Posts Tagged ‘mark sanford’
FOR RELEASE ON JULY 1, 2009
Statement by Tom Davis re: Governor Mark Sanford
I came to Columbia today because I have a responsibility to the taxpayers of Beaufort County and the people of South Carolina. Obviously I have tremendous concern for my friends, Mark and Jenny Sanford and their family, but I also have a job to do as an elected official.
Before any important decision I make comes due diligence, and I owe it to my constituents to perform that due diligence before taking a public position on an issue as important as whether to call for the resignation of a duly-elected statewide official.
Accordingly, I have met today with the governor and members of his staff; I have had telephone conversations with my friend, Jenny Sanford; I have talked with the governor’s legislative supporters and opponents; and I have talked with key reform leaders who have been fighting for the issues I believe in – fiscal responsibility, limited government, market principles and individual liberty.
I am also planning on speaking today with Attorney General Henry McMaster and SLED Chief Reggie Lloyd, and am I particularly interested in learning the outcome of SLED’s review as to whether the governor has ever illegally used any state funds. I am told that review will be completed by tomorrow.
Again, this is a critical decision for the State of South Carolina and I want to rely on firsthand conversations, not media reports, rumors, political pressure or speculation.
Based on these conversations, I expect to form my official position very shortly. But I can assure you that whatever official position I ultimately reach will be one that I truly believe to be in the best interests of the people of Beaufort County in particular and the state of South Carolina in general.
In the meantime, I would encourage all South Carolinians to keep the Sanfords in their thoughts and prayers.
Last Wednesday, the Senate Finance Chairman and each of his finance committee chairmen told State Senators what the budget would look like if it didn’t include the $700 million dollars of stimulus money ($350 million for this fiscal year) that Gov. Mark Sanford has said he will not accept if he can’t use it to pay down state debt.
My position in regard to this $700 million – a portion of the $8 billion in overall federal stimulus money allocated to South Carolina – is different than Gov. Sanford’s. I want him to apply for this $700 million, even if he can’t use it all for debt reduction. If it can’t be use for debt reduction, then it should be used in other fiscally-conservative ways that are permitted by the federal stimulus act, such as for capital expenditures on education infrastructure.
The primary objective, I think, is to avoid using the federal stimulus money to pay for things that will need continued funding after the federal stimulus spigot is turned off in two years. And along with other conservative legislators, I will work in the weeks ahead to broker a compromise between the governor and the House and Senate budget writers on the use of this money.
But the specific point I want to make now is this: the Senate’s budget writers showed us a budget last Wednesday that had thousands of teachers being laid off, prisons being closed, poor people being kicked out of Medicaid, and so on. It was a scary budget that we were told was inevitable if it did not include the $350 million of stimulus money for this fiscal year that Gov. Sanford has control over.
I discovered later that evening, however, that budget presented to us did not include $578 million dollars in federal stimulus money that the governor had already said he would accept. The House, in passing its budget, properly proposed the appropriation of this $578 million. But the budget presented to State Senators by the Senate budget writers did not.
The obvious question is: why didn’t they? I think that that money was intentionally excluded in order to come up with an “End of Days” budget to be used for a blatant political purpose – that is, to ratchet up pressure on the governor to apply for the federal stimulus money that he has discretion over. Again, I think applying for that money is in our state’s best interests, if we use it to pay for non-recurring items, but that does not justify the presentation of a sham budget that ignores over half a billion dollars of available revenue.
And I said exactly that at a press conference yesterday with Gov. Sanford (see video clip below, starting at the five minute mark). Please take a look and let me know what you think about this.
My remarks start at the five minute mark.
The rest of this clip can be found here.
Like Gov. Sanford, I’ve always believed that a big part of maximizing South Carolina’s competitiveness involves preserving the unique look and feel of our state.
After all, the health of our natural resources is directly linked to our financial health, and jeopardizing one means jeopardizing the other.
One thing is clear, though. You don’t accomplish either objective by becoming the nation’s dumping ground for refuse – which is precisely where our state is headed if we continue down our current path.
I made these and many other points in an interview with the Free Times newspaper in Columbia last week.
You can read that story by clicking here, but I believe the numbers bear repeating.
Almost 30% of the waste disposed of in South Carolina last year came from other states, an amount that has increased steadily over the past few years.
In 2001, our state imported 579,000 tons of garbage. Six years later, in 2007, that figure had more than tripled to 1.7 million tons, according to DHEC and the Congressional Research Service. (more…)