Perry rejects stimulus money

March 13, 2009 8:15:22 AM PDT
Texas Gov. Rick Perry on Thursday rejected $555 million in federal stimulus money that would expand state unemployment benefits. Perry, an outspoken critic of President Barack Obama's $787 billion stimulus bill, accepted most of the roughly $17 billion slated for Texas in the plan.

But the governor turned down the unemployment benefits because he said they would require the state to increase the tax burden on Texas businesses to fund an expanded program.

"During these tough times, Texas employers are working harder than ever to move products to market, make payroll and create jobs," Perry said at a news conference. "The last thing they need is government burdening them with higher taxes and expanded obligations."

Perry said the requirements attached to the federal stimulus money would require a change in the state's definition of unemployment. He said such an expansion would counteract the package's objective of job creation by leading companies to limit hiring and raise prices.

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