Where’s House Majority Whip James Clyburn? I’m sure he’ll be along any minute now to lump Tennessee Dem. Gov. Phil Bredesen in with all the other bigoted GOP governors who have spurned stimulus money.
Tennessee could reject a portion of the $787 billion economic stimulus package out of concerns that it would force the state to raise taxes on businesses in the future.
At the National Governors Association meetings in Washington, D.C., Gov. Phil Bredesen said this week that he might turn down relief for unemployed workers worth an estimated $143 million because of conditions placed on the money by Congress.
The stimulus package would also raise unemployment benefits by $25 a week for all workers, but in addition, lawmakers want states to expand the pool of people who can apply for benefits. That would put more pressure on an unemployment trust fund that is already trying to stave off insolvency.
“We are evaluating this piece of money, whether it makes sense for us to take it,” Bredesen said in an interview Monday with the Chattanooga Times Free Press. “We’re in the position of going back to our legislature this year for changes in our tax structure just to keep our fund whole, and taking it to a new level may be too much of a lift for the legislature this spring.”