt said.

— KELLY BENNETT

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