Friday, March 13, 2009 | 2:07 a.m.
Nevada’s unemployment rate of 9.4 percent in January, the highest since August 1983, is all the evidence one needs to realize that many of our relatives, friends and neighbors require a helping hand to make it through this brutal economy.
President Barack Obama and Congress responded to the nation’s crisis by approving a massive economic stimulus package designed to put people back to work while assisting the jobless with enhanced unemployment and social service benefits. With its unemployment rate exceeded by only six other states, Nevada surely can use all the financial help it can muster.
But Gov. Jim Gibbons, in keeping with his status as the worst governor in the nation, wrote a bizarre letter to Obama on Tuesday regarding the stimulus package. Gibbons wrote that Nevada might reject some federal money that comes with matching fund requirements and other obligations, while conceding that stimulus dollars “will provide relief to otherwise necessary state budget reductions and will provide jobs in Nevada.”
The governor also complained that Nevadans weren’t getting a fair share of the stimulus money.
That is precisely why Nevada should pursue all available federal money, including that which requires a state match. One reason Nevada typically gets less federal money than its taxpayers send to Washington has been the state’s unwillingness to expand its programs so it can take full advantage of federal matches.
With the unemployment rate rising in Nevada, having reached 10 percent in Las Vegas, we can ill afford to let our federal stimulus dollars go unclaimed.