Stimulus Deadline Looms for Skeptical SC Gov. Sanford

As fiscal situation worsens, SC governor's stimulus refusal draws ire
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 2, 2009 8:43 AM CDT
In this 2008 file photo, South Carolina's Gov. Mark Sanford gives the State of the State address to the a joint session of the Legislature at the Statehouse in Columbia.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has until Friday to choose between the philosophical and the fiscal as the deadline to accept $700 million in federal stimulus money approaches, the Wall Street Journal reports. Sanford wants authority over the funds, earmarked for education and public safety, and has pledged to refuse them unless the legislature agrees to pay down debt—an action it says it can’t afford.

Overseeing the nation’s second-highest unemployment rate (11%) and shortfalls across education, Sanford risks alienating even his most strident supporters. The governor has not refused $2.8 billion for roads, but feels much of the stimulus is unwarranted and eventually harmful spending. South Carolina has cut its budget by $1 billion since August and will likely lay off up to 5,000 teachers without the money. (Read more Mark Sanford stories.)