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May 19, 2009


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House Speaker Bobby Harrell

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Majority Leader Kenny Bingham

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Sanford Completes Budget “Moonwalk”

Finishes his stimulus retreat with reckless vetoes

COLUMBIA – House Republican leaders responded to Governor Mark Sanford’s reckless budget vetoes Tuesday afternoon.

“First, this so-called stimulus bill should have never been passed, and second, we would have liked to use the money on paying down debt. However, the federal package was passed into law despite our objections and the President said twice we could not use it to pay down debt. It is simply not legally possible to do what the Governor is saying; it would only ensure that South Carolina’s money would be sent to other states while our citizens are left paying it back. The Governor’s vetoes takes away money that would keep teachers in the classroom and criminals in prisons. We owe it to our teachers and law enforcement officers to override these vetoes.”

The governor vetoed the entirety of Part 1A and Part 3 of the budget – almost all of the money he vetoed goes to paying teachers and keeping schools open, providing healthcare, and putting law enforcement on our streets. The budget approved by the House last week cut most state agencies by about 20 percent to save $1 billion.

“To keep our hard-earned tax dollars from being spent in other states, we are grudgingly accepting the federal money to keep our teachers, doctors and law enforcement officers employed,” said Majority Leader Kenny Bingham. “Do I wish Congress had approved this money? No, but we are left with no real choice. My children will be paying this back for decades and we owe it to them to ensure we don’t pass a ‘chaos’ budget, as the governor put it.”

Assistant Majority Leader Bruce Bannister said: “The governor once again requests that the General Assembly adopt a spending cap, which is something the House Republicans have approved a half-dozen times over the past 10 years. At the same time, we understand this is one-time money, and we have instructed our state agency heads to prepare for a major shortfall in two years. The House Republicans have no intention of replacing this federal money with state money.”

Since first saying the federal government should not bail out South Carolina back in November, the governor has slowly and smoothly waffled from his original position in every subsequent statement and press release:

Sanford’s Stimulus Moonwalk

November 15, 2008 (Wall Street Journal): “Don’t Bail Out My State.”

February 19th (Fox News): (Sanford) made clear his opposition to the stimulus bill, however. “I think it’s a horrible idea. I think it has real bad ramifications for this country and for this economy going forward,” Sanford told FOX News. He also told CBS’ “The Early Show” that being against the plan “doesn’t preclude taking the money.”

March 11th (McClatchy News Service): “South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford on Wednesday became the first governor to reject some of his state’s share of President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus money, spurning $700 million that he said would harm his state’s residents in the long run.”

March 20th (Governor’s Office Press Release): “Governor Mark Sanford today announced that since the White House has denied his request to use $700 million of the $2.8 billion in stimulus dollars to pay down state debt, he will not be seeking certification of that quarter of stimulus funds.”

April 3rd (Letter to Peter Orszag, director of Office of Management and Budget): “On behalf of the people of South Carolina, please allow this letter to certify that we will accept funds …. We remain committed to working with our General Assembly to use certified funds allocated in a responsible manner despite our reservations with regard to their ability to produce the intended effect of a more stable national economy.”

May 19th (Governor’s Office Veto Message): Despite two rejections from the federal government, Sanford reiterates we should pay down SOME of the state debt with it and vetoes all of the stimulus money.


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