Commentary: Stimulus plan can work

This editorial appeared in The Rock Hill Herald.

Even Gov. Mark Sanford, one of the most outspoken critics of the federal stimulus package recently signed into law by President Obama, has conceded that South Carolina will accept at least some of the money.

On Monday, Sanford announced that he would take stimulus money to increase weekly unemployment checks by $25. Every other governor also has accepted the money.

South Carolina is slated to receive as much as $8 billion out of the $787 billion bailout for states. Sanford has been sharply critical of the stimulus but has indicated that his administration would review state needs, check to see what strings might be attached to accepting the money, and then determine what the state should take.

For example, Sanford said he would be reluctant to take money that extends unemployment benefits to part-time workers. Doing so, he said, would add more expenses to the state's unemployment trust fund and increase the taxes businesses pay into the fund.

State Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, meanwhile, has announced that his office has developed accounting codes to track the money and ensure funds are used as intended. He hopes to reduce the risk that the money is misused, routed to the wrong agency or wasted in any way.

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