STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA, OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR, MARK SANFORD, GOVERNOR
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, Contact: Joel Sawyer, 803-734-2100
Governor: Spending All of Stimulus Money Wastes Chance for Reform
Columbia, S.C. – May 11, 2009 – Governor Mark Sanford today noted a number of wasteful and inefficient proposals contained in the state budget, saying they were evidence that spending every dollar from the so-called “stimulus” package will result in a missed opportunity to make much-needed changes and reforms.
In particular, the governor pointed out a Senate measure that would move the state Division of Aeronautics from the state Department of Commerce to the state Budget and Control Board – an agency unique to South Carolina and one of the least accountable in all of state government. The proposal came about after Commerce suggested a number of cost-savings measures related to the state aircraft that would involve selling state property and cutting the workforce related to plane maintenance. In total, the proposals would have generated over $363,000 in savings – something guaranteed not to happen if the Division is swallowed in the Budget and Control Board bureaucracy.
The budget also creates a so-called “Capital Police Force,” aimed at shifting existing law enforcement officers out from under the governor’s Cabinet and into legislative control, and likely forcing them to man the costly and ineffective “security” system the legislature had installed on its garage several years ago. During the time when the system was previously operational, a total of seven officers were shifted away from their duties guarding the rest of the Statehouse complex, and instead were tasked with guarding a parking garage.
“These and other examples well demonstrate that not only are budget writers refusing to look at much-needed structural reforms, they’re actually moving our state backwards in some cases,” Gov. Sanford said. “As we saw in the case of GM and Chrysler, the dangerous thing about federal money is the fact that it provides an excuse for the people whose decisions got us where we are to continue making those poor decisions. We’d urge South Carolinians who care about responsible budgeting and using a portion of the stimulus money to pay down debt to make their voices heard during the budget debate this week.”
Other examples cited by Gov. Sanford were:
– Despite a 47 percent decrease in gasoline prices, travel reimbursements are still being paid at their record high level.
– The budget contains $750,000 for hydrogen research, despite complementary federal funding being zeroed out recently after the determination was made that the technology isn’t immediately viable
– The budget contains $75,000 for the “Clemson Spring Day Dairy Exhibit.”
– Longstanding waste remains, such as $500,000 spent to operate state-run golf course parks, and nearly $1 million in costs to taxpayers to provide game day traffic control.