Sweet: Jindal rejects $98 million in stimulus money for Louisiana

In one fell swoop, he’s stolen Sanford’s thunder as stimulus critic-in-chief. Risky, but I like it.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal announced Friday that he will decline stimulus money specifically targeted at expanding state unemployment insurance coverage, becoming the first state executive to officially refuse any part of the federal government’s payout to states…

“The federal money in this bill will run out in less than three years for this benefit and our businesses would then be stuck paying the bill,” Jindal said. “We must be careful and thoughtful as we examine all the strings attached to the funding in this package. We cannot grow government in an unsustainable way.”

NOLA says he’ll accept cash for transportation infrastructure and a modest increase in unemployment benefits but drew the line at unemployment insurance lest it mean a $12 million tax hike for Louisiana businesses three years from now. Needless to say, he’s out of the gate quickly on this for two reasons: to give him fiscal conservative bragging rights vis-a-vis Palin and the rest of the GOP’s rising stars, and of course to give the weekend talk shows a chance to buzz about him before his rebuttal to The One’s State of the Union on Tuesday night. The left will naturally hammer him for hating the poor — or, per Jim Clyburn, black people — but by framing it as a savings to businesses he can sell it as something that’ll produce more employment in the long run. Exit question: Good move or no?