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25th February
2009
written by Sean Noble

Governors will have to make some tough choices that Congress and Obama have forced upon them through policy changes in the stimulus bill.   At least one Democrat Governor is seriously considering not taking the federal money, because of the strings that are attached.

For most Governors, it’s too much of an enticement as they struggle to deal with massive budget deficits.  In Arizona Governor Brewer’s case, she faces the largest shortfall as a percentage of the total budget in the nation – no state has it as bad as Arizona.

That’s the legacy of Janet Napolitano.  The inheritance she left her successor was a two-year shortfall of nearly $5 billion.  That is an absolutely staggering sum.

So, it’s not likely that Brewer will join Governors like Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Mark Sanford of South Carolina, or Haley Barbour of Mississippi.

But there is an important reason why Brewer will likely take the money – the obligations for Arizona are actually less severe than other states.  Jindal, Sanford and Barbour are reticent to take the federal money because they will have to make changes to unemployment laws and state health care laws to satisfy the desire Democrats in the House and Senate have for “government-creep,” that is, the requirement that states expand the scope of government services  to more and more people.

In an ironic twist, Napolitano had already broadened the scope of government so much that Arizona can take the money without fundamentally changing current law.

My point is this.  Brewer taking the money is not a sign of retreating on principle as compared to other Governors who don’t take the money.  It just demonstrates, yet one more time, the enduring legacy of a big-government liberal who tried to masquerade as a “moderate” and happened to be named Janet.

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