The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal Editorial, 2/9/9

Fevered debate over the proposed $900 billion federal economic stimulus package has created heated engagement from everybody involved, including those elected officials who would administer and guide funds at the state level.

Gov. Barbour ignited sharp criticism this week when he suggested he might not accept a part of the $2.6 billion Mississippi is estimated to receive under the stimulus plan passed in the U.S. House, because of strings attached to the money, including required unemployment insurance for part-time workers.

No one knows for sure how much Mississippi eventually could receive because debate continues. Many senators, including Mississippi Republicans Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker, say they want more focus on creating jobs immediately and raise questions about the ultimate costs of the plan. Those questions, in the context of debate, are fair, necessary and could add to the public’s understanding of a complex and costly bill.

Barbour’s apparent hesitation stirred many legislators to say they would seek to bypass the governor and accept funds when the money begins to flow from Washington to the states.