Time-sensitive Budget Update
Current as of March 26, 2009
Budgetary matters in Columbia are coming to a critical juncture over the next few days, as key legislators are leading an effort to convince Governor Mark Sanford to seek South Carolina’s portion of all available federal stimulus funds. The governor has sought certain funds, e.g., energy, but thus far has declined to request others, including the key state stabilization funds designated for K-12 and higher education. According to the House-adopted version of the budget, these federal funds would bring about $350 million to the state this year -- including $3.7 million to Winthrop in the next fiscal year, helping us deal with cuts to state appropriated dollars that have occurred to date.
Because there are now Constitutional questions regarding a provision of the federal stimulus bill that gives the General Assembly the right to seek the funds if the governor doesn’t, Senate leaders this morning indicated they will begin on Monday to craft two versions of the budget – one using the stimulus funds, and one not using them. If the governor fails to request the stimulus funds by the federal deadline of midnight on April 3, the state budget that will continue in the legislative process in Columbia will be one without stimulus funds, with the House having to revise its already adopted version to deal with the absence of stimulus funds as well. This would mean Winthrop likely would have to continue all spending cuts underway this year into next year, and find $3.7 million more in spending reductions as well.
If there ever were a time for members of the extended campus community to make their feelings on this matter known to Governor Sanford, it is now. Employees should keep in mind that any views expressed, for or against requesting the stimulus funds, should be set forth as private citizens, using personal communications media on personal time, as set forth in the guidelines for “Appropriate Civic Engagement as a State Employee” that appear on our Money Matters website at:
Contact information for the Governor’s Office is as follows:
Governor Mark Sanford
Office of the Governor
P.O. Box 12267
Columbia, SC 29211
Please know that I will update you further as developments warrant.