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Will Louisiana Accept Stimulus Money?

Wednesday, February 18, 2009 - 7:10pm

President Barack Obama recently signed the giant stimulus spending plan, sending billions of dollars across the country. But will the money actually reach Louisiana? FNBR’s Lauren Unger is tracking the story and has more on what the governor plans to do with the potential money.

It’s clear that Louisiana could stand to gain hundreds of millions of dollars in money from the stimulus plan, but what is less clear is whether or not Louisiana will take it.

It was a big win for the new President. His $787 billion stimulus bill has become reality. It’s been touted as government the average person will see. But where the money may not be spent is Louisiana.

In past appearances, Governor Bobby Jindal has hinted that the Pelican State may not accept the stimulus money, worrying about some of the strings attached. Today he gave a clearer picture of the state’s response. “When we submit our budget, we’ll determine which of those dollars we’ll accept, which we won’t.”

Jindal says the individual state agencies are looking at the stimulus dollars and deciding whether they should take the money. ‘To see what strings are attached, to see what are beneficial uses for Louisiana, what are not beneficial uses.”

But it’s also money that couldn’t come at a better time. Louisiana faces a $2 billion shortfall. Nonetheless, the Governor says the state will say no to those federal dollars if that turns out to be the best choice. “We had some very strong concerns about some of the potential language that would have been put there with the healthcare dollars, a lot of that language didn’t survive conference, is not included.”

So it’s kind of a waiting game for now and since we don’t know just how much money Louisiana will accept, Jindal says for now the state will plan the budget without including any of the money from the stimulus plan, but they definitely might need that money. Just today, the state’s revenue forecasting team announced the state would bring in $103 million less than expected.