Should Perry have spurned stimulus money?
Tue July 20, 2010 11:49 am

I don’t get it. White has been criticizing Perry for taking more stimulus funding than any state except California and New York. Is this a bad thing? White is a Democrat. Democrats want to use government to help people. Money helps people. Had White been governor, would he have told mothers receiving child support that he wasn’t accepting $27.3 million in federal funds for child support enforcement? Would he have rejected $2.1 million to compensate victims of serious crimes? Would he have snubbed $9 million for women who are victims of violence? Would he have struck $2 million for a nutritional program that provides home-delivered meals to seniors? Or $27.6 million in supplemental nutrition assistance for food stamp recipients? Or $1.58 billion for road and bridge construction? One and a half billion dollars is a lot of jobs.

It looks to me that White is falling into the same error that Perry’s opponents always make: They hate Perry so much that they want to make him out to be a bad person, not just a bad governor. White is apparently trying to make some obscure point that Perry is not really a fiscal conservative, or that he is really a creature of Washington. Give it up. It’s not going to work. In the meantime, White ends up looking silly, because everybody knows that if White had been governor, he would have jumped at the money. What’s more, we would be in a much worse budget situation today if Perry hadn’t done so.

I realize that there is a separate issue over whether state budget writers used the stimulus funds wisely, or whether they used money that was intended for one purpose to achieve another purpose. That’s an argument for another day. There should be no dispute over whether Texas is better off because Perry took $12 billion or so in stimulus dollars. It is. So why is White trying to make an issue of something that serves beneficiaries of government programs–his own constituency?

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