Gov. Mitch Daniels said he generally supports a federal stimulus package that would include some money for Indiana and other
states, particularly for infrastructure projects such as highways and bridges.
Daniels was among about 40 governors who recently met with President-elect Barack Obama in Philadelphia to discuss the impact
the faltering economy is having on states. Obama told them he wants their help in designing a package to help states cope
with the recession as part of an overall economic recovery plan that also would include tax cuts.
Although Indiana has a balanced budget and a surplus, many states face shortfalls and are seeking federal funds. Indiana’s
revenue collections for the first five months of this fiscal year — the second year of the current two-year budget —
below levels for the same period last year.
Some governors have asked for at least $40 billion to help pay for health care for the poor and disabled and perhaps $136
billion more in infrastructure projects like road and bridge repairs in the legislation, which Democrats hope to have ready
for Obama’s signature as soon as he takes office on Jan. 20.
Daniels has not signed onto a specific request for states, but said it was likely a stimulus package would be approved quickly.
He said he was hopeful that it would focus on putting more people to work immediately.
"I think that ought to be the touchstone, not to bail out states that spent more than they should have, and that clearly
gone on in many cases," Daniels said. "But if it particularly concentrates on infrastructure, then I think it has
to help and we will clearly try to put it to good use in Indiana."
Daniels said Indiana is in better shape than other states when it comes to infrastructure funding. He was referring to the
$3.8 billion the state received for leasing the Indiana Toll Road — money that is largely paying for highway and other
"Indiana may be better fixed here than any other state in the union, but we have plenty of other projects and if Congress
sends us a check, we will cash it," he said.