Release – Responsible Actions Taken, Dangerous Vetoes Overridden
Office of the Speaker
SOUTH CAROLINA HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 20, 2009
Contact: Greg Foster
Responsible Actions Taken, Dangerous Vetoes Overridden
House preserves funding for teachers and law enforcement officers
(Columbia, SC) – House Speaker Bobby Harrell issued the following statement on the House’s decision to preserve funding for teachers, law enforcement officers and prisons:
“This year marked one of the most difficult budget years our state has ever faced. The General Assembly chose to balance the budget by cutting government spending instead of raising taxes. By cutting waste and increasing efficiencies, lawmakers passed a balanced budget that prioritizes our state resources and allows government to function.
“A vast majority of us in the House strongly opposed the ‘so-called’ stimulus bill Congress passed and would rather have used the money to pay down state debt. However, this measure became law despite the concerns of many and using it to pay down debt was deemed a legal impossibility by Federal authorities. That being the case, lawmakers decided to utilize these funds marked for education and law enforcement instead of sending South Carolina’s money to other states because our citizens would have to pay it back either way.
“After all, the Governor has already taken the necessary steps in accepting 90% of the $8 billion in stimulus money slated for South Carolina. Since Governor Sanford has already signed letters requesting other stimulus funds – such as the $50 million for energy upgrades to buildings he requested months ago – it makes sense to also tap this education and law enforcement money.
“By rejecting only the education and law enforcement portions of the stimulus money coming to South Carolina, Governor Sanford put thousands of teachers’ jobs in jeopardy, threatened the closing of 4 prisons and the release of 3,400 convicted felons.
“The House took the responsible step of overriding this dangerous move. And because of our actions today our students will have teachers in their classrooms, police will remain on the streets and prisoners will stay behind bars. With South Carolinians responsible for the repayment of this money, we owed it to our students, teachers, police officers and citizens to make this responsible decision.”
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