St. Louis Public Radio News
8:17 am
Wed February 25, 2009

Kinder, GOP leaders wary of stimulus provision

Jefferson City, MO – Republican leaders in Jefferson City say one section of President Obama's federal stimulus package comes with strings attached.

Lt. Governor Peter Kinder told reporters Wednesday that accepting unemployment compensation funding within the package would require Missouri to change its laws.

Under current law, only those fired without cause in Missouri are eligible to draw unemployment. Kinder says accepting the president's stimulus money would mean expanding eligibility to temporary workers, and expanding the time frame when recipients can receive those benefits.

"At a time when federal stimulus dollars are gone, which we know will be inside of two years, Missouri businesses will be forced to foot the bill," Kinder said.

Kinder and other Republican leaders say the state should not accept that portion of the stimulus package.

Governor Jay Nixon says he'll look into it.

"Obviously, you saw legislative leaders (saying) they weren't interested in dealing with that...we'll sit down and look at what the consequences of those expansions might be, both short-run and long-run, before we'll fully engage on that," Nixon said.

Nixon pointed out that those on unemployment will get an extra $25 a week from the stimulus money; a move he says will provide immediate help.