Ca-Ching! — Or Not — Which GOP Governors Could Really Turn Down Stimulus Bucks

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So with the stimulus bill now fully passed and signed into law, are there still any Republican governors who might actually go so far as refuse some or all of the cash, even if it goes against the immediate interests of their states? The answer is Yes.

Most Republican governors are now going ahead and figuring out how to spend the money, even if a bunch of them were opposed to the bill itself. But there are still some holdouts, people who are making noise about turning down a check from Washington.

First up is the most prominent anti-stimulus governor of all, South Carolina’s Mark Sanford. In response to critics of his public position to not spend the money, Sanford wrote an op-ed piece for The State: “The bailout approach undermines what has historically been the ultimate source of economic stimulus — the American worker and entrepreneur.”Less prominent than Sanford are some remaining governors who are definitely making noise about turning down some money:

• Sarah Palin of Alaska said the state is ready to accept the money for construction projects, but she is sharply critical of other spending on social programs. One could say something about a bridge, but it’s too easy.

• Bobby Jindal of Louisiana says he is applying some serious scrutiny: “We’ll have to review each program, each new dollar to make sure that we understand what are the conditions, what are the strings and see whether it’s beneficial for Louisiana to use those dollars.”

• Haley Barbour of Mississippi started some political fireworks back home when he said he might refuse some of the money, declaring that “there may be some things that we’d be better off not to take.” His office is now discussing the package internally, before they make a further comment.

• Rick Perry of Texas previously co-authored an op-ed piece with Sanford in the Wall St. Journal, standing with him against the bill. But now Perry says he’s examining the money to see how much he’ll take, depending on the strings attached: “We need the freedom to pick and choose.”

Also up in the air is Jan Brewer, the new Republican governor of Arizona. Brewer’s self-proclaimed “stimulus” package was actually composed of spending cuts, and thus far she has not yet formally requested the money.

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