Politics & Government

Sanford urges S.C. stimulus opponents to call lawmakers

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Gov. Mark Sanford urged South Carolina residents opposed to using federal aid in the state budget to call lawmakers as they work out a final budget compromise this week.

The $5.7 billion draft budget, Sanford said, puts off needed cuts and reforms by tapping $350 million in federal stimulus money. Sanford has said he will not accept the stimulus money unless lawmakers pay off an equal amount of state debt.

"This is the time to stand and be counted with regard to the stimulus money," Sanford said. "We're going to paper over all of those changes that might be made and simply spend the money."

Sanford has blocked the money for months, prompting rallies in support of and opposition to the governor's stance.

Lawmakers said Monday they expect to reach an agreement between House and Senate versions of the budget quickly. Once a budget containing the stimulus money becomes law, most observers believe a court will have to decide who controls the money.

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