My friend, Keith Munson of Greenville penned an interesting letter in Sunday’s Anderson Independent Mail:
Gov. Mark Sanford’s opposition to spending the $700 million dollar stimulus money is simply that taking on debt because you have an addiction to debt is ludicrous. Only an addict would suggest otherwise. But does that mean the only solution is to use the stimulus money to pay off debt?
For years, the governor has been harping on the fact that “government in South Carolina costs 130 percent the national average.” Why? Because it is inefficient. Because it decentralizes traditional executive powers into quasi-legislative agencies, into numerous boards and commissions, and into inconsistently elected statewide constitutional officers. Because it follows a budget process that promotes “fairness” only by spending more money. Because it was crafted in 1895 for racially discriminatory purposes.
If the General Assembly could create just 15 percent efficiency in a $5 billion dollar budget, they could save $750 million. Gov. Sanford has argued that efficiency can be achieved through the governmental structural changes he was been advocating in both his terms. If the General Assembly would pass the governor’s restructuring measures, it could pave the way for Gov. Sanford to accept and use the stimulus money while maintaining his “debt-neutral” commitment. This would allow South Carolina to address the short-term exigency while achieving long-term dividends.