AUSTIN (March 12, 2009)--Saying the increase would burden Texas businesses, Gov. Rick Perry Thursday rejected $555 million in federal stimulus funds that would have expanded the state’s unemployment benefits.
“Texans who hire Texans drive our state’s economic engine. During these tough times, Texas employers are working harder than ever to move products to market, make payroll and create jobs,” Perry said.
“The last thing they need is government burdening them with higher taxes and expanded obligations.”
Perry said Texans eligible for unemployment benefits will continue to receive them.
“If you are an unemployed Texan, and lost your job through no fault of your own, our state’s unemployment system has covered you and will continue to help all Texans who are pursuing a full-time job,” Perry said.
The Texas Association of Business opposed accepting the funds and said that once the federal money ran out, the state’s employers would be faced to make up a gap of as much as $150 million a year.
“With the radical changes Washington is demanding in return for the money, Congress wants to increase states' dependence on the federal government. In these tough economic times, increased dependence on Washington is not the solution, it's the problem,” the TAB said.
Perry, an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill, accepted most of the roughly $17 billion slated for Texas in the plan.