Sixth District Congressman Jim Clyburn is frustrated by Governor Mark Sanford’s unwilingness to use the $700 million stimulus money he controls for education. Clyburn says he stands by his statement that Sanford is against public education and will do anything he possibly can to destroy it.
The state faces a June 17th deadline for giving Washington its specific plans for the money. Clyburn wonders why state legislators won’t take the initiative to appropriate the money in their next budget. Clyburn says if the issue of the money moves into the court system, so be it.
“I don’t know why anybody would fail to do what you think is the right thing to do because you might get sued if you do it. That’s not the way things ought to be done. It seems to me if the Governor would not request the money the legislature can use its authority and if they get sued about it, then that’s what the courts are for.”
Sanford is sticking to his guns that he wants to use the money to pay down state debt.
Clyburn says in earlier talks with state legislative leaders he understood that they were all on board with making sure the people of South Carolina received the necessary benefit of the use of all the stimulus money that would be allocated to the state. “I didn’t do this in a vacuum. I talked with Hugh Leatherman, with Bobby Harrell, with Glenn McConnell, I talked with all the directors of the councils of government. I did it in concert with them because they wanted to be involved. I was a little taken aback when they seemed to not want to be involved after the Governor raised his objections.”
Clyburn vows to make sure that the state gets all the federal stimulus money it is due including the 18 percent that the Governor controls. Clyburn says if it takes crafting new legislation at the federal level, he will do it.
Clyburn says South Carolina taxpayers will be paying for the $700 million in stimulus money whether it is used by the state or returned. If the money is returned, it can be used by other states. Clyburn says in order to head off any use of the money by other states he is prepared to draft new legislation to see that South Carolina has another chance at receiving the funds.
“The easy thing to do is for us to draft legislation that will say any money coming back, not being used by the states, will be reallocated among the states giving first priority to the state from which the money came and use the formula applied to the 82 percent.”
The present formula for the stimulus money is that 82 percent would be allocated directly to the states, with 18 percent being controlled directly by the Governor of each state.