March 28th, 2009
12:33 PM ET
14 years ago

On second thought... States take stimulus

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The stimulus package is helping states put people to work, but some governors worry what will happen when the funds run out."]

NEW YORK ( - It's not that easy to turn down federal funds.

Several governors who initially voiced concerns about expanding state unemployment benefits to qualify for federal stimulus funds have decided to accept the money. Some were feeling the heat from jobless constituents, while others took comfort in learning recently from the federal Department of Labor that they could curtail eligibility later on.

The benefits expansion is among the most controversial components of the stimulus package, and it comes at a time when millions of people across the nation are losing their jobs. The nation's unemployment rate stood at 8.1% in February and is expected to climb to 8.5% when the March figures are released next Friday.

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act requires state legislatures to broaden the unemployment guidelines to allow more women, part-timers and low-wage workers to qualify.

In return, the states will get to partake in a $7 billion federal grant aimed at helping the unemployed. At least 19 states automatically qualify for the funds since they already had widened eligibility.

Some state officials, however, are concerned they will have to fund the expanded program by hiking taxes on employers once the federal money runs out. But they were soon hit by a backlash of anger from state lawmakers, unions and jobless residents.

Full story

Filed under: Stimulus
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. HEIDI

    About time they stopped grand standing!!!

    March 28, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  2. Moving Forward!

    My, My, when faced with losing credibility and votes; look how fast SCARED politicians back peddle!! Idiots if they didn't understand the program in the first place why didn't they ask the President about it when the governors met with him??

    March 28, 2009 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  3. willard schoeffling

    is the extra 20 weeks of u.c. benifits plus the extra 25.00 per week in addation to the extensions in place from 2008?

    March 28, 2009 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. pam Eugene OR

    These governors are making it very clear this is not about helping people who are struggling. it is about politics as usual.
    Watch the Governors fold like a house of cards once they get enough feedback from the voters. Only the ones who can't be reelected due to term limits will remain stubborn because they have national political goals. It is all about them and not about the people in their states who can't feed their families.

    March 28, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Susan in NC

    What a surprise! Not really....... The Republican Party of NO has ZERO credibility! All negative talk, no positive action!

    March 28, 2009 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  6. Ellen

    I live in Florida, and I find it interesting that the Republican state legislators plan to outright lie to their constituents about the nature of the federal unemployment benefits that they plan to veto... Why haven't journalists in the state picked up on this? When will they finally get it through their heads that we are tired of playing politics with our livelihoods; unemployment stands at 10% in our state; our standard of living has gone to hell – these politicians need to be impeached!

    March 28, 2009 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  7. harold

    People of the USA.. see the Power you have in your hands instead of just leaving it all to your so called " Representatives" decide things for you?..... Now get down and work on the health care mess.. the 50 Million wihtout health care.. Do you want a fair health care program for everyone or NOT.................?....?... Then raise some excitment and tell your representatves you want the health care mess solved.... we don't just want to watch the advertisements on TV about gettting health care.. thats..... a joke..and a waist of health care dollars.. are you listening.. AARP..?

    March 28, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  8. Biased

    It's obvious to jump all over those Governors because they were republican and start the name calling. However for those who read the story other than just the title, the main complaint they had was if they participated in the program they were to be expected to carry it on for a total of 10 years. That is why they refused initially because it would have meant raising taxes when the money ran out after 2 years. Now the Dept. of labor has changed the rules saying they can curtail the program and are not being forced to do it for 10 years as initially ordered. So, of course they will now take it, not because of grandstanding or anything else other than Obama has now changed the rules. Please get over being so critical of everything because "the tone in Washington" is not changing plain and simple because of comments continually like these. The harping is getting worse than ever and the only change is it is coming from the other side.

    March 28, 2009 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. wakeupamerica

    Politics before governance. When they see potential political backlash, then the second thoughts kick in and they accept the money. How pathetic. The real issue for a good governor should be welfare of their people before politics.

    March 28, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Sally

    In other words, campaign donations are down and their internal polling is disastrous.

    March 28, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. Gary in VA

    For Jeremy unemployment isn't really charity you actually pay into every quarter that you work. That is why you get it and peoples amounts differ depending on how long you worked and contributed to the fund. Take advice from Obama research before you speak.

    March 28, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. ml - California

    California is pathetic. This Governor has not listed to the people, but he can eliminate jobs and not take care of a proper budget! Time for a new person to take over the position of Governor and cleanup California. Whether stimulus money will help at this point, we will never know.

    March 28, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Ethel from Florida

    The people will remember who turned their back on them. These people should be voted out of office. What a sad situation for the unemployed if their governor turns the help down.

    March 28, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  14. Judy

    Jeremy – Unemployment is an insurance that all workers pay when they are working. My husband is 54 years old and paid unemployment insurance everyday for the past 30+ years. He was recently laid off for about 2 months and I had to encourage him to file for his unemployment. It's not something to be ashamed of – if you worked and paid into the system, it's a right of every worker.

    March 28, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  15. Judy

    I wish these governors, senators and congressmen who cry "socialist" would give up their tax-payer provided healthcare and go out and buy their own. What a bunch of hypocrites!

    March 28, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. heartlight3

    Actually, Jeremy and Gary, it is employers who pay for unemployment benefits. Every quarter, employers pay into the Unemployment fund to provide a cushion for employees who are laid off. It is like an insurance policy for losing your job. You don't receive benefits if you quit, just if you lose your job through no fault of your own.

    March 28, 2009 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  17. Sammy

    "Gimme the money but dont dare tell me how or where to use it. And dont even think about expecting me to change anything to get it." Sorry Charlie if you want my tax dollars it doesnt work that way.

    March 28, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  18. David

    I wonder if Jindal, Palin, and the other two sothern Gov. will take it after all that talk about how it was the wrong thing to do but not coming up with anything other than tax cuts. don't they know tax cuts is one of the things that got us where we are today cuts and 2 wars and little revenue spells deficit.

    March 28, 2009 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  19. rickey

    Taxes will always have to be raised! Our system runs off taxation! It's just funny how people who states have voted into a gevenorship position, tend to forget about the common citizen! This country will always be a country of the haves and have nots! Rich folks don't want to give up anything that threatens their way of life! Truth be told!

    March 28, 2009 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  20. Ms. G

    I am glad at the end the governors will hear their constituents. these people have worked before they can apply for employment benefits, that mean they have contributed through tax for them to receive this benefit. It is really lack of judgment and compassion on the governors part to refuse that package.

    March 28, 2009 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. Fitz in Texas

    If I were the Gov. of Texas I would refuse the money as well. I would refuse to let Obama and the Democrats take total control of everything. I would REFUSE to help them in their quest towards socialism. I haven't always agreed with our Gov., but I do agree with him on this one.

    People be careful, be very careful what you wish for.

    "The inherent blessing of socialism is the equal sharing of misery".
    --Winston Churchill-–

    March 28, 2009 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. Ancient Texan

    Let me see if I got this right... You people are bad-mouthing Governors that are fiscally responsible, and refuse to waste the taxpayer money to further the Preisdents' socialist agenda. Unbelievable logic!

    March 28, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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