If Southern GOP Governors such as Bobby Jindal, Haley Barbour, Mark Sandford or Texas’s Rick Perry truely think that they can get away with turning down the extended unemployment benefits that are being offer to the States through President Obama’s economic stimulus package, then they may have another thing coming.
The stimulus bill recently passed by Congress includes incentives to states to expand benefits to many more jobless people, including part-time workers and those who have cycled in and out of the work force, who are not covered in many states.
The Republican governors of Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Texas, along with Alaska and Idaho, have raised protests, saying that expansion could eventually require them to raise taxes.
On Wednesday, Gov. Phil Bredesen of Tennessee became the first Democratic governor to express reservations on the issue.
For people like Henry Kight, 59, of Austin, Tex., the possibility that the money might be turned down is a deeply personal issue.
Mr. Kight, who worked for more than three decades as an engineering technician, discovered in September that because of complex state rules, he was not eligible for unemployment insurance after losing a job at a major electronics manufacturer he had landed at the beginning of the year.
Unable to draw jobless benefits, he and his wife have taken on thousands of dollars in credit-card debt to help make ends meet.