Friday, March 6, 2009

Schwarzeneger To Refuse $839 Million In Federal Unemployment Stimulus Funds

From D-day:

Arnold Schwarzeneger got a lot of good press from going on ABC and saying that he would take the stimulus money of any GOP governor who refused a portion of it.

"Well, Governor Sanford says that he does not want to take the federal stimulus package money. And I'll say to him, I'll take it," Schwarzenegger said. "I'm more than happy to take his money or any other governor in this country that doesn't want to take this money. I'll take it, because we in California need it. I think it's a terrific package. I think if you ask a thousand people for their opinion, what is their ideal stimulus package, you will have a thousand different answers. So everyone's is a little different. I think he's done a great job and I think California benefits tremendously from that $80 billion of tax benefits there, for around $35 billion. There are other advantages: $45 billion of money that go to transportation, to education, to health care, all those different areas. There's even some money that could benefit our revenues or, I should say, our budget itself...."

As you may know, what Sanford and Bobby Jindal and Haley Barbour and these Southern Republican Governors were objecting to is changing their unemployment eligibility statutes so they could accept millions in additional funding through the stimulus to give to the jobless. It's the best kind of stimulus there is and would probably keep some of the retail sector in business, but these Governors feel that once the federal money to fund the new eligibles ran out, it would be too burdensome on business to raise the funds. So they have, rhetorically at least, sided with the corporate community in rejecting the funds.

At a hearing of the Assembly Insurance Committee Wednesday, Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's representative, Labor and Workforce Development Agency Undersecretary Steffanie Watkins, refused to support AB 3x 23, legislation that makes California eligible for $839 million in one-time federal unemployment insurance funds available at part of the President's economic stimulus package.

This from the same Governor who just last week was all over the national media circuit criticizing Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and other Republican Governors who were spurning economic stimulus funds.

What a difference a week makes.

In the end, the bill made it out of committee by an 8-2 vote with members of the Yacht Party crossing the aisle, suggesting that the legislature would have the 2/3 vote necessary to override Schwarzenegger, if it came to that. But take note of the extreme hypocrisy here. Mr. Governor-by-Magazine-Cover, the media darling, goes on national TV and wags his finger at fellow Republicans who won't take stimulus money. Then he signals that he won't take stimulus money FOR THE EXACT SAME REASON as those governors he criticized.

Incredible. This is another reason why the Governor has worn out his welcome with the people of California, has a negative approval rating, and can't poll above 31% in a Republican primary anymore. He has lost the trust of the electorate. He also happens to be a piss-poor lawmaker who has pushed the state to the brink of collapse. But you might have guessed that.

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