(Alexandria, Va.) -- The 362,000-member National Taxpayers Union (NTU) has applauded South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford (R) and Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) for their decisions this week to refuse part of the federal stimulus package earmarked for their respective states. Sanford will accept $700 million only if the President allows him to use it to pay down debts rather than create new spending obligations. Perry has refused outright $555 million for expansion of state unemployment benefits.
"In the midst of the current economic downturn, politicians across the country are suffering from bailout fever," NTU State Government Affairs Manager Joshua Culling said. "Rather than blindly accepting the President's massive stimulus check, Governors Sanford and Perry understand that the expansion of government based on one-time revenue leads to structural deficits and significant tax hikes down the road."
NTU also called on state legislatures in South Carolina and Texas to resist calls to overturn the Governors' decisions. "Refusal of this money is the best long-term option for both of these states," Culling continued, "even though it may not be the most politically popular."
President Obama's $787 billion stimulus package passed last month and included over $100 billion in direct aid to the states. With 46 states currently facing budget deficits, many are relying on this infusion of federal cash to balance their budgets without necessary spending cuts. In the future, when the stimulus money is no longer flowing, states will have to make tough decisions about whether to cut programs or increase taxes to continue to fund them.
"Once a government program is created, politicians are adamant about keeping it," Culling concluded. "Taxpayers in South Carolina and Texas are grateful to their Governors for realizing this, and avoiding this federally imposed expansion of government that would surely lead to tax increases in the future."
NTU is a nonpartisan, nonprofit citizen organization founded in 1969 to work for lower taxes, smaller government, and economic freedom at all levels. Note: For more information, visit www.ntu.org.