NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


April 24, 2009

Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said Wednesday that he still hopes to upend legislation that would have the state accept more than a half-billion dollars in stimulus money for unemployment benefits.

Saying "it might look kindly on the front end," the governor warned that the measure would expand benefits into perpetuity because lawmakers usually lack the political will to curtail such programs.

"Cutting government programs that are put in place that are entitlements are almost impossible to cut," Perry said.

  • Under the bill, the state would open unemployment benefits to laid-off workers who are seeking part-time jobs and would calculate benefits based on more recent paychecks, as opposed to the current rules that sometimes reach back 18 months, generally resulting in lower benefit payments.
  • With those two changes, Texas would qualify for an additional $555 million in unemployment insurance stimulus funding and extend benefits to thousands more Texans looking for work.

Perry said that businesses would suffer under the measure, sponsored by a fellow Republican and easily passed by the Senate.

"Bottom line: This will cost businesses $75 million a year from here forward, and that will cause them to hire fewer people," Perry said. "It's not good for Texas employers; it's not good for Texas employees."

Source: Christy Hoppe, "Texas Gov. Rick Perry still opposes accepting stimulus money for unemployment benefits," Dallas Morning News, April 23, 2009.


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