Will Governor Mark Sanford and leading state lawmakers reach a compromise over the $700 million in stimulus funds? The Governor has plenty of time to negotiate an amount by which state debt may be paid down. He doesn’t have to make a decision on whether or not to take the funds until next year, and then a few years after that before all the money must be distributed.
Former Governor Jim Hodges is familiar with the process of negotiation between the Governor’s office and budget writers in the General Assembly. He negotiated as a Democratic leader in the House, as well as governor. Hodges says you never know when compromise will occur.
“I think it’s very difficult given the posture of the governor, for there to be much of a compromise on that. And I think every penny of that $700 million is needed to keep people in their jobs, to keep our kids in school and to keep cops on the street. All those things are critically important and I’m not sure why the House or Senate leadership need to compromise on that point. The people are squarely behind them on this.”
State Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman said last week that he would immediately be willing to talk about paying off state debt up to approximately $30 million.