Transcript of Barbour on ‘Fox News Sunday’

WALLACE: I’m Chris Wallace, and this is “Fox News Sunday.”

With growing sentiment that Washington is broken, the president calls for bipartisan action on health care reform, debt and jobs. Will Republicans play ball? We’ll ask Mitch McConnell, the Senate’s top Republican, only on “Fox News Sunday.”

Then, the view from outside the Beltway. Is the recovery taking hold? Is the stimulus working? We’ll ask Republican governor Haley Barbour of Mississippi, and Democratic governor Jennifer Granholm of Michigan.

WALLACE: Let me bring in Governor Barbour.

Mississippi, I don’t have to tell you, has 10.6 percent unemployment, also above the national average. A year ago you were talking about not accepting the stimulus funds. And let’s look at the record here. Your latest state budget included $370 million in stimulus funds. Public schools are getting more funding than eve before. And stimulus road project signs are up around the state with your name on them. Have you changed your mind–

BARBOUR: No. In fact, we–

WALLACE: — about the stimulus?

BARBOUR: In fact, we did not take $56 million that was offered to us because it would have forced to us raise taxes later. That’s why we didn’t take it. State government has benefited by the stimulus package, because it’s poured in billions of dollars. The problem is we need private sector jobs. And you mention the Department of Transportation and the highway projects. The Department of Transportation’s independent of me. They have a independently elected board who announced last week that the stimulus package created 500 jobs for a cost of $350 million — $700,000 a job. I was flabbergasted.

WALLACE: So let me — let me ask you both — and I want to continue this conversation — Congress, as we just discussed with Senator McConnell — talking about another jobs bill. Let’s start with you, Governor Barbour. Should they pass something? And what would you like to see come from Washington?

BARBOUR: Well, first of all, the first stimulus package was twice as much money as was needed. Then they could have created twice as many jobs with half as much money.

If they’re going to have a stimulus package, let’s do something like have a holiday on the payroll tax. Let’s do something that helps small business.

Jennifer and I were talking a while ago — our small businesses can’t get credit. They can’t borrow money. And small business is the backbone — I don’t think just of my economy. I think it’s the backbone of America’s economy. And freeing up small business to have some credit I think is something everybody could support.

Fox News
2/21/10