If you’re like me, shaking your head at all the fuss over the GOP governors’ possible refusal of some of the Porkulus money, the Wall Street Journal has a decent editorial that explains the predicament. If you’ve heard the chatter on TV and the blogosphere, you’d think that they were clubbing baby seals and eating babies. God forbid that these men should attempt to be fiscally responsible. I know it’s hard for Congress to imagine the concept of restraint, but I hope one day they can grasp that there are actually people living beyond the Beltway, and that some of those people still know how to balance a checkbook.
Also, I doubt this is the last time we’ll hear the words “little-noticed provision” to refer to something in the Porkulus.
UPDATE: Governor Riley in my own state of Alabama has rejected $66 million of the stimulus. His press release states:
Based on claims filed during 2008, the $66 million in the stimulus for unemployment compensation expansion could run out in about 4 years and from then on, Alabama would be required to raise taxes on all Alabama employers – and potentially employees – by $17 million per year in order to continue supporting this expansion of benefits.
Obama, for his part, has described the governors’ concerns as “very legitimate.” Those of you familiar with Alabama state law will recall that the unemployment tax disproportionately burdens small businesses. Riley has attempted to get this changed, but the Democratically-controlled Legislature has thus far refused.
Translation of all this: “I’m not taking your stinking $66 million bribe.” Democrats shouldn’t fret too much, though. The Alabama Legislature will almost certainly override his decision–they never saw a bribe they didn’t like.