The governor of Texas has rejected $556 million in federal stimulus money for the state's unemployed, saying yesterday it had too many strings attached, reports the Dallas Morning News. Rick Perry, a Republican, said that the federal rules would burden Texas businesses with new commitments; instead they should be able to use the money to create jobs. While conservative groups applauded the decision, Democrats said the governor was abandoning the state's jobless for political gain.
The federal stimulus money would update unemployment benefits to include more women, older Americans, and students who don't qualify for coverage under current Texas rules. "We can take care of ourselves," Perry told Fox News, adding, "This was pretty simple for us." But Ed Rendell, the Democratic governor of Pennsylvania, called Perry's decision "a terrible call. It is based on politics." Adds an analyst: "Texas covers the smallest percentage of unemployed workers of any state," leaving four out of five jobless without benefits.