In March, Texas Gov. Rick Perry rejected $555 million in federal stimulus money that would have expanded unemployment benefits for Texans. Perry argued at the time that accepting the stimulus dollars would force the state to expand eligibility to include thousands of low-wage workers — including part-time employees like single mothers, college students and senior citizens — which Perry bemoaned would burden tax payers with “higher taxes and expanded obligations.” When explaining the decision, Perry told Fox News, “this was pretty simple for us.” But now Perry is reversing his decision. Texas has asked the federal government for a $170 million loan to ensure the state is able to continue paying out unemployment benefits:
Texas is now asking the federal government for a $170 million loan so that benefits keep getting paid.
“This is nothing out of the ordinary. We’re following protocol that we put in place,” said Governor Rick Perry.
Texas has asked for this loan only one other time, in 2003. This year however, the decision is getting extra attention after Governor Rick Perry rejected federal stimulus money that would have replenished the fund.
Texas is expected to request $650 million, roughly $100 million more than Perry initially rejected. At a “tea party protest” in April, Perry trumpeted his decision to reject stimulus dollars from the Obama administration. “I believe the federal government has become oppressive,” he said, adding that he might even consider seceding from the Union.