Stop Worrying, Florida
The Sunshine State is one of a handful that says it can't meet the maintenance of effort requirements in the economic stimulus package, which mandate that states keep education funding at 2006 levels in order to receive the cash.
The law allows U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan to waive maintenance of effort requirements for states that are in particularly dire fiscal straits. On a conference call last week with the media, an Education Department consultant told a reporter from Florida that the department wasn't going to issue blanket waivers and was going to look at each state on a case-by-case basis.
But, seriously, I don't think Florida should be sweating this one. There's no way that President Obama is going to travel to economically struggling Fort Myers, Fla., to stump for the stimulus, appear with Gov. Charlie Cristone of just a few prominent Republicans govs to make a big show of support for the super-sized spending packageand then deny the state access to its share of a huge chunk of the money.
And, then there's the matter of those 27 electoral votes and Florida's status as one of the swingiest swing states. Mr. Obama wants to be re-elected, after all, and letting the state lay off thousands of teachers isn't a good way to launch his 2012 campaign.
At least two of the other states likely to seek waivers, according to this story: Nevada, home to Senate President Harry Reid, and California, home to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, House Education, Labor Chairman George Miller, and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, another gov who had the administration's back when others were crying foul about the cost of the measure.
Anything can happen, of course, but my guess? They'll be just fine too.