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.Democrats in the state legislature are going to try to over-ride the governor, but will need two-thirds votes to be successful.
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.
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.)