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Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Stimulus OK for Birth to 3, But Not for Unemployment Insurance?

To get House Appropriations to kill SB 203 this morning, Governor Rounds's budget director Jason Dilges promises that the general budget will include funding for Birth to 3 Connections. He says federal stimulus funds will keep Birth to 3 going.

Now hold on a minute. Governor Rounds is rejecting federal stimulus money to support unemployment insurance (contrary to the advice of his labor secretary, the unemployment insurance board, and two thirds of our Congressional delegation) because he doesn't want to be stuck having to raise taxes to cover the benefits when the stimulus money runs out. But the Governor is saying it's o.k. to cover Birth to 3 with stimulus money that will run out, meaning we'll be back two years from now having the same debate about where to find the money to maintain the benefits for our little ones.

Now Birth to 3 and unemployment are two very different programs, and applying stimulus money to each may have different requirements. But either way, it's temporary federal money that puts off a state fiscal decision. Anyone care to clarify?


  1. The difference is that we were doing Birth to 3 before. It is not new spending, it is continuing old spending. The unemployment deal would have required an increased tax and additional spending.

    You can argue about whether the right decision was made on each program, but that is the difference.

  2. Corey, maybe you should check out the strings that are attached to federal money.
    Thank goodness, Rounds found this out without just grabbing for the money. I think it has to do with higher taxes. Imagine that from the Democrats.

  3. So what strings do you think are there? I've looked at the strings. More importantly, Governor Rounds's own Unemployment Insurance Advisory Council (not exactly a bunch of radical Marxist Democrats) has looked at the strings and said "No problem, take the money." "Strings" is a smokescreen to justify politicking the stimulus instead of solving real problems.

  4. The difference is that the Bto3 group has a stronger lobby. Kevin Scheifer and Jan Nicolay.

    No one in Pierre is representing the layed off workers from LodgeNet or Hutchinson Tech. Besides their home drunk on the couch collecting unemployment while the disabled children chartered a bus to the capitol. Which sells better on TV?

  5. I hope you're being sarcastic, Anon, and highlighting the misconceptions other people might have about the unemployed that then impact the sellability of unemployment insurance versus public assistance for children.

  6. There might be an argument for these two programs, but how about the latest pork-a-potamus spending bill with over 9000 earmarks, promoted by Pelosi and the great one, Obama. The Democrats did it right, playing on everyone's fear, talking about Hope and Change, but nothing changed except their ability to ram spending bills through Congress. Prepare for hyper-inflation in two years when our dollar is devalued beyond repair. And get used to pork 'cause there's going to be a bunch of it landing on the taxpayer's plates.


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