Friday, March 13, 2009

Texas Governor Says No Thanks

Rick Perry, governor of Texas, said no thanks to the federal government's proposed influx of $550 million for the state's unemployment fund.

According to the Dallas Morning News:

Gov. Rick Perry, joining a handful of his fellow Southern Republican leaders, said Thursday that he was rejecting $556 million in federal stimulus money for unemployed Texans because it had too many strings attached.
Texas is one of the few states in the country that has a balanced budget, as well as an unemployment rate lower than the national average: 6.4 percent vs 8.1 percent.

Perry said the federal provisions would require unprecedented changes in state rules on who is eligible for unemployment payments. He also argued that the funds – which Democrats say would update benefits so that more women, elderly and student workers could qualify – would place additional burdens on businesses, leaving them to pay the added costs when the federal money ran out.

Instead, businesses should be able to use the money to create jobs, Perry said.

"That is why I am so concerned about the belief that has gained a foothold in our national consciousness that the best and only way to solve our nation's problems is to drown them with taxpayer dollars," said Perry, announcing his decision at a Houston hardware store.
Democrats in the state legislature are going to try to over-ride the governor, but will need two-thirds votes to be successful.

I find it interesting that Texas, a republican-led state since the early 1990s, when compared to my home-state of Michigan, a democrat-led state, has a much lower unemployment rate and has a budget surplus. In January 2009, Michigan had an 11.6 percent unemployment rate, nearly twice that of Texas. (And yes, we even have car plants here too.)

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