Jindal to refuse some stimulus money
Alexander Burns – Fri Feb 20, 5:10 pm ET
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Friday that he will decline stimulus money specifically targeted at expanding state unemployment insurance coverage, becoming the first state executive to officially refuse any part of the federal government’s payout to states.
In a statement, Jindal, who is slated to give the Republican response to President Barack Obama’s message to Congress on Tuesday, expressed concern that expanding unemployment insurance coverage would lead to increased unemployment insurance taxes later on.
“The federal money in this bill will run out in less than three years for this benefit and our businesses would then be stuck paying the bill,” Jindal said. “We must be careful and thoughtful as we examine all the strings attached to the funding in this package. We cannot grow government in an unsustainable way.”
Jindal is one of a small group of Republican governors, which includes South Carolina’s Mark Sanford and Mississippi’s Haley Barbour, who have said they might refuse some or all of the stimulus money targeted to their states.
In an interview Friday, Barbour said he, too, would likely decline funds for broadening access to unemployment insurance.
“Subject to learning more, my position is that Mississippi won’t accept funds that require us to have a tax increase later, because [they would force] us to change our rules for qualifying for unemployment compensation,” he said.
It is not clear which, if any, other parts of the stimulus funding Republican governors will decline. But initial suggestions that anti-stimulus governors might decline all the funds targeted for their states have faded.
Joel Sawyer, Sanford’s communications director, said the South Carolina governor was still reviewing his options with respect to the stimulus.
“We haven’t made any decisions on any part of the stimulus yet,” Sawyer said.