by Chris Haire
Gov. Mark Sanford's plan to use the funds from the stimulus package have several state legislators from the ultra-conservative Upstate scratching their heads — Sen. Thomas Alexander (R-Wallhalla), Rep. Bill Sandifer (R-Seneca,) and Sen. Larry Martin (R-Pickens) — according to a recent Daily Journal (Seneca) report.
“Although I agree to a point philosophically with him, he did not make his wishes known to us until we were nearly finished with the budget, so we’ve had to make our decisions based upon the guidelines that were presented to us from the federal level,” Sandifer said.
“He waits until we’ve finished it, and then says ‘I don’t want you to spend it that way.’ That’s extremely frustrating to us.”
“Anytime we can pay down debt, that’s a sound principal. But in these economic times, if doing that is going to take away funds for education, I can’t support that,” Alexander said. “Our best investment is providing for our students. I would not support paying down the debt rather than help us through these challenges.”
“If those discretionary funds are not used for education, there is going to be a significant deficit in k-12 and higher education. The priority needs to maintain funding for education.”
"On a policy basis, his idea is not altogether without merit but that’s not a policy decision for us to make. The policy decision has been made by Congress — the money has been allocated to South Carolina and if we don’t use it the way it was designed, it will go to other states and our citizens not only won’t benefit from it. They will have to pay it back for others to enjoy.”
You know, maybe Jim DeMint was right when he said there were going to be riots in the streets. But who would have guessed they would be on Highway 123 in the most pro-Republican part of South Carolina.