Gov. Pawlenty has not signed on to a letter by 47 of the nation’s 55 governors of states and territories that urges Congress to pass legislation that extends federal Medicaid money. Why is that newsworthy? Well, Pawlenty is relying on that money erase a third of the state’s $1.2 billion budget deficit.
The letter said “States and territories are in the process of finalizing budgets for FY 2011 that our legislatures will be considering over the next several months. Timely passage of an extension of ARRA’s enhanced FMAP would greatly assist us in maintaining services and further stabilizing the economy.”
A spokeswoman for the NGA said all of the governors of the fifty states and five territories were asked to sign the letter. Pawlenty is a former chair of the NGA.
Pawlenty, who has been in Washington D.C. since Thursday, has repeatedly bashed the federal stimulus (most recently calling it wasteful on NBC’s Meet the Press). Several DFL lawmakers have said it would by hypocritical of him to earmark the federal money in his budget and then not lobby for the funds to be passed into law.
For the record, Pawlenty also relied on $2.6 billion in stimulus funds to fix the state’s budget problem last year.