Stateline Story

Governors React to Stimulus Proposal

Wondering how the governors stand on the economic stimulus package? Here's a sampling.

Four Republican governors joined 14 of their Democratic peers in a letter ( PDF ) to President Barack Obama supporting the package.

"As stewards of the economies of our respective states and regions, we urge the Congress to reach prompt resolution of all outstanding differences and for you to sign the bill when it reaches your desk," the governors told Obama.

The GOP governors to sign on were Arnold Schwarzenegger of California, Jodi Rell of Connecticut, Charlie Crist of Florida and Jim Douglas of Vermont.

The Democrats were Deval Patrick of Massachusetts, Bill Ritter of Colorado, Jack Markell of Delaware, Pat Quinn of Illinois, Chet Culver of Iowa, Jennifer Granholm of Michigan, Jon Corzine of New Jersey, David Paterson of New York, Ted Strickland of Ohio, Brad Henry of Oklahoma, Ted Kulongoski of Oregon, Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, Tim Kaine of Virginia and Jim Doyle of Wisconsin. Virgin Islands Gov. John de Jongh also signed.

Meanwhile, at least five Republican governors (four of them from the South) took firm stances against the massive spending package. The group includes former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin of Alaska.

"We caution that unrestrained spending, initiating new programs that the state may be asked to continue after the federal stimulus funding is gone and borrowing hundreds of billions of dollars to pay for it may result in serious economic problems in the future," Palin and state legislative leaders wrote in a letter ( PDF ) to Alaska's congressional delegation.

Still, Palin said she supported building better infrastructure to create jobs.

Republicans Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Rick Perry of Texas and Mark Sanford of South Carolina are also opposed.

Regardless of their stands, the stimulus package has been keeping governors busy:

  • Ritter, Colorado's Democratic governor, asked ( PDF ) Obama to push for more support for transportation and the development of renewable energy.
  • Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman, Jr. (R) told the Salt Lake Tribune ,"While we're not reliant on a federal bailout in order to balance our books, this could be considered a type of stimulus that we could benefit from."
  • Nevada's Jim Gibbons (R), facing a $2.3 billion budget shortfall in the next two years, sent state lawmakers a letter ( PDF ) saying the $1.3 billion from the feds would help. He said the federal legislation "shows great promise for the partial or full reversal of many of the difficult but otherwise necessary spending reductions we are currently discussing."
  • Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius (D), an early Obama supporter, convened a task force to steer any new federal stimulus money the state receives. "While we cannot rely on Washington to solve every challenge we face in Kansas, we can make sure our state has a strategic and responsible approach to implementing new federal policies," Sebelius said, according to the Lawrence Journal-World .
  • Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle (D) delayed the release of his budget, so his staff can see how much money the state is likely to get before they announce their plans, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel .
  • Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) mocked other states' fiscal situations (specifically mentioning California, Illinois and Ohio) in his state of the state address . "Across America tonight, there are dozens of states that would gladly change places with Indiana. We are fiscally steady, they are crawling to Congress for bailouts," he said.
  • Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) named someone to head the state's efforts to fight for funding in the stimulus package, even though he has problems with the amount of spending, according to Minnesota Public Radio .
  • South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) wants legislators to pass a budget that doesn't depend on the stimulus money, according to the Pierre bureau of The Associated Press .