Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) has written a letter to the South Carolina state legislature explaining his decision to ask President Obama for a waiver allowing him to use federal stimulus money to pay down state debt. From the letter:
The reason we think it is not in our best interest to spend these monies lies in the fact that when one is in a hole the first order of business is to stop digging.
Spending that which is contemplated in the stimulus bill moves our state to an extremely dangerous tipping point with regard to annualization in our state’s budget … The proposed stimulus dollars would annualize over $1.2 billion in the next two years – approximately 10% of our state’s budget. This level of new annualized spending would be the largest recorded level of annualizations in the state history, and dwarfs last year’s annualization by nearly three times.
As a believer in federalism, I find it appalling that Washington would seek to effectively remake the entire budget process of the states.
Should the President grant our waiver request, we will accept the federal monies and apply them to our state debts and contingent liabilities, thereby strengthening both our short and long-term economic climate as a state. In the unfortunate case that the President would deny our request, I will not seek the funds, as I believe doing so would not help our current economic problems and would do real harm to our future financial picture.