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South Carolina Governor refuses $700 million in stimulus money

March 30, 2009

John O’Connor at the Miami Herald describes South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford’s decision to reject more than $700 million in federal stimulus money. State lawmakers disagree and have requested that the money, directed mainly at school related funding, be accepted by the Governor’s office:

South Carolina lawmakers on Thursday attempted to turn up the pressure on Gov. Mark Sanford to accept $700 million in federal stimulus money intended to balance state budgets by funding schools and public safety.

Without the money, lawmakers said, the impact on the state budget would be chaos.

Sanford isn’t alone in rejecting federal dollars. Alaska Governor, and former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, also rejected funds for her state, much of it directed towards education, as was pointed out here.

The specter of Governors of struggling states rejecting huge government payments in a time of economic distress is either (1) a sign of immense fiscal and ideological discipline or (2) dangerous and foolish partisan gamesmanship driven solely by political calculations. That the most glaring examples are Mark Sanford and Sarah Palin may give an indication about which of the two is more likely.

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