Advertisement

Archive for Sunday, February 22, 2009

Governors: Stimulus won’t go very far fixing state problems

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, left, talks to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, right, during the 2009 National Governors Association winter meeting Saturday in Washington.

Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, left, talks to Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty, right, during the 2009 National Governors Association winter meeting Saturday in Washington.

February 22, 2009

Advertisement

— The nation’s governors Saturday welcomed money heading their way from President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, but said it was only a down payment on improving dire fiscal conditions in their states.

Most also played down criticism of the plan by a handful of Republicans, who have said they may reject some of the stimulus funds.

Leaders of most of the 50 states and U.S. territories were attending the three-day winter meeting of the National Governors Association in Washington. The meeting focused on the need for infrastructure improvement, which is expected to absorb much of the stimulus funding directed to states.

Several of the governors were escaping drama in their own states, including California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a Republican who signed the state’s overdue budget last week after a bruising battle with lawmakers over how to plug the state’s mammoth $41 billion budget hole.

Another was newly minted Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn of Illinois, the former lieutenant governor promoted after his predecessor, Democrat Rod Blagojevich, was impeached and removed for trying to sell Obama’s former Senate seat for cash and favors. Friday, Quinn called on Obama’s successor, Roland Burris, to resign after Burris acknowledged he had tried to raise money for Blagojevich, who appointed Burris to the seat.

Yet another, Democrat David Paterson of New York, was trying to beat back criticism for his handling of the choice of a successor for Hillary Rodham Clinton, who resigned her New York Senate seat last month to become Obama’s secretary of state. Paterson chose former Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand, a conservative Democrat, after appearing to snub Caroline Kennedy, another leading contender.

Paterson’s popularity has dropped since the flap, prompting speculation that he could face a primary challenge when he runs for re-election in 2010.

But the federal stimulus money remained the central focus for most governors. Most said it was hardly a bailout and that they were still facing painful cuts to state services.

“We’re not just getting a handout here — we’re doing the heavy lifting,” Vermont GOP Gov. Jim Douglas said. “We’re still making tough cuts in budgets, we’re making changes in some of our programs. We’re doing what we can to live within our means.”

For the most part, governors here downplayed an apparent split in Republican ranks over the stimulus plan, which will send billions to states for education, health care and transportation. Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a likely 2012 presidential contender, has said he would reject a portion of the money aimed at expanding state unemployment insurance.

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour has said he may do so as well, as has South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, the party’s 2008 vice presidential nominee, has also criticized the stimulus but traveled to Washington last month to press for Alaska’s share of the money.

Florida GOP Gov. Charlie Crist, a potential 2012 contender and strong supporter of the stimulus plan, said the criticism leveled by other Republicans wasn’t rooted in politics.

“I don’t know that it’s a partisan issue. It’s different people, different CEOs — governors — who have a different perspective on how it would impact their states,” Crist said in an interview. “I know it has a positive impact on Florida. A lot of that money has been paid to the federal treasury by my fellow Floridians and they deserve to get it back.”

At issue for Jindal and Barbour is a provision in the stimulus bill that could allow people ineligible for unemployment benefits to receive them anyway. That could eventually force a tax increase on employers, both governors have said.

Comments

jasonc_22 5 years, 1 month ago

Calling it the "porkulus" doesn't help anyone take you seriously.

Don't take the money if you don't want it- that's fine. Individual governors have every right to hurt their own states.

I'm glad I've got a governor who isn't going to play partisan politics with this one- we've got a need for the funds that have been approved, so we're going to use them.

http://kansasjackass.blogspot.com

0

madmike 5 years, 1 month ago

One governor was on TV this morning and said that if his state accepts the unemployment portion, his state qould have to either raise taxes or make a new one to cover the funding after the "stimulus" portion ran out. Whenever Washington comes around with a big bag of money for you, you had better look real close for the strings attached.

0

madmike 5 years, 1 month ago

Some estimates are that this "stimulus" bill will cause lang-term problems for the states that accept it. For example, one state requires that if you are able to work and the state finds you a full time job, you must accept it or lose unemployment. This porkulus bill requires that any state that accepts this program, pay ALL, even if they refuse to work. Of course Logrithmic knows everything. He is probably a career student at KU, sucking federal grant after federal grant, while not contributing a damn thing to this country.

0

Chris Ogle 5 years, 1 month ago

scott3460 (Anonymous) says…

“By looking at the photo, a little hanky panky might be in the works.”

Methinks the lady showeth no interest.

Maybe, but don't tell him that. He is on a different street, and U-turns are hard to come by. .

0

scott3460 5 years, 1 month ago

"By looking at the photo, a little hanky panky might be in the works."

Methinks the lady showeth no interest.

0

logrithmic 5 years, 1 month ago

Rightwingers - don't want the bailout money, don't take it. More for those governors who have no problem with actually getting more. Those states run by redneck wackos like Hayley Barbour can eat manure!

Thanks for reading....

God bless.

0

Chris Ogle 5 years, 1 month ago

By looking at the photo, a little hanky panky might be in the works.

0

logrithmic 5 years, 1 month ago

The stimulus is exactly what we need. What we don't need is any more trillion dollar bailouts of rightwing banks - as was so loved by the rightwing and their frat boy fuhrer.

0

Centerville 5 years, 1 month ago

Why didn't the LJW carry coverage of the protest at Dennis Moore's office yesterday. At least 700 people agree with Sebelius: the stimulus bill is the worst kind of public policy and will break much more than it will fix.

0

Commenting has been disabled for this item.