The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, 2/26/9

Gov. Haley Barbour clarified his position on stimulus funds Wednesday, saying that he would accept the federal money that provides an extra $25 per week to people who lose their job.

Barbour and a handful of other Republican governors have made national news by saying they did not plan to accept a portion of the stimulus funds – primarily unemployment compensation.

Barbour has been criticized by House Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, and other Democrats for saying he was rejecting funds that would provide help for people who have lost jobs during the current economic slowdown.

On Wednesday, Barbour said he did not plan to accept a portion of the funds that would require the state to change its law to expand unemployment compensation insurance to part-time employees.

Barbour said that would force the state to increase taxes to fund the program once the federal economic stimulus funds are exhausted in 27 months.

“That is a tax on jobs creation,” Barbour said Wednesday. “…We’re trying to have more jobs — not less jobs.”