South Carolina lawmakers 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.
But U.S. Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., said the U.S. Department of Education may send the money to S.C. schools – even if the governor or lawmakers do not request it and argued state lawmakers should include the money in their budget.
Without half of the $700 million next year, Leatherman said, schools will lay off teachers, prisons will close and many state agencies could have their budgets virtually eliminated. State colleges, others said, could require double-digit tuition increases.
Legal scholars are divided about the constitutional questions surrounding the federal stimulus bill, and whether the Legislature can request the money if Sanford refuses to accept it by midnight April 3.