Raised voices in Jackson arguing about parts of the federal economic stimulus carved out for Mississippi indicate there’s partisan fire mixed in the hot rhetoric.
Republican Gov. Haley Barbour says “no” on one side, and many legislators, especially Speaker Billy McCoy, D-Rienzi, and some of his fellow Democrats, say “yes” on the other.
We don’t discount the possibility that some unfunded mandates exist in the 1,200-page stimulus bill, but until hard facts are produced supporting one side or the other we consider the noise more about politics than fiscal responsibility.
Barbour is one of several Republican governors loudly and widely objecting nationwide to parts of the stimulus. Barbour particularly cites provisions that would increase the amount of Mississippi’s unemployment payments by $25 per month for 27 months and expand coverage, at federal expense. Barbour claims the increase eventually would cause Mississippi businesses – which pay a tax to fund the state’s unemployment trust accounts – to pay more.
For the record, some Republican governors, particularly Charlie Crist of Florida and Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, solidly support the stimulus.