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More Governors Questioning Stimulus

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This week more state governors are looking skeptically at the stimulus bill and considering rejecting some of the funding because of obligations attached to it which they fear will result in budget-busting debt once the federal money runs out.

Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Buth Otter of Idaho, Sarah Palin of Alaska and Mark Sanford of South Carolina who came out against unfunded mandates in the stimulus plan last week. This week they’ve been joined by Bob Riley of Alabama, Phil Bradesen of Tennessee, Mike Beebe of Arkansas, Sonny Purdue of Georgia. That’s a total of 10 governors, mostly in the south and west who have expressed concerns and are considering their options in opposing the stimulus plan.

The source of their concern is that the stimulus bill only includes enough federal funding to cover the expanded unemployment requirements for a limited period. It provides 100% compensation through May of 2010 and an expanded amount for 50-50 matching funds through September of 2010, limited to a total appropriation of $400 million. After that the expanded duration of benefits, the additional $25 per week and the rules allowing for easier qualification remain in force, but the federal funding ends. It could even end earlier if the allocated money is used up. Either way, by the fall of 2010 states which participate will be paying considerably more out of their budgets. Or more realistically they will pass the cost on to businesses in the form of higher state unemployment taxes taken out of the payroll tax, so that the burden of “stimulus” will fall most heavily on already threatened small businesses and entrepreneurs.

How much of a burden this will place on the states and on businesses is unclear. If unemployment levels continue to grow it could be devastating, but even if unemployment were to return to 2007 levels, the changes in the rules would create a larger obligation than states were funding at that time, so they’d still be on the hook for some additional money. The complaint of many state governors is that this is basically an attempt by some of the states which passed their own unemployment expansion bills in the past to transfer the cost of their programs to the other states through the use of the federal mandate.

This issue of fiscally responsible and relatively economically stable states underwriting the problems of states which overspend and have weak economies goes beyond just unemployment. Most of the states which are complaining have only small and manageable budget deficits or are even likely to have budget surpluses. They feel that they can take care of their own unemployed on their own terms without outside mandates. Some, like Texas, also regularly pay more money in federal taxes than they receive back in federal benefits, so their taxes are underwriting the fiscal problems of other states. When you live in a state which has a balanced budget and manages to keep taxes and spending relatively low, it’s pretty troubling to see other states with out of control spending getting your money from the federal government to finance their irresponsibility.

Like all elected officials, Governors have an obligation to the voters and taxpayers of their states. An important part of that is developing and passing responsible budgets. Every year additional mandates from the federal government make that job more difficult. At some point a line has to be drawn, and for many governors the stimulus bill seems to be the straw that broke the camel’s back.

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About Dave Nalle

  • Lumpy

    Viva la revolucion!

  • Doug Hunter

    It’s a valiant gesture, but meaningless. The feds have the states by the balls. The states can take the tainted money or not, but either way their citizens paying for it.

    On another note I’m sick of that lefty talking point asking why, if you’re opposed to government spending, you take it when it comes your way. Simple answer: you’re going to be burdened with paying for the garbage either way, the best choice for your constituents is to get some of the benefits they’re paying for.

    It’d be awesome if we could take this opportunity to do a little experiment. What if the feds gave the states the option to either receive the stimulus or cut income taxes for their citizens an amount equal to their share of the spending? We could see the spending vs cuts results side by side and gather alot more data on what works.

  • Clavos

    Neat idea, Doug. No way the dems will go for it, though.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    The amounts are a very tiny fraction of the stimulus bill. Even these self-important, look-at-me-I’m-a-hero governors are not politically tone-deaf enough to turn down the vast majority of the funds. [In the case of Louisiana, less than 3% of the total is at issue.]

    Just enough to make some headlines and give our frustrated conservative friends a tiny bone to salivate over.

    Of course it’s also enough to cause pain to the unemployed in these mostly poor states. But they don’t count, right? You can put all the spin on it you want to, this is a disgusting show of political theatrics performed at the expense of the needy in a time of crisis.

    Shameful.

  • Clavos

    Yawn.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Careful, Clavos, the depth of your compassion is showing.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    Next up from Dave, I assume, is the dire threat to our civil rights posed by Eric Holder’s bringing up the possibility of a renewal of the assault weapons ban today.

    It’s funny that I managed to get through the 1994-2004 run of the original ban without feeling a bit threatened by it.

    Although there were a few actual threats to civil rights that reared their head toward the end of that period. You know, warrantless wiretapping, detention without charges, torture. Little things like that.

  • STM

    The Reds are-a-comin’

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    A reduction in unemployment numbers are part and parcel to the Stim package. The 2 year time period was set in anticipation of such a reduction. Should that not happen it is more than likely that the whole thing would be revisited and changes could be made extending federal monies further in time. None of this stuff is carved in stone.

    handy is correct as regards the comparatively small portion of the Stim package that involves unemployment benefits. It does amount to grandstanding by these supposedly heroic governors. The only real losers are the unemployed. Obviously, that is of little concern so long as the governors get some press and a few national recognition points. There’s gotta be priorities, after all.

    Indiana has not been so badly affected economically as some states – relatively speaking, at any rate. However, Mitch Daniels, our Rep governor has flatly stated he has no intention of turning down ANY federal money. He has voiced his concerns about the Stim bill, but neither is he stupid.

    Daniels has been mentioned by some as a possible national candidate down the road, although he disavows interest in any elected office beyond guber. He certainly has a lot more on the ball than either Bobby Jindal or the “milkwhite wolf hunter,” Ms. Palin.

    While I don’t agree with some of Daniel’s positions, – he IS a conservative – I actually like the guy. He’s smart, innovative and capable of self-deprecation. I voted for him along with Dick Lugar because they both have proven to be intelligent, knowledgable, and not stuck in the rut of right wing ideology.

    The one thing I wouldn’t look to Daniels for is “hair tips.” I think he went to the Terry Bradshaw School of Extreme Combovers.

    BTW – I thought Jindal was supposed to be one of the new “shining lights” of the Rep party. His performance last evening was amateurish at best – as if he was having difficulty reading his cue cards – and his comments appeared to be absolutely tone deaf to what Obama had to say. Jindal was apparently chosen as a sacrificial lamb for the party, sent out to provide a buzz kill against Obama. I don’t think it worked.

    B

  • Doug Hunter

    “The only real losers are the unemployed.”

    Why? Loads of studies have shown that increased unemployment benefits only lead to longer periods of unemployment with no improvement in post unemployment job quality. In other words, people don’t look as hard for jobs when they know they’re getting paid to do nothing and when they do get a job it’s no better than what they would have got with less time off.

    Those studies were not done in a recession of the kind we’re in now though.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    Odd. My earlier comment here seems to have disappeared.

    The amounts are a very tiny fraction of the stimulus bill. Even these self-important, look-at-me-I’m-a-hero governors are not politically tone-deaf enough to turn down the vast majority of the funds. [In the case of Louisiana, less than 3% of the total is at issue

    Yes, they will probably eventually give up. But they have a point to make so they are making it. It’s a valid point and they are to some extent heroes for being willing to make it. Believe me, a LOT of people out here see them that way. It may be symbolic, but it’s important.

    Of course it’s also enough to cause pain to the unemployed in these mostly poor states. But they don’t count, right? You can put all the spin on it you want to, this is a disgusting show of political theatrics performed at the expense of the needy in a time of crisis.

    I think Texas and Georgia would be deeply offended to be called “poor” states. Compared to most of the “blue” states they are remarkably well off as far as things like low unemployment and decent living conditions. And ALL of these states have lower unemployment than truly troubled states in the midwest. In reality these are states which are relatively unaffected by the recession thus far, and are trying to reduce the damage done by Obama’s efforts.

    Next up from Dave, I assume, is the dire threat to our civil rights posed by Eric Holder’s bringing up the possibility of a renewal of the assault weapons ban today.

    Actually, I’m far more concerned about the effort to implement universal gun registration which is pending in congress.

    It’s funny that I managed to get through the 1994-2004 run of the original ban without feeling a bit threatened by it.

    If you don’t own an assault weapon you really don’t have a right to an opinion. Hell, you probably shouldn’t even be allwoed to vote if you don’t own a gun.

    Although there were a few actual threats to civil rights that reared their head toward the end of that period. You know, warrantless wiretapping, detention without charges, torture. Little things like that.

    Ah, your usual strawmanery and fallacious logic. So because one civil rights violation is tolerated they should all be tolerated? Next you’ll be advocating locking conservatives up in camps.

    Dave

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    “Hell, you probably shouldn’t even be allwoed to vote if you don’t own a gun.”

    You may presume that he’s not kidding.

    “Next you’ll be advocating locking conservatives up in camps.”

    No, just workhouses.

    Actually, that would be a very good idea for anyone or any group of people actually considering the establishment of workhouses. Set them up, and then go live in them and work just as those for whom the workhouses are intended for maybe 6 months or so. It might be useful for them to take the medicine they prescribe just to see how it goes down. Of course, I don’t know that there is anyone beyond Dave promoting such an idea. So, maybe it would just be Dave. Tote that barge, Dave. Lift that bale, Dave.

    I hardly count any of the governors who have said they will refuse Stim money as heros. Where’s the risk? I don’t think political opportunism is heroic.

    The “damage” that Obama will wreak will likely be an improved economy, less joblessness, less government waste, a more balanced budget and a reduced deficit.

  • Cindy

    lol @ b

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/scott_deitche Scott Deitche

    Florida will be happy to take any infrastructure money that these other governors pass on. Oh wait, they aren’t passing on the infrastructure money after all.

    In the words of the great Lemmy, “hypocrisy made paramount”

  • Hope and Change?

    Somthing is wrong here…

    1.If the Scamulus bill could have PAID off 90% of all US mortgages, and

    2. This years budget will cost every tax payer $25, 573.48 This year…

    3. The budget has $1 Trillion in new taxes

    Hmmmm so the average working stiff…

    a. gets $13 per week…

    b. those with the most expendable income income, you know the ones with buy new cars employ people, buy homes, boats, etc. are getting BIG tax increases…

    c. The biggest expansion in job creation is with the most undeproductive overpaid MOST expensive…government employees…

    Is this a business model that you woul invest in? Governors who arent questioning this plan are either Democrats or just real stupid and should be voted out of offiice…

    H&C…

  • http://www.joannehuspek.wordpress.com Joanne Huspek

    I love the commercial that says we could spend a million dollars a day since 1 AD and we’d still need more years to add up to the stimulus package.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    people don’t look as hard for jobs when they know they’re getting paid to do nothing and when they do get a job it’s no better than what they would have got with less time off.

    Dearest Doug:

    I have been out of work since the end of August. My full-time job in the ensuing six months has been to find a job. To say the least, it is a rather tough market out there. I am grateful for unemployment benefits — not even enough to cover my rent, by the way — but I will be very glad when I don’t need to receive them any more.

    I’m not sure which is the worse problem, your heartlessness or your ignorance. Whichever it is, your continued comments along this line, based almost entirely on your personal prejudices, are deeply repugnant. Please use your brain for a few seconds before adding even more hurtful words to your previous little nuggets.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    We would? Then we haven’t been doing it right!

    ;-)

  • Hope and Change?

    Handyguy…really???

    “I have been out of work since the end of August (was probably fired for abusing company internet priveledges). My full-time job in the ensuing six months has been to find a job…really???

    What the F.CK are you doing blogging all day with you silly left wing drivel? You aint gonna find a job here…

    Doug is right..the week before unemployment runs out a miracle will happen and you will find a job…geessshhh…

    I forgot you are one of those folks who voted for Barry because believing he would pay your mortgage, heal the sick and get you a job…

    Stop BLOGGING, get off your ass and knock on some doors!!!

    Handyguy you are a great example of the entitlement and victim mentaility that has put King Barry in the Whitehouse… rather tha work hard some would rather than take from the hard workers…

  • Baronius

    So, the cost of the new unemployment laws is trivial, but it’d be catastrophic if the money weren’t accepted? That’s what you people are saying. If Jindal takes the money it won’t matter but if he doesn’t, thousands will die.

    Baritone, I made a couple of comments about Jindal and his response on the “How We Got Here” thread. I’d be curious about your opinion.

  • http://handyfilm.blogspot.com handyguy

    H&C, to quote a famous American, Have you no shame, sir? At long last, have you no shame?

    You step over the line and give deliberate offense quite often. Hint: This doesn’t make you cool.

    But this is as far into personal assault as I’ve ever seen you go.

    Very low, bud, to kick a man when he’s down.

    I can take it, but I hope it provides whatever evidence anyone else here may need concerning exactly what you are.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Bar,

    I think I found your Jindal comments over on that thread. There was (is) a lot going on there what the the Roger drama and all.

    I agree with you concerning the rebuttal. I’ve long felt it to be a lose/lose situation. Whoever gets the rather daunting task of rebutting a speech like the SotU is given a thankless job. They invariably seem lame.

    In fact, Jindal may have had at least a look at some of Obama’s speech – at least an outline or highlights or some such. There were no surprises in the rebuttal – it was all pretty much the stock Rep positions. I thought the opening was a bit lame – his “story.” And to have referred to the government’s handling of the Katrina disaster was rather bizarre. I’ve also heard that his recounting of his encounter with the sheriff regarding the releasing of the boats has been brought in question in that Jindal was supposedly in Baton Rouge on the day in question. The details can’t really be brought into question because the sheriff is dead.

    As I noted, I just thought his delivery was poor – almost sing/songy. Dave has stated his disbelief that anyone thought of Jindal as being a “de facto” party leader. I really don’t know. His credentials are no more nor less impressive than those of one Ms. Palin.

    I just don’t understand what the Reps are doing. There are a number of strong characters in the GOP who could provide a lot better leadership than most who have gained the spotlight in recent months. It seems to me that they are currently appealing to the far right wing of the party and ignoring the rest. I suppose it will take some time for the Reps to get things back into some semblance of order. I have little doubt that they will regain their focus in time for the midterm elections in 2010.

    B

  • http://blogcritics.org/writer/dan_miller Dan(Miller)

    Dave says, The source of . . . [the governors’] concern is that the stimulus bill only includes enough federal funding to cover the expanded unemployment requirements for a limited period. I understand and share their concern.

    However, I wonder whether anyone has plowed through the stimulus package to determine what other unfunded or underfunded Federal mandates may be lurking.

    Dan(Miller)

  • Doug Hunter

    “I’m not sure which is the worse problem, your heartlessness or your ignorance.”

    Again, I can link you to multiple studies demonstrating exactly what I posted. Lengthening unemployment benefits doesn’t help people find better jobs, but it does lengthen the time people remain unemployed. It is actually counterintuitive as I suspected there would be some net benefit to increased time to land the next job.

    Those are just facts. If it causes some cognitive dissonance or pushes you into lefty fem mode with full on namecalling and heartfelt stories so be it. I’m speaking the old language of logic and facts, and your talking the new world of feelings. Relax, you won. I’m going to pay extra taxes so you can have more time to find your job. Congratulation.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Congratulation.

    Cutting back owing to the state of the economy, Doug?

    ;-)

  • Baronius

    Baritone, what the Republicans are going through is perfectly normal. When one strategy fails, they try something else. When they go moderate and lose, they veer to the right. When they go conservative and lose, they…oh wait, they never lose when they go conservative.

  • Lumpy

    Doug. you’re going to py more whether you buy his sob story or not. Rational people no longer have a say in our government.

  • http://www.indyboomer46.blogspot.com Baritone

    Bar,

    Well, there’s a first time for everything. Last nite the Northwestern Basketball team won at IU’s Assembly Hall for the first time EVER over the 32 year life of the arena. So all good things yada, yada, yada… The midterm elections seems like good opportunity for the failure of Republican conservatives.

    B

  • Maurice

    Jobs are hard to come by but it depends on what you are willing to do. One of my sons got out of jail on Monday and now has 2 part time jobs.

  • http://www.republicofdave.com Dave Nalle

    After reading the comments in email I thought I’d stop by to see if anything H&C wrote survived.

    Dave

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I missed the fun, but judging by the time gap I’m guessing Maurice’s news set him off.

    His leash has been shortened still more.

  • STM

    What have I missed. Did someone finally extinguish the dull and imming light on H&C’s one remaining brain cell?

  • STM

    Ah, make that “dimming”.

    Lol … Maurice’s comment. Classic.

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Yep. That’s great news, Maurice, after all you’ve been through with them. Best of luck to your son.

  • STM

    Has Maurice had dramas with his boys?

    If so, he’s not Robinson Crusoe.

    Geez, young blokes can be a handful. Hopefully, they grow out of it and wake up to themselves.

    After all that, and expecting some respite, I’m now going through absolute hell with my unbelievably rebellious teenage youngest daughter, who has gone from goody-two-shoes to playing up deluxe in the space of a year.

    MySpace, phone texting and MSN might have something to do with it. They all fire each other up.

  • Baronius

    Actually, Maurice was indirectly on H&C’s side. So is this the end for H&C?

  • Hope and Change?

    Baronius….

    You don’t understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let’s face it.

    H&C….No I am still here!!

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Alas…

  • Hope and Change?

    Just an oberservation…

    Some of the people who attacked and accused me of being an unemployable, smelly person blogging from a free computer in the public library are…um…probably…um…er…you know…

    An unemployable, smelly person blogging from free computers in the public library!

    Just sayin…

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    Just goes to show you shouldn’t talk about yourself, especially when you have low self-esteem.

  • Hope and Change?

    Dr…I suffered from low self esteem for years…then I quit my HUD job and found out that I could actually be a productive memeber of society!

    Thanks!

  • Cindy

    Yes. H&C…ummm…we can see that. [Personal attack deleted by Comments Editor]

  • http://drdreadful.blogspot.com Dr Dreadful

    I still can’t figure out why H&C thinks that:

    a) I work for HUD
    b) I’m a Democrat.

  • Baronius

    Am I the only one who found comment #39 hilarious?

  • Hope and Change?

    I know Handyguy did!!

  • kong

    doug, get some rest.

  • Zedd

    Clav and Doug,

    Where were you with the neat ideas when Bush was killing the nation while your party was promoting prayer in school, the flag, eagles, picking fights with sovereign nations, making us the laughing stock of the world, destroying the UN (and lying through their teeth), and declaring the war a mission accomplished when it was only beginning.

    Any who…