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The Numbers Behind Govs’ Refusal of Stimulus Bucks

The Numbers Behind Govs' Refusal of Stimulus Bucks

by Olga Pierce, ProPublica - February 27, 2009 3:14 pm EST

Unemployment insurance benefits have been in the spotlight ever since Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and several other Republican governors announced they would reject hundreds of millions of dollars in the federal stimulus for expanding eligibility for unemployment insurance. How do their states stack up in terms of taxes and benefits?

Both tend to be low. In Texas, where Gov. Perry has declined funding for expanding unemployment benefits, only one in four unemployed workers ever gets a benefit check -- ranking the state 49th. Louisiana, where Jindal has expressed concern about raising the unemployment insurance tax, is tied for the country's seventh-lowest average tax rate on total wages. Mississippi, where Gov. Barbour has decided to accept funding for a $25 weekly benefit increase, but reject funding to expand eligibility, has the country's lowest average weekly benefit -- just $190.21.