While guest hosting the Fox News show America Live, Fox & Friends co-host Gretchen Carlson claimed that Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry "turned away the federal stimulus money." In fact, despite initially refusing a portion of stimulus funds, Perry ultimately accepted much of the money for his state.
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Gretchen Carlson Falsely Claimed Gov. Perry Rejected Stimulus Money
Carlson: Perry "Stood Up To The President Of The United States And Said No Thanks." After playing a video of Texas Governor Rick Perry criticizing the use of stimulus funds for expanding unemployment insurance, Gretchen Carlson said, "he turned away the federal stimulus money." [Fox News, America Live, 6/10/11; TX Office of the Governor, 3/12/09]
In Fact, Texas Used Stimulus Funds To Balance Its Budget
Gov. Perry Requested Stimulus Funds in 2009. From Texas Governor Rick Perry's letter to President Obama requesting stimulus funds for Texas:
Dear Mr. President:
I'm writing you today in response to stipulations set forth in H.R. 1, the $787 billion stimulus package you signed into law yesterday.
On behalf of the people of Texas, please allow this letter to certify that we will accept the funds in H.R. 1 and use them to promote economic growth and create jobs in a fiscally responsible manner that is in the best interest of Texas taxpayers. [Recovery.gov, 2/18/09]
WSJ: Billions From Stimulus Helped Balance TX Budget. Reporting on Rick Perry's 2010 campaign for re-election, The Wall Street Journal wrote:
Although Mr. Perry has railed against the federal economic-stimulus program, billions of dollars from that initiative helped Texas legislators balance the current budget. Those funds won't be available for the next budget. [The Wall Street Journal, 5/26/10]
CNNMoney: Stimulus Funds Covered 97% Of Texas's Budget Shortfall. CNNMoney reported:
Texas Gov. Rick Perry likes to tell Washington to stop meddling in state affairs. He vocally opposed the Obama administration's 2009 stimulus program to spur the economy and assist cash-strapped states.
Perry also likes to trumpet that his state balanced its budget in 2009, while keeping billions in its rainy day fund.
But he couldn't have done that without a lot of help from ... guess where? Washington.
Turns out Texas was the state that depended the most on those very stimulus funds to plug nearly 97% of its shortfall for fiscal 2010, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
Texas, which crafts a budget every two years, was facing a $6.6 billion shortfall for its 2010-2011 fiscal years. It plugged nearly all of that deficit with $6.4 billion in Recovery Act money, allowing it to leave its $9.1 billion rainy day fund untouched.
"Stimulus was very helpful in getting them through the last few years," said Brian Sigritz, director of state fiscal studies for the National Association of State Budget Officers, said of Texas. [CNNMoney, 1/24/11]
Texas Had To Borrow Federal Money After Turning Down Stimulus Funds For Unemployment
Perry Originally Rejected Stimulus Money For Expanded Unemployment Insurance. The Houston Chronicle reported:
From the center of a Houston hardware store, Gov. Rick Perry ignited a debate about Texas job cuts, business taxes and President Barack Obama's so-called economic stimulus program Thursday by rejecting the federal government's offer of $555 million in aid to the unemployed.
Perry said the money would come with too many strings attached. Taking the half billion would require the state to assist qualified out-of-work residents seeking part-time jobs, an idea that Perry said the state has rejected before, partly because it could discourage them from seeking full-time employment.
The federal money injection would also make Texas extend benefits to more low-paid workers, and Perry said the overall expansion would force business to make higher unemployment insurance payments. [Houston Chronicle, 3/12/09]
But Months Later, Perry Requested A Federal Loan To Fund Unemployment Insurance. From Think Progress:
In March, Texas Gov. Rick Perry rejected $555 million in federal stimulus money that would have expanded unemployment benefits for Texans.
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 expected to request $650 million, roughly $100 million more than Perry initially rejected. [Think Progress, 7/16/09]