Governor Mark Sanford continues to be a lightning rod for debate in both the House and Senate.
By a 31 to 12 vote, the State Senate approved a $5.7 billion spending plan Wednesday night after debating past midnight. The approval calls for Governor Sanford to request the $350 million in federal stimulus money. Republican Senator Larry Grooms of Berkeley says he was greatly upset with how the budget was handled. Sanford’s allies, like Grooms, say the Governor cannot be ordered to spend the money, for he wants to use it to pay down state debt.
“I support his fiscal conservatism one hundred percent. It is my belief and contention that we should hold some state dollars in reserve and then if he chooses to draw down those federal stimulus dollars lets spend them on education and health care, but only if we have a corresponding amount of money held in reserve in case state revenues decline.”
The issue of forcing Sanford to request the cash is likely to go to court.
By a narrow vote of 66-64 the measure that would make the Employment Security Commission a part of the Governor’s cabinet was sent back to committee. Chesterfield County Representative Ted Vick objected to the bill based on the behavior of the present governor.
In an exchange on the House floor with bill sponsor Lexington County Representative Kenny Bingham, Vick asked Bingham had he seen the Governor on Fox news or CNN lately? “Our Governor has been all over these news stations all over the country touting all this misrepresentation, all this misuse of funds, and all these things. He’s been the one doing all this stuff and yet we seem like we’re kowtowing to him. We’re doing what he asked us to do, which is to reform this agency and I think it’s rewarding bad behavior.”
Vick says the Governor and his Department of Commerce is in charge of recruiting industry and job creation and the Governor should look at himself as part of the state’s unemployment problem.