Riley, governors talk economy with Obama

Montgomery, Ala. (WSFA) -- It was an historic meeting in an historic setting.

Tuesday, President-elect Barack Obama gauged the opinions of 48 governors in Philadelphia's Independence Hall--trying to steer the economy out of harm's way.

"If we're listening to the governors, then the money that we spend is going to be well spent," Obama said.

Money is something states lack.

41 of them expect some type of budget shortfall this year.

"Almost every governor in this room has dealt, this fiscal year, with the effects of the financial crisis," said Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell.

Governor Riley attended the meeting as well.  Once home, he said state leaders are prepared for some type of financial relief, but they aren't eager to take it right away.

"I heard one characterization today that the governors were there with their hands out. That is absolutely not true," Riley said.

Though some states are struggling, many governors want to look at other options, including tax breaks and federal Medicaid relief, before asking Obama to write a check.

"If just pouring money into the problem would solve the problem, we wouldn't have this problem today," Riley said.

At the same time, Alabama won't be left in the dark if other states receive aide.

It's all part of the discussion, Riley says, as states make suggestions to the president-elect.

"We balance budgets every year, and I think we have some unique ways of doing that that I think would help the Federal government," he explained.