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Bobby Jindal Turns Down Stimulus Money

5 years ago
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As expected, Louisiana Governor and conservative Republican darling Bobby Jindal has turned down portions of his state's share of money from the recently passed economic stimulus bill. Jindal said in a statement that Louisiana would not change a state law which would result in an increase in state unemployment premiums to small businesses in order to take advantage of the stimulus money; but would accept money from the stimulus that would assist out of work Louisianans.
"Our state is facing a serious budget situation and it would be irresponsible to enter into an expansion of benefits right now that would ultimately increase taxes on the very businesses we are working to support during these tough economic times. The federal money in this bill will run out in less than three years for this benefit and our businesses would then be stuck paying the bill. We must be careful and thoughtful as we examine all the strings attached to the funding in this package. We cannot grow government in an unsustainable way.

I strongly suggest that other states also look closely at this provision in the bill so they can also avoid ultimately passing on a significant tax to businesses that will be left paying for this expansion of benefits when the federal money dries up.

We will use those provisions, however, that help our people and our businesses in their time of need, in a way that does not add an undue burden to the current financial situation in our state. For example, we will use a part of the legislation that will increase unemployment benefits through our existing unemployment benefit system by $25 a week to recipients."
Jindal's position is both a principled and compassionate one. In declining federal money that comes with burdensome requirements, he is preserving Louisiana's right to set its own policies based on the unique needs of the state. But in accepting the extra help for the currently unemployed, Jindal is demonstrating that Republicans are not without concern for the less fortunate.

Jindal, who is often mentioned as a future presidential candidate perhaps even in 2012, will give the Republican response to President Barack Obama's budget address to Congress this Tuesday night. Jindal will get a chance to articulate the Republican Party's position on federal spending, as well as give voters an early look at the young, energetic governor in an authoritative light.

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