Friday, February 20, 2009

Lousiana Gov. Jindal Rejects $100 Million In Recovery Funding

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jinda (R)l announced his intention his intention to turn away nearly $100 million in federal aid for his state’s unemployed residents. The National Employment Law Project projected on Febuary 13 that the extension provided by the stimulus aid would continue unemployment benefits for 24,981 Louisiana residents.

Gov. Jindal justified his decision by claiming that extending unemployment benefits would result in tax increases for businesses.
This is essentially the same argument Texas Gov. Perry makes in leaving the door open to also turn away at least a portion of the federal stimulus money.
But it is not clear why participating in the expanded unemployment insurance program would result in tax increases for business. By Jindal’s own estimate, the recovery package would have funded his state’s unemployment expansion for three years, at which point the state could — if it chose to do so — phase out the program.

As New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin suggested earlier today, perhaps Jindal’s presidential ambitions are “clouding” his judgement. “I think he’s been tapped as the up-and-coming Republican to petition a run for president the next time it goes around. So he has a certain vernacular, and a certain way he needs to talk right now,” Nagin said.

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