AIKEN South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford was in Aiken this morning, discussing a state budget that he says is fundamentally flawed and touting his idea that some of the federal stimulus funding coming to his state needs to be used to pay down debt.
The governor first met with the Aiken County Republican Party and then moved on to the Rotary Club of Aiken, telling members of both groups he plans to lay out vetoes and reform proposals for the budget to the state legislature on Tuesday.
The governor wouldnt reveal his planned vetoes.
I think we need to go back to the drawing board, he said, adding that he has problems with how the current budget would create a $744 million financial hole for the state in 24 months. He said he also has problems with how the legislatures budget requires him to spend every dollar of the stimulus money.
He told the days crowd he intends to accept the stimulus funding for his state but he feels 10 percent of it should be placed into a reserve for debt payments.
Youve got a lot of discretion (with a 10 percent reserve) that you dont have if youre at the far end of the bell curve in debt, he said, adding We think its the financially prudent thing to do.
He said he believes the federal law establishing the stimulus funds allows him to have discretion over how that 10 percent is spent, adding that the legislatures requirement for him to spend every cent of the stimulus money raises a larger Constitutional question that he said could work its way into court.
The governor said paying down South Carolinas debt is important because the state currently ranks fourth highest in the U.S. per capita when it comes to the amount allocated for debt.