Zion Raven painting by Jeff Ham.
You might think that the Governor of a state that is as far down on its luck as Nevada would be eager to take advantage of Stim funds, but you'd be wrong. Governor Jim Gibbons is seriously considering taking a pass.
As my neighboring state, the place I grew up and the state where most of my family still resides, I am very worried about Nevada.
Nevada’s economy has been more than just rocked by the current recession. It leads the nation in many areas of economic depression. Home foreclosures have never been higher, home sales have never been lower, the budget for the state is indicating a shortfall of more than $1 billion, job losses continue to pile up, hunger and homelessness rates are surging, crime is skyrocketing, while sales and gaming tax receipts have collapsed.
Nevada could expect to receive about $1.5 billion from The Stim if Governor Gibbons agrees to accept it. While $1.5 Billion amounts to less Stim spending per person in Nevada than any other state except Utah, it will be very welcome to the hard-hit Nevada residents. The money would be distributed to Medicaid and transportation, education and unemployment, and various energy projects.
Similar to Governor Jindal of LA, Gibbons' big problem with accepting Stim money comes down to unemployment (not his own, but the unemployment benefits afforded to the 9.1% of Nevada's workers who are currently unemployed). The Stim increases the scope of benefits for the unemployed through 2011. Once the federal money stops, the state would either have to provide benefits itself at the higher level OR cut benefits back to their pre-stimulus level. Both Jindal and Gibbons say accepting Stim money for unemployment benefits will jeopardize their state's sovereignty ... but The Stim doesn't require the states to spend any money in the current budget or to commit to spend money after 2011 ... so I think they are full of BS.
If Gibbons makes good on his threat to refuse The Stim, he may become the man formerly known as governor. (note: while that is a link to a short fun article in The Las Vegas Sun, if you care to know more details about why Jim Gibbons may just be America's Worst Governor, here is a link to a witty blog full of insider info on The Gub ... though you really need to view that Las Vegas Sun article to understand why Gibbon's nickname is Dr. Null.)
Perhaps the Governors who are threatening to refuse The Stim might consider that people who are suffering do not easily suffer fools. Maybe if those Governors were facing unemployment themselves, they might not be so quick to refuse federal aid.
If you're interested in seeing how your state is planning to spend Stim money, click here for the recovery.gov site.