States seek billions from bailout package

Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour supports such efforts to help the economy, but he doesn’t want too much federal largesse.

“If Congress decides to do that, I would think that’s an appropriate type of stimulus for public works,” Barbour said. “But I would be very much opposed to the federal government giving states one-time money to use for recurring expenses.”

He doesn’t want Mississippi to get federal funds for programs the state could wind up having to sustain later with its own money.

Much of the national focus in recent weeks has been on Congress bailing out the financially stricken U.S. banking system and the nearly bankrupt automobile industry. A massive infusion of federal funds has been provided to prop up banks. Automobile executives are begging Congress to do the same for car manufacturers.

And, on Monday, leaders of the National Governors Association and National Conference of State Legislatures will outline states’ own current fiscal crises. They’re urging Congress and President-elect Barack Obama to approve legislation to pay for more infrastructure projects and social services for people hurt by the bad economy.

“As many states face mounting budget shortfalls, this will inject immediate relief into states to stabilize their economies and help allay cuts to programs essential to the most vulnerable citizens,” the NGA and NCSL said in a joint statement.

:”Investing in infrastructure provides job creation, longer-term stability and helps ensure the nation’s safety and competitiveness. Since the nation’s infrastructure needs are varied, federal investments should include a broad array of ready-to-go projects, including funds for airports, highways, transit, clean water, sewer and schools.”

Barbour, a Republican, said he supports states getting more federal money for structures built and operated by government.

“Some of them are reasonable – like public works – because those are one-time costs,” he said.

Commercial Dispatch