Without doing much research (watching CNN and an old John Stossel public school special), I have developed a liking for the governor of South Carolina.
South Carolina’s Governor Mark Sanford and some other Governors like Louisianna’s Governor Bobby Jindal opposed federal economic stimulus money early on when the bill was still being passed around the Hill. Despite the fact that, like many other states, South Caroline is facing budget shortfalls and some belt tightening, Governor Sanford recognized how accepting cash now would mean even bigger budget problems down the road.In an attempt to thwart this spat of federalism and state sovereignty, House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn inserted an amendment to the economic stimulus plan that gives state legislators the power to override state governors.
Now, Governor Sanford has become the first governor to formally reject the stimulus funds. In a letter to Congress and the President requesting a waiver, the governor outlined how funds would be put to better use paying down debt rather than starting new programs that would always require more funds, or by temporarily propping up some part of the budget and thereby mask holes that will still be there after the funds are gone. Accepting the stimulus money would mean wreck budgetary havoc and put off the tough decisions that every state needs to make. The Governor also explained that he would not be seeking the funds stipulated to expand unemployment benefits.
The best part about keeping track of this ordeal is the opposition. Sanford has been deemed a “racist” because the bailout money could go to poor black communities in South Carolina. This act has been considered a “publicity stunt,” for Sanford might be running for president in 2012. He’s just trying to market his “fiscal conservative” nature.
I’ll be interested in keeping track of this story — I just hope he doesn’t cave in — and I hope he gives logical, libery-minded reasons to not accepting the bailout money.