Given last week's passage of yet another Washington D.C. stimulus bill, dubbed by many as the "Teachers Union Bailout Bill,' Gov. Mark Sanford today issued the following statement:
"While last year's massive federal stimulus has had devastating effects on our nation's deficit and further exacerbated the Washington D.C. culture of unsustainable spending, last week's education-related Stimulus 2.0 actually makes matters worse. Indeed, this latest example of the "Washington knows best and decides all' approach to governing has very real strings attached and leaves states holding the bag with unrealistic and unfunded mandates.
"The so-called good news trumpeted last week was that under this stimulus legislation signed by President Obama, South Carolina was slated to receive an additional $143 million for education. Unfortunately, the fine print unravels the official spin. The fact is, South Carolina may well have to spend at minimum $110 million more on higher education to even apply for this federal money. Simple translation: lawmakers may have to either slash law enforcement, health care and other core government services, or raise taxes on hard-working South Carolinians, to meet these unreasonable requirements.
"I don't think it makes a lot of sense for South Carolina to pluck millions from one pocket -- including law enforcement and health care -- just to drop that money in another pocket -- in this case, education. It also doesn't make sense to spend an additional $110 million on higher education at the state level in order to pull in only $143 million of strings-attached federal dollars. This is especially the case with the specter raised that states choosing to oppose this Faustian bargain may be penalized nonetheless. On this front it's telling that Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour recently said there is "no justification for the federal government hijacking state budgets." He said this because his state will have to raid at least $50 million in funds from public safety and health care to qualify for additional education spending. Even the Washington Post argues that this bailout is misguided in its purpose and dangerous in its unintended consequences (http://tinyurl.com/2fznmxq), saying that "the crusade for an education jobs bill, led by the Obama administration and Democratic leaders in Congress, has always struck us as more of an election-year favor for teachers unions than an optimal use of public resources."
"So as the school year begins here in South Carolina, the silly season continues in Washington D.C. And even though our legal options in opposing this most recent bailout are limited, I'd ask that you keep making your voices heard and urge your respective Members of Congress to continue questioning the Obama Administration's illogical and ill-fated stimulus agenda."