Both the Senate and the House were on furlough this week, but the state’s hot political topic remained the battle over the $700 million in stimulus cash controlled by the state’s chief executive. Governor Sanford sticks by his guns that he will not ask for the bulk of the stimulus money he controls unless he can use it to pay down debt. The White House has twice said no. Sanford took his fight to the Internet in a web commercial sponsored by “Carolinians for Reform.”
In the commercial, Sanford attempts to spell out his position concerning the merits of not taking the money. “For me the easy thing would be to accept money handed out from Washington, but the easy thing is not always the right thing. We proposed a budget that responsibly addresses our state’s critical needs without more debt. To get there we have to finally restructure the broken ways our government operates. There is a better way than sadling our chldren with massive debts. That is what I’ll continue to fight for.”
Democratic candidate for Governor Camden Senator Vincent Sheheen says what Sanford calls a fight he calls inertia or inaction while citizens are facing tough times, “no action to be constructive in putting people back to work, no action to be constructive in keeping our teachers employed, and no action to keep our law enforcement officers on the street. This refusal to act has real life consequences as we see even today and yesterday announced teacher layoffs in South Carolina and I say enough is enough.”
Sheheen is creating a proposal that will force Governor Sanford to apply for $350 million in federal stimulus funds. Sheheen will introduce the legislation next week.
Appearing in Finley Park Tuesday for the erection of the protest tent city called “Sanfordville” former Governor Jim Hodges offered some advice to Governor Sanford. ” I always sympathize with anyone sitting in the Governor’s chair because I’ve been there before. I think this is one where Governor Sanford needs to just admit he made a mistake in rejecting this money because the money is available to help average people keep their jobs.”
The Senate returns to work on Tuesday, the House returns April 21.