Democratic gov criticizes stimulus plan

Feb. 25, 2009 at 8:43 PM
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NASHVILLE, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Democratic Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen says like some of his Republican colleagues he is concerned about elements of the U.S. economic stimulus package.

The Hill reported Wednesday that Bredesen might be the first Democratic governor to reject some funding earmarked for his state in the plan.

"We are evaluating this piece of money, whether it makes sense for us to take it," Bredesen told the Chattanooga Times Free Press. "We may well be one of the states that say we can't take on that portion of it."

The Hill noted that Republicans South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue and Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels have all said they are concerned that taking additional money for their states' unemployment benefits programs would force them to expand those programs permanently.

"I am very supportive of the stimulus package, as it will create jobs and lessen the impacts that proposed budget cuts would have created," Bredesen told The Hill in a statement. "We are looking at a very minor provision in the stimulus package that could obligate Tennessee to fund a permanent increase in unemployment benefits after the stimulus money runs out in two years."

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