South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford has made a request for stimulus funds for the state’s schools. In an email sent to U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan, Sanford expressed his disagreement with the federal economic recovery law and the problems it may cause. The state Supreme Court has ordered Sanford to follow the state budget law and request the funds for schools and colleges.
Sanford believes that using the stimulus money will burden future taxpayers and create budget issues in the future. He initially wanted to use the money to pay down state debt, but legislators insisted on using it to fill budget holes until the economy improves. Despite signing an application guaranteeing proper use of the funds, Sanford stated that he cannot promise that all conditions and guarantees will be met due to the legislative approval required.
Sanford believes that this situation undermines the conditions that were supposed to be part of receiving these funds, and suspects that other governors may face similar challenges. South Carolina cannot use the money until the new budget takes effect on July 1. However, the importance lies in providing assurance to public schools that have been waiting to make budget decisions amidst Sanford’s stimulus fight.
Sanford has also dropped his legal challenges regarding the funds and has asked a federal judge to dismiss his lawsuit against the enforcement of the budget law. Two lawsuits were filed in the state’s Supreme Court to compel Sanford to request the funds, one by students and the other by school administrators.
The stimulus fight took place during a time when South Carolina’s unemployment rate reached record levels. Democrats organized rallies to criticize Sanford’s job creation efforts amidst the stimulus issue. Former Democratic Governor Jim Hodges expressed his frustration with Sanford’s focus, stating that he should have been working on job creation. Sanford’s spokesperson noted that the governor has been working towards job creation and highlighted the increase in jobs during his tenure. The spokesperson urged elected officials to work together instead of playing politics.