We’re burning up the phone lines to encourage Mark Sanford to take the stimulus money from the federal government for schools and public safety upgrades. We still need your help. Please call today and/or sign the petition. It’s working: Sanford is looking for a way out of this foolish position. Obama’s holding his feet to the fire. So should we. From ThinkProgress:

Last week, Gov. Mark Sanford (R-SC) said he would ask the Obama administration if he could redirect $700 million in federal stimulus money to pay down the state’s debt — instead of for its original purpose of school funding and public safety. The Obama administration today rejected his request, saying that the legislation doesn’t allow Obama to “make an exception for that cash”:

The $787 billion stimulus legislation sets strict rules for the $53.6 billion being sent to help state budgets, Orszag wrote. It calls for 82 percent of the money to be used for public schools and colleges and 18 percent on public safety and other government services. “Congress has not authorized the executive branch to waive any of the above statutory requirements,” Orszag’s one-page letter said.

Here’s the latest from Color of Change:

Hundreds of phone calls are streaming into Governor Sanford’s office this week from angry citizens decrying his plan to reject desperately needed funds from the federal stimulus bill. More than 600 calls were made to the Governor on Monday by members of ColorOfChange.org, the nation’s largest online African-American advocacy group, demanding that he accept the full amount of federal stimulus funding intended to buoy his struggling state’s economy. The calls continued Tuesday morning.

Sanford’s office was put on the defensive, with callers reporting that aides struggled to explain the Governor’s decision in light of its likely effect on South Carolina’s education system. They seemed unaware that Sanford’s rejection of stimulus funds could lead to thousands of teachers losing their jobs.

The effort launched just days after Sanford announced he may refuse nearly a quarter of the stimulus dollars, including those targeted for education, unemployment benefits and other social programs. The group said it tied up the lines at Sanford’s office throughout the day to drive home the importance of putting economic recovery — in South Carolina and throughout the country — before political posturing.

The callers are among more than 28,000 ColorOfChange.org members who recently signed an open letter to Sanford and five other Republican governors who have threatened to reject federal stimulus funds. The letter urges them to put their constituents’ well-being ahead of their desire to build their own national profiles within the Republican party.Sanford, chair of the Republican Governors Association, has said he would accept a portion of the stimulus funds only if he can use it to pay down debt, a position that ColorOfChange.org Executive Director James Rucker called indefensible.
“As people in South Carolina struggle with this recession, Governor Sanford has decided to stand in the way of help,” said Rucker. “It’s obvious even to Republicans in South Carolina that this has nothing to do with what’s best for the state — it’s all about scoring political points.”

“Schools in South Carolina can’t afford for thousands of teachers to lose their jobs, and neither can America’s economy,” Rucker continued. “But it seems like Governor Sanford thinks that currying favor with the far right of his political party is more important than stopping the economic bleeding.”

The group noted that black South Carolinians, nearly a third of the state’s population, will be hit particularly hard by Sanford’s decision to reject stimulus funds. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that blacks in that state are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed. The state’s jobless rate, at 10.4%, is second highest in the country.

With more than half a million members, ColorOfChange.org is the largest African-American online political organization in the country.

Related Posts with Thumbnails