Sanford prepares budget vetoes

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AIKEN --- South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford plans to challenge the Legislature today over a state budget he calls "fundamentally flawed."

He told two Aiken groups Monday that he is preparing his vetoes and will reveal them to the General Assembly today.

The governor met with the Aiken County Republican Party and the Rotary Club of Aiken, discussing his problems with the budget and stating after the meetings, "I think we need to go back to the drawing board."

Mr. Sanford said he has problems with the way the Legislature's budget requires him to spend every dollar of federal stimulus money without paying down debt.

South Carolina stands to see $2.8 billion in federal stimulus cash heading to state agencies and programs during the next two years, according to the Associated Press.

Mr. Sanford would have had to request almost $700 million, but he previously said he wouldn't take the federal money unless it was used to pay down debt. The White House twice rejected that approach.

He said Monday that he intends to accept the stimulus funding but thinks 10 percent of it should be placed into a reserve for debt payments. The governor said he believes the federal law establishing the funds allows him to have discretion over how 10 percent of that money is spent.

Mr. Sanford said the Legislature's 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 Carolina's debt is important because the state ranks fourth highest in the U.S. per capita when it comes to the amount allocated for debt.

Reach Preston Sparks at (803) 648-1395, ext. 110, or


The Legislature lumped $348 million in federal stabilization cash intended to ease the recession's toll in a separate part of the budget that makes the stakes clear to the public. The lack of stimulus cash will yank $185 million from public schools, $100 million from colleges and $50 million from prisons, police and courts.


"The budget is written in a way to make a political point. That's a very irresponsible way to write a budget." -- Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer

Mr. Sawyer said the governor will detail his vetoes this afternoon but wouldn't say how many there might be. In 2005, Mr. Sanford issued only one veto, but in 2007 he issued 243.


"It is a very clear picture of what doesn't get funded if the stimulus is not included in the budget." -- House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston

Legislators in both chambers have three days to wrap up work on bills they'll otherwise have to leave behind until January.

-- Associated Press

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patriciathomas 05/19/09 - 06:35 am
Gov Sanford doesn't realize

Gov Sanford doesn't realize if every state takes the "stimulus" money they will be selling all states rights so we can all become exactly alike. All so totally indebted to the federal government, there'll be no need for a state legislature.

dadgethiskids 05/19/09 - 10:14 am
Gov. Sanford is doing an

Gov. Sanford is doing an outstanding job for the taxpaying citizens of South Carolina. PT you are correct in your rant. Most individual do not know that the federal gov. already has over 400 (unfunded) mandate in each state. I agreed with the gov. that state debt should be our first priority. Once that debt is paid down(lower interest rates) and the economy is on the upswing, the state will be in a far more attractive position to grow new businesses throughout the state.

elliottness 05/19/09 - 10:25 am
2nd ranter say what? doesn't

2nd ranter say what? doesn't it seem strange that the other 49 states are taking the money, and surely they have state debt.sanford has done nothing in his terms.we have not created any jobs other than walgreen's, bojangles, and dollar general stores.these places hire high school students and elderly people, wow! talk about stimulus! we have the 3rd highest unemployment rate, yankees come here buy cheap cigarettes take them up north and make a killing on them.that really helps us doesn't it? if it wasn't for the handout of the federal gov't most states would go under.

77777 05/19/09 - 11:07 am
Yeah, Sanford has a great

Yeah, Sanford has a great plan!! Let's layoff teachers, cut school funding, heck we are already at the bottom in education, we can't fall any further. By gosh we are gonna send a message to rest of the nation, "we don't need the stinkin' money". However, we are still going to pay this money back, eventhough other states get the aid. We have a REAL smart leader.

The Knave
The Knave 05/19/09 - 01:45 pm
patriciathomas and Mark

patriciathomas and Mark Sanford make a great pair. Two obnoxious, bumbling, stumbling regressionists babbling incessant inanities --- "Sound and fury, signifying nothing." Sanford's reign of economic terror has been an unmitigated disaster for South Carolina, just as was his hero's, The Shrub's for the Republic. South Carolina is at the bottom or near the bottom of every quality-of-life measure. Guess which states are at the top? Well, surprise, surprise, it's those "liberal" bastions of evil and evil-doers. South Carolina was a basket-case when Sanford took office and now the basket itself is crumbling, thanks to him and his criminal friends (Demon-rat and Republi-con, alike) in the General Assembly. One of South Carolin's biggest fiscal problems was the legislation several years ago that traded a decrease in property taxes for an increase in sales tax, which Sanford endorsed. This was an ill-conceived, highly regressive change that primarily benefited Sanford and his buddies who live in multi-million dollar residences (I can still hear the cheering from the Charleston Battery and Isle of Palms.) Renters and owners of modest homes picked up the tab for this atrocity.

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