March 11th, 2009
03:25 PM ET
14 years ago

Dem govs urge SC lawmakers to override Sanford on stimulus

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="South Carolina's Republican Gov. Mark Sanford would like to use part of his state's stimulus money to pay down state debt."]
(CNN) - Democratic governors are urging South Carolina’s legislature to override Gov. Mark Sanford’s decision to reject a portion of the funds from the stimulus package.

“Every state should be laser-focused right now on one issue: jobs, jobs, jobs," said Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, vice chair of the Democratic Governors Association, in a statement. "Governors are supposed to get things done, and nothing is more important than putting people to work using every tool you have to create jobs. This rejection is less about the people of South Carolina than it is Sanford's political ambitions.”

Sanford maintains that spending the funds would only make the state’s financial situation worse in the long term. The governor on Wednesday slammed President Obama’s stimulus plan, saying it could make the United States like Zimbabwe. “What you're doing is buying into the notion that if we just print some more money that we don't have, send it to different states - we'll create jobs. If that's the case why isn't Zimbabwe a rich place?” he said. “Because they're printing money they don't have and sending it around … that same logic is being applied there with little effect.”

The Republican governor wants to use a quarter of his state’s stimulus money to pay down its debt instead of using it on new spending, according to a letter he sent state legislators Tuesday. He plans to ask Obama for permission to do so.

Sanford’s request applies only to the $700 million in stimulus funds that he has discretion over, according to the terms of the stimulus bill. The remaining 75 percent - or roughly $2.1 billion - due to South Carolina will be spent as directed by federal law, Sanford said in his letter.

The governor told his state’s lawmakers that he believed spending the funds would only make the state’s financial situation worse in the long term. But, he said, because taxpayers will still be required to pay for the federal spending in other states, “a blanket rejection of the funds would be unwise.”

In the news release from the DGA, Nathan Daschle, the DGA’s executive director, said: “If this weren't really happening, it would be a joke.

"Real people in South Carolina are suffering. They've been laid off. They're struggling to put food on the table. They are poring over want ads that get thinner every day. And now their governor thinks he's too good for this help, even as the economy gets worse. He even wants to give cash to banks instead of putting it back in the economy. If I were them, I'd move to North Carolina,” he said.

Filed under: economic stimulus • Mark Sanford • South Carolina
soundoff (7 Responses)
  1. Not Buying It

    What happened to the ability of a state to be soverign to itself? If they don't want the money, then there are plenty of other states who do!

    March 11, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  2. Bonnie

    Having lived in SC for a few years recently, I know that there are a lot of really good people, but I also learned that the good ol'boys network and ruling group are still in control. This just confirms it. While I lived there I was amazed almost every day how the power group in Columbia totally disregarded the very people they were supposed to be working for. It is a sad day when the only rally cry that a whole state has after all these years of Republican rule, is "Thank God for Mississipi". People of SC, you need to clean house and get rid of the ones that have been keeping you so poor, under-educated, and behind almost every other state in the country. Your state has so much beauty, good will, and good people, you deserve and should demand much better from your elected leaders. Go for it, throw the bums out.

    March 11, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  3. steven

    That is one reason I moved to North Carolina! Sanford has presidential ambitions but he needs to focus on South Carolinians! They have one of the highest unemployment rates and he wants to do everything but what he was told to do with it!!! SPEND IT and CREATE JOBS!!! Listen Little Bush Wannabe!

    March 11, 2009 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  4. HSmartt

    The final insult- he has bankrupted the state due to his ineptness and now is disdainful of the stimulus funds. He should be impeached!

    March 11, 2009 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  5. 2young2vote-OR

    Well...I guess we can't really make them take the money...he just better do his job

    March 11, 2009 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  6. victor

    Its time to put the people of SC first. Gov Sanford we need leadership in this hour not political games. The state looks depressed. Show courage! Shut up and simply lead.

    March 12, 2009 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  7. Zach

    Glad to see where his priorities are. The death of the GOP.

    March 12, 2009 07:47 am at 7:47 am |