One wonders what governors throughout the country who say they don't want the federal money made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (or stimulus package) are thinking. Well Texas has one of those governors.
Facing a budget shortfall of anywhere between $3-$10 billion, Governor Rick Perry is taking a proud stand and picking and choosing his way through the stimulus package. Perry, who earlier simply called stimulus package a bad bill, is now shedding some of the bluff and bluster in order to get highways and bridges fixed. But, in order to show this deficit loving-spend happy-Democratic President and Democratic Majority Congress just who's who and what's what, he is contemplating rejecting increased unemployment benefits for those Texans who have lost their jobs! That'll show 'em Gov! After all that at the end of e year when those increased benefits run out, Texas would be on the hook to continue to pay people who have lost their jobs, (many through no fault of their own ) a whole extra $25 a week, then where would we be!
The Texas unemployment rate, which hit an all time low of 4.1% in March of last year, hit 6% by December 2008. That is significantly, as well as significantly below the nations 7.2% unemployment figure.
In a letter to President Obama, Governor Perry said that Texas gives more money to the federal government than it receives. But one of the reasons that is true is because Texas leaves more money on the table when it comes to federal money than nearly any other state. Over the past 10 years, for instance, Texas has failed to take advantage of nearly $1 billion in SCHIP (State Childrens Health Insurance Program) funding. That money doesn't just evaporate into the ether; it is used by other states. In 2003, because Texas failed enroll at least 75% of those eligible for food stamps, it lost more than 800 million federal dollars. With these being part of the reason for Texas' returning more money than it receives to Washington, it seems odd that we should boast about it!
Now, Texas has another bragging right: "the nation's broken economy isn't hurting us as much as some other parts of the country. We see no reason to put another $25 in the pockets of 6% the workers who helped make our economy so strong."
And how should those, unemployed workers feel about our Governor's largess? "...people living in Texas are a heckuva lot better than the vast majority of the other ones..."
Gee, thanks Governor! We all feel alot better now.