No-shows in majority at governors' meeting

July 18, 2009 at 10:12 PM
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BILOXI, Miss., July 18 (UPI) -- More than half the governors in the United States were somewhere else Saturday when the National Governors Association meeting got under way in Biloxi, Miss.

Many of the no-shows said they had to deal with fiscal crises, The Washington Post reported. That included Gov. Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania, the NGA president, whose state employees just had their first "payless payday."

"Not a very good move for me to go down to Biloxi," he told the Post in a phone interview from his home state.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who has been trying for weeks to negotiate a budget with the state legislature that would close a $26 billion gap, also stayed away. Some other governors appeared antsy about traveling to the Gulf Coast and staying in a casino resort when their constituents face tax hikes and service cuts.

Some governors had more personal reasons, like Mark Sanford of South Carolina, reportedly spending the weekend with his wife in an effort to work out marital problems. Charlie Crist of Florida was in New York raising money for a U.S. Senate run next year.

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