What's a Governor To Do?

Posted: Feb 23, 2009 2:10 PM
If you have not seen the Governors v. Congress piece in today's Wall Street Journal, I highly encourage you to give a read. It does a great job dissecting the very principled and rational reasoning as to why some Governors are rejecting their state's share of the funding from the recently passed economic stimulus package.

"These Governors -- Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Butch Otter of Idaho, Rick Perry of Texas and Mark Sanford of South Carolina -- all have the same objection:

The tens of billions of dollars of aid for health care, welfare and education will disappear in two years and leave states with no way to finance the expanded programs."

As fair and sensible as this objection might seem, it may do no good because the Governor's will not have the final say as to whether or not they will accept the additional federal dollars. The article points to a "little noticed provision" that allows the state legislators to override the decisions of their governors as to how the state should spend or not spend the stimulus money.

So at the end of the day, despite not only principled objections but even empirical proof that these dollars will do more harm than good to a state's long-term economic vitality - these dollars could be spent whether a Governor likes it or not.

The WSJ piece concludes:

“Don't be surprised if two years from now states are still facing mountainous deficits. They will have their Uncle Sam to thank.”

At least these Governors did their part to warn us.

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