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October 25, 2006 | South Carolina Headlines


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Gov. Sanford, Comp. General Eckstrom Urge "Bigger Payback"
April 28, 2005

Gov. Sanford, Comp. General Eckstrom Urge "Bigger Payback"

Columbia, S.C. - April 28, 2005 - Fresh off of a trip to New York City where they met with rating agencies to discuss South Carolina's fiscal health, Gov. Mark Sanford and Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom today met with reporters to urge additional repayment of money taken from trust and reserve funds in previous budget years. The governor and General Eckstrom, who led the fight to eliminate South Carolina's unconstitutional $155 million deficit from fiscal year 2001-02 during this current fiscal year, today said that the General Assembly needs to show the same leadership in addressing our state's current financial shortfalls.      

"We need a bigger payback when it comes to restoring money that's been taken from our state's trust and reserve accounts," Gov. Sanford said. "There are a number of different things we can do to strengthen our hand in terms of protecting our state's Triple-A credit rating, but clearly one of the most important things as far as the rating agencies are concerned is to pay down the money owed to these trust and reserve funds. We pay fees whenever we call 9-1-1 or fill up our cars with gas, money that's supposed to go to dedicated trust funds. Let me be clear: We either need to get serious about paying these funds back and only spending that money on what we're supposed to, or we need to cut the fees and stop passing the burden onto the taxpayers."

Gov. Sanford's Executive Budget and subsequent proposals call for over $360 million to go toward restoring money taken from trust and reserve funds in recent years. The current Legislative budget moving toward the governor's desk only repays $117 million. Just this week, the State Senate outlined spending priorities for millions of dollars in "wish-list" funding (on top of the $619 million in new revenue already coming into the state), yet none of those additional dollars were devoted to restoring South Carolina's fiscal health by replenishing trust and reserve funds. 

"Gov. Sanford has made it clear that we need to start planning for a hurricane long before we see the storm clouds gathering outside of our window," Gen. Eckstrom said. "Unfortunately, the General Assembly is not doing that with this budget. We are moving perilously down the path of taking a broken umbrella into a Class Five Hurricane and hoping that we stay dry. The taxpayers need to know that this budget could very well leave them - and our state's Triple-A credit rating - all wet." 

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