President-elect Barack Obama met with most of the nations governors last week in Philadelphias Independence Hall, where he discussed how the national recession is impacting individual states. Obama also wanted to get feedback on what could be his first official act as president in January signing into law a stimulus package, estimated to be as much as $700 billion, to help cash-strapped states. Louisiana faces a $1.3 billion budget shortfall when the new fiscal year begins on July 1, 2009. Were not alone. Another 20 states already have cut $7.6 billion from their current budgets and 30 others have identified additional shortfalls totaling more than $30 billion.
Several governors deviated from the Obama script most of them Republicans who have been mentioned as possible contenders for the GOP nomination in 2012. Politics thus did not take a back seat to policy at this gathering. As for who wanted what among the rising GOP stars, consider the following:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal says he asked Obama to squeeze more money out of the Federal Emergency Management Agency and other sources to help with coastal restoration and hurricane recovery.
Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty told Fox News that he wanted Obama to postpone his planned tax increases.
A spokesperson for Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin told the Associated Press that the former VP candidate talked about energy issues.
Florida Gov. Charlie Crist reminded Obama that his state has a 7 percent unemployment rate, higher than the national average, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.