Douglas says Governors will focus on economic stimulus

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Governor Jim Douglas says he’ll encourage President-elect Barack Obama to consider increasing support for Medicaid and transportation projects. Douglas will meet with Obama on Tuesday at the National Governors Association meeting.

Douglas says the Governors will focus on a new economic stimulus plan:

(Douglas) "It may include several components some additional support for transportation infrastructure because that can create jobs and get some necessary projects underway. And secondly, some additional support for Medicaid, in a recession, the Medicaid caseload continues to grow, so it’s important that the safety net program continue for those who need it."

(Host) Douglas spoke with NPR News yesterday.  He says more federal support for Medicaid would help alleviate increasing pressure on state budgets. And Douglas says every billion dollars spent on transportation projects could create 35,000 new jobs.

As a Republican, Douglas says he would normally encourage restraint in spending at the state and federal level.

(Douglas) "But at a time of recession, history and economics indicate that additional federal appropriations can really make a difference, one economist who testified before the US Senate budget committee said that over the next two or three years the unemployment rate could be two or three percentage points lower if the federal government were to take these important steps."

(Host) Douglas says he hopes Obama will work closely with the governors on matters of mutual interest. As Vice Chair of the National Governors Association, Douglas will host the event with Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania.

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