“I completely disagreed with what they did in Washington creating the stimulus money because what they did was they borrowed money for operating budgets. It’s alright to borrow money to build a building to borrow money to buy equipment, but to borrow money simply to operate government and pay salaries and things like that for a year or two, which is what they did, is a very bad economic thing to do and I strongly disagree with what they did in Washington,” says Harrell.
However, after stimulus package was approved, Harrell says South Carolina taking the money was something that needed to be done.
“Once they did it, and it was the law of the land, and everybody across the country was going to pay taxes to pay that money back whether we take our share or not, it didn’t make sense to me to say ‘don’t give us our money, we’ll pay our share of taxes paying it back, we’re okay with that, we just don’t want our money, give our money to someone else,” says Harrell.
Harrell says he wasn’t sure if Sanford was going to apply for the money.
“I don’t know if we did know it. It was up to him whether or not he wanted to apply for it, he didn’t have to if he didn’t want to. It was completely in his court, and that’s where we find ourselves. Frankly, I was concerned that he might not,” says Harrell.
Most of the money will go toward public schools in the state, and Sanford said Monday he is only taking it because of the Supreme Court order. Harrell says it seems to serve as a block for cutting jobs in education.
“I think if two years from now if the economy doesn’t come back any, and we are in the same position we are in economically except we don’t have the stimulus money, that in two years we would make the cuts that we would be making right now. Without the stimulus money, we’d just be making cuts right now, instead the cuts have been delayed for two years. I hope the money goes to the classroom level, to the kids like it supposed to go. A lot of the money flows directly to the school districts and all we have the authority to do is to accept it or reject it,” says Harrell.
Harrell says even with the stimulus dollars, the school districts still have less money in their budget than last year.