Their decision places them at odds with Gov. Crist and the GOP-dominated Senate, but they appear unwilling to compromise at this point:
House Republican leaders say they’re willing to accept most of the $2.9 billion in economic stimulus money Congress made available to Florida to help laid-off workers.
“Most” means everything but the $444 million in unemployment compensation money Gov. Charlie Crist and Senate Republicans want to spend to expand the number of people who would qualify for the checks in Florida.
Taking the money would require the state to pay roughly $70 million through the end of 2009 as its contribution to the program, but also potentially carries greater costs because the federal money only pays for the extra checks for two months, House staff said. It could also hasten the depletion of the state’s unemployment compensation trust fund – likely triggering an increase in unemployment taxes paid by businesses. The fund is scheduled to run dry by the end of June, but expanding the pool of potential applicants for unemployment checks could drain it sooner, staff said.