GOV. BOBBY JINDAL: I do appreciate the President acknowledging there are legitimate concerns, legitimate issues when it comes to taking temporary federal dollars that could create permanent state spending obligations. For example, the money we identified in Louisiana on Friday that we will not be accepting.
However, I continue to say as I’ve said before that certainly I think there could have been a very different stimulus bill written. There could have been a stimulus bill that was truly targeted and temporary, focused on infrastructure, focused on the kinds of tax credits that would have got investment moving in the private sector. So it’s not just limited to those provisions that we identified on Friday. For example, $1 billion for the census. For example, $300 million to buy cars for the Federal government. For example, $50 million for the National Endowment for the Arts. And the list goes on and on. There are several, several spending — several dollars included in the stimulus that it’s not apparent to me why they necessarily had to be in the stimulus package, what they have to do with actually stimulating the economy.
But I think what’s also important today is the president talked about a couple of other things. He talked about the fact that now going forward, now that the stimulus bill has been written and passed into law, it is important that we ensure those dollars are spent with as much accountability and transparency as possible.
Secondly, harder both the President and the Treasury Secretary talk about the fact it is going to be absolutely critical to make sure our financial markets are working. That if we don’t get the financial markets working again, the stimulus will not be effective. And that is absolutely critical. And I also heard the President today say he welcomed the debate. Welcomed the honest disagreements, philosophy, and opinions. but we also, I want to echo what the leaders of NGA said today, that I appreciate the opportunity to come and to listen to the President, to talk with him and his senior administration officials. We had a chance to meet with senior cabinet officials and I think that healthy dialogue was very good.