Alabama and Georgia Governor May Reject Stimulus Funds

By Laurie Bernstein - bio | email

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - Out of work for a week now, Columbus resident Nicole Moore is feeling the pinch.

"I just recently got on unemployment, and we need it very badly. The economy is real bad, we have bills to pay, and bills aren't going anywhere," said Moore.

Part of President Obama's stimulus plan is aimed at helping workers like Moore, adding $25 dollar to each unemployment check.

The argument comes, though, when it comes to extending those benefits to part-time workers.

Even though the money is available, governors like Bob Riley and Sonny Perdue may not take it.

They are concerned that when the stimulus funds run out, the states will have to pay for the benefits by raising unemployment taxes on businesses.

Governor Riley has already decided to recommend that the Alabama State Legislature not change their unemployment laws to fit what the stimulus bill requires.

Governor Perdue still hasn't made his decision.

"All of us are looking at the details. The devil is in the details, and we are going over the stimulus package, what are the strings attached, and how we can best utilize it for our citizens," said Perdue at the National Governor's Association Conference in Washington, D.C.

For those that have been out of work for months, it's not the answer they want to hear.

"If he's not going to accept the stimulus package, then he's not willing to help the less fortunate, those who have lost their jobs," said Sam Foster, a Columbus Resident looking for work.

Even though a state's governor may say no, the stimulus bill's language allows state legislators to override the decision and make sure the money isn't lost.

"There seems to be a lot of push back, and I'm just hoping that these governors know people are hurting out there and they need help, and the place where they need help is the unemployment situation," said Georgia State Representative Calvin Smyre.