Report: Sanford will OK stimulus for S.C.

April 3, 2009 at 7:59 PM

WASHINGTON, April 3 (UPI) -- South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford will meet a deadline for requesting U.S. aid under an economic stimulus bill, aides said.

Sanford was the last U.S. governor to seek hundreds of millions of dollars in stimulus funds, and his aides told McClatchy Newspapers the governor will continue to contest conditions attached to $700 million in education and law enforcement funds for his state. However, by meeting the deadline for requesting the funds, Sanford apparently will be able to avoid laying off large numbers of teachers and cutting education funding, the report said.

Joel Sawyer, a spokesman for Sanford, told McClatchy the governor would apply for all funds being made available under the federal stimulus package passed by Congress this year, but still wanted the South Carolina General Assembly "to compromise and pay down some debt with it."

The White House has rejected two proposals by Sanford to use $700 million in stimulus funds to pay down state debt, insisting that the funds be used for teacher pay and school construction or modernization.

By applying for the contested $700 million, Sanford protects most of the $8 billion in stimulus funding set aside for South Carolina, White House aides said.

"We are pleased with reports that Governor Sanford will join the other 49 governors -- Democrats and Republicans -- in filing a certification to accept Recovery Act money," Kenneth Baer, a spokesman for White House Budget Director Peter Orszag, said.

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