Not even the Republican ones. They want their share of the economic stimulus package, whether Democrat or Republican. And who can blame them? The crappy economy has forced governors' hands; they can't deficit spend like the federal government can so when tax revenues decline, they either have to raise taxes or cut services. Those are the only tools at their disposal.
So what does that mean states are facing without federal bailout money? Cutting poor people off of Medicaid. Raising tuition while simultaneously cutting university budgets. Hiring freezes even in essential services like police and fire departments. Putting off road construction and other infrastructure maintenance. Closing parks and libraries and everything else deemed non-essential. You name it, it's on the table right now, unless the states get some federal help.
Charlie Crist isn't stupid--he knows that these cuts aren't going to be popular, even among his "no tax increases" base--so he spent last week working the phones with the Florida Republican delegation trying to get some support for the package. We all see how well that worked out. But he tried, in large part because he had to.
So why didn't the Republicans in the House listen to their governors? Some of it has to do, no doubt, with the fact that Congresspeople aren't as beholden to the members of their state as the governor is--they only represent a small district, and they're really only beholden to the activist faction in that district, since most House districts aren't all that competitive. They can be more partisan because their constituents expect them to be, and since most Congresspeople are more concerned with getting re-elected than with looking at the bigger picture, they're freer to play party politics than governors are. (This is a bipartisan phenomenon, by the way.)
None of the governors in the above article is a better explanation than Louisiana Republican (and darling of the hyper-conservative right) Governor Bobby Jindal.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, a former member of the House, said he would accept the stimulus money but would have voted against the bill if he were still in Congress.Different priorities because of different jobs, see? South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford--like Jindal an early conservative favorite for the 2012 Presidential race--is talking tougher, probably with that race in mind. He sounds like a House member.
"It's incumbent on me as one of the nation's governors to speak out against what I believe is ultimately incredibly harmful to the economy, to taxpayers and to the worth of the U.S. dollar," Sanford said in an interview. "This plan is a huge mistake and is going to prolong and deepen this recession."Like the House Republicans, he's going all-in with the "hope he fails" attitude. If the economy doesn't turn around, he's positioned himself as the guy who took the brave stand early in the crisis, and he can point to the others in the race as those who weren't true believers.
Of course, the people who will suffer in the meantime will be poor South Carolinians, but hey, Sanford is term-limited out anyway. He doesn't have to worry so much about them anymore. Fortunately for us, the likelihood that the economy won't improve at least some in the next 2-3 years is very slim, and Sanford will be left with the "it would have improved more if government hasn't interfered" argument, which is hard to fit on a bumper sticker.