Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sanford Ready For Consequences of Refusing To Spend Stimulus Cash

Posted by Greg Hambrick on Wed, Mar 11, 2009 at 3:17 PM

Gov. Mark Sanford tells the City Paper he's "comfortable with the consequences," and prepared for $700 million in federal aid to be spent elsewhere rather than having to spend it in the Palmetto State.

Sanford has requested a waiver to spend that money (about 25 percent of the what was allocated for South Carolina) to pay down debt rather than use it in to support state programs and education initiatives. If the president refuses the request, Sanford says he's prepared to see the money spent somewhere else.

"The easiest thing in the world would have been to accept the money and move on," he says. "But it would have been completely at odds with the decision-making framework I've used for the last 15 years of my life."

Sanford's address Wednesday was met by detractors who want the money spent on more jobs, as well as supporters who agree with the governor that the burden of paying back this spending would be too costly.

There was a provision included in the stimulus bill by House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) which would allow a state legislature to override a governor's refusal. It was seen as a preemptive attempt to work around Sanford's politics.

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