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Politics

SC mayors urge governor to accept stimulus money

http://66.225.205.104/JR20090313.mp3

South Carolina mayors are pleading with the state's governor and General Assembly to take every penny on offer from the federal stimulus package. South Carolina's governor is threatening to reject a portion of the money.

Governor Mark Sanford has been against the stimulus package from the start, saying it saddles future generations with more debt. But now that the money is on its way, he's says he'll use 700 million stimulus dollars to pay down existing state debt. If the Obama Administration doesn't approve, Sanford says he'll turn the money down.

So far, fifty-two mayors in South Carolina have signed a letter to the governor urging him to reconsider. They include Rock Hill and York - the mayor of which is Eddie Lee. He says with a state unemployment rate over 10 percent and local governments in the red, this is no time to reject cash: "We don't see it as debt," says Mayor Lee. "We see it as something that's essential to a community's growth. There are immediate needs in South Carolina's 250 plus towns and cities. We need that money for things that are pressing issues here in the upcountry. That would be infrastructure needs that would benefit everyone in the community." Lee says the money could fund road and bridge projects that will create jobs and encourage economic development. If Governor Sanford insists on rejecting the money, the mayors are asking the General Assembly to override his decision.