Perry Appointee Seeks to Cut Strings on Stimulus Aid

Gov. Rick Perry's top appointee to the Texas Workforce Commission is working with lawmakers on a compromise to allow the state to accept federal stimulus money for unemployment.

Perry said last week he planned to reject $555 million from $17 billion in federal stimulus funding for Texas. Perry said accepting it would require the state to permanently expand its unemployment insurance program and subject Texas employers to millions of dollars in tax increases.

But commission Chairman Tom Pauken has floated the idea of changing state law in order to accept the money, then reverting to current law after the money runs out.

"I agree with Gov. Perry that there should be no strings attached to the additional federal funds made available to Texas," Pauken said in Wednesday's editions of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. "I laid out a legislative approach which would allow us to get the money with no strings attached, and that's still on the table."

A bipartisan group of lawmakers has a similar plan that's gaining ground in the Texas Senate.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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