Summary of action taken by governors declining stimulus money

Alaska – Palin has backed off her initial position to turn down $288 million of the nearly $1 billion allotted to her state, including $170 million for schools, $56 million for weatherizing homes and $15.6 million for unemployment, but she is still negotiating the issue with state lawmakers there. “It is possible that there will be areas where the state will not choose to apply for funds,” the former Republican vice-presidential candidate said in her certification letter to the White House. Top Alaskan legislators, including conservatives, have said “they’re likely to accept” at least most of the federal economic stimulus money that Palin does not, The Anchorage Daily News reported.

Alabama – Gov. Bob Riley has turned down $99 million in stimulus money to expand unemployment benefits, saying it would lead to a $17 million tax increase when the federal dollars stop coming. State lawmakers have moved to pass a resolution that could help them accept the funds, The Birmingham News reported.
Louisiana – Jindal has said he will reject $98 million in federal funds to expand unemployment benefits besides $9.5 million for health insurance coverage for people leaving welfare and $58 million for the hospital system. “We will continue to examine fund-specific requirements to ensure that we are not growing government in an unsustainable way,” he wrote in his certification letter to the White House.

Mississippi – Gov. Haley Barbour (R) has said he will refuse $56 million in stimulus money for expanding unemployment benefits because it would cost business owners an additional $16 million each year once the federal government’s money is spent. The state House has passed a resolution to get the money, but the Senate has not.
South Carolina – The White House in a March 31 letter said that only the governor — not the Legislature — can apply for the $700 million from the state “fiscal stabilization fund” that is specifically to help South Carolina avoid cuts in education and public services. Even if Sanford doesn’t apply, Education Secretary Arne Duncan said he would work with Congress to find another way to get the money into South Carolina schools, The Greenville News reported.

Texas – Gov. Rick Perry (R) rejected $555 million in federal stimulus money that would expand state jobless benefits to part-time workers. While Perry will accept other funds from the stimulus, he is opposed to using these funds to expand existing government programs, “burdening the state with ongoing expenditures long after the funding has dried up,” he wrote in his letter to the White House. Perry’s decision has come under fire from U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchinson who is expected to challenge Perry for the GOP nomination for governor in 2010.

Stateline.org 4/6/9