The Supreme Court of South Carolina ruled yesterday that Governor Mark Sanford must accept the $700 million in federal stimulus money that was set aside for his state.
The court said the state’s legislature – which has already passed a budget including the funds – has the power to accept or reject the money, not the governor.
Media reports have suggested the Republican governor’s efforts were based on his belief that increased spending would bring a crushing debt burden on future generations.
"This decision is terrible news for every taxpayer in South Carolina, and even more so for future taxpayers who will ultimately bear the responsibility of paying for this so-called ‘stimulus’ without seeing any benefit from it," he commented.
However, the decision was hailed by state educators who feared teachers could lose their jobs and colleges be forced to increase tuition without the funds.
"It was so unnecessary and took so long to do what 49 other states figured out how to do a long time ago," said state Education Superintendent Jim Rex.
"It will allow districts to immediately begin to reconstitute programs and fill positions they didn’t think they could fill," he added.
In February, Congress passed the economic stimulus package worth $787 billion in an effort to jump start the economy.
According to the Associated Press, in April South Carolina had the third-highest unemployment rate in the country at 11.5 percent.