Five States Whose GOP Govs May Refuse Stimulus Are Among Most Dependent on Federal Dole

In the annals of political hypocrisy, it’s hard to imagine examples more egregious than the sight these days of Republicans in Congress racing to the cameras to kvetch about government spending. Now they’re for fiscal responsibility? Now?

Interestingly, the five state that pay the most in taxes while receiving the least in federal spending are more dominated by Democrats than the bottom feeders.

It’s true that Americans have famously short memories, but these Republicans are crazy if they think we’ve all forgotten that they rubber-stamped George Bush’s reckless spending and the other failed Bush policies that led to the current calamity.

GOP political hypocrisy on spending is not confined to Washington, however. It is also on full display in the states, where a handful of GOP governors — many of whom are said to have presidential ambitions — have been hinting that they might refuse their states’ shares of the $787 billion stimulus package. While they purport to be making principled stands to demonstrate their conservative ideological purity, a more cynical view is that they’re putting their political ambitions above the health and well-being of their constituents.

The hypocrisy here is that these moralizing pols — governors Rick Perry of Texas, Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Sarah Palin of Alaska, Mark Sanford of South Carolina and C.L. “Butch” Otter of Idaho — represent states whose citizens are among the neediest in the nation. In fact, of these six states, five are among the states that take in more federal revenue than they pay into the Treasury, according to the Tax Foundation, and based on fiscal year 2004 figures, which appear to be the most recent numbers available online:

FY 2004 Federal Spending per Dollar Paid in Taxes

Rank Spending 08 Median Income*
 2. Alaska $1.87 $76,560
 4. Mississippi $1.77 $47,726
13. Louisiana $1.45 $55,945
17. South Carolina $1.38 $57,932
21. Idaho $1.28 $52,470

* Family of four

The stench of hypocrisy is worse for governors Jindal of Louisiana and Barbour of Mississippi. As of August 2008, the federal government had allocated $126 billion (see page 16 in PDF) for disaster relief in their states for recovery from hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Texas is the only state among the six prospective refusenik states that sends more money to the Treasury than it receives in spending. It ranks 36th on the list and has federal spending per dollar paid ratio of $0.94.

Interestingly, the five state that pay the most in taxes while receiving the least in federal spending are more dominated by Democrats than the bottom feeders:

Rank Spending 08 Median Income*
45. Nevada $0.73 $64,800
46. Illinois $0.73 $72,368
47. Minnesota $0.67 $77,395
48. New Hampshire $0.69 $81,522
49. Connecticut $0.66 $92,205
50. New Jersey $0.55 $90,261

* Family of four

The state ranked first in federal spending versus money paid to the Treasury is New Mexico, a purple state, which receives $2.00 in spending for every dollar it pays in taxes.

6 Comments

  • sobe
    February 27, 2009 - 12:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m shocked. Shocked!

  • JS
    February 28, 2009 - 11:01 am | Permalink

    I hope they do refuse the money,someone else could probably use it, we could even use it to help pay for healthcare, which is sorely needed.

  • choupachoup
    March 1, 2009 - 9:59 am | Permalink

    as i understand it, accepting the funds is not an option, so these prima donnas are just talking up their knuckle dragger, and libertarian base….”don’t make me do it !”.
    as if.
    it would be a wakeup call for their citizenry if they did, but i suspect that they are just lining up their relatives and shadow corps to sweep that money out of site, then say it was ineffectual, and that limbaughs prayer for national failure was heard by god.

  • J.T.
    March 13, 2009 - 10:53 am | Permalink

    >I hope they do refuse the money,someone else could probably use it, we could even use it to help pay for healthcare, which is sorely needed.

    Not true at all. Mississippi, Louisiana and South Carolina are all among the poorest states in the country. However, that is part of why they are refusing. They will not be able to afford the obligatory increase in welfare and unemployment after the stimulus money runs out. That seems to me a perfectly good reason to refuse. After all, spending what you can’t afford is what got us into this economic mess in the first place, isn’t it?

  • M.Grafius
    March 20, 2009 - 9:39 am | Permalink

    “as i understand it, accepting the funds is not an option,”

    Most Governors that are refusing stimulus funds are only refusing those funds that rewrite state constitutions or state laws. When the stimulus money runs out it will fall to the states to shoulder the financial burden of these new laws. This will leave many, if not all, states with even higher debts after the 2-year stimulus bill expires.

    A reminder, the Federal Government may not rewrite state constitutions. A stipulation of acceptance of many of these stimulus payments requires states to rewrite these laws.

    Another stipulation put in allows a state’s representatives to force a state to accept these unwanted funds. State representatives have no power or authority to do this. It is simply illegal. They are permitted to deny payments for noncompliance, but they are not allowed to force compliance.

    The Federal Government was designed to work for the states, not vice-versa. It’s a nation of united states. That system was established early on in American history to keep Federal government in check.

  • peter
    April 12, 2009 - 8:27 am | Permalink

    Every penny being borrowed by any body has to be repayed.
    If we don’t re pay it????????????????
    If you make $10.00 dollars an hour, It will only buy $8.00 dollars of food.
    If you have $10,000 in the bank It will only be worth $8000. Your home,job,business etc.

    It dosen’t matter If there is a D or a R or an L in front of your name

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