Tax Plan Irks GOP Governors Not with Our Cash, State Leaders Say
ST. LOUIS -- Suspicious of their party leaders in Washington, Republican governors applauded Congress' tax-cut plan yesterday but warned that they will not let GOP lawmakers raid state budgets to pay for it.
Republican congressional leaders have considered asking the nation's governors to return up to $6 billion in welfare money to help balance the books on their 10-year, $792 billion tax-cut proposal.
Several governors accused fellow Republicans in Washington of trying to renege on pledges to ship the money to states.
"This must be a calamitous staff error, because I can't believe they would do this to us," said Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma, attending the four-day National Governors' Association meeting, which opened yesterday.
A growing force in Republican politics, the GOP governors said they are confident congressional leaders will back down.
But even the prospect of success has not dampened the state leaders' bitterness. For most governors, the first word of a plan to seek state money came from media accounts -- not Republicans in Washington.
Governors do not like being kept out of the loop, especially after the leadership promised in 1998 to give them a greater role in framing policy and political strategy.
"With any partnership, you've got to make sure your partner is reliable," Gov. …