Yesterday, the White House acknowledged that state governors, not state legislatures, control the acceptance and disposition of stimulus money. The AP reports:
South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has won a key victory in his fight to control $700 million in federal stimulus money intended to help the state's schools, with the White House acknowledging in a letter released Wednesday that state legislatures can't overrule governors who don't want the money.
White House budget chief Peter Orszag said there is no provision in the stimulus law for state lawmakers to accept that money without approval by the governor.
Sanford, a Republican, has said he may decline some of the state's $2.8 billion in stimulus money because the White House won't let him use the cash to pay down his state's debt, including bonds and looming retirement system liabilities. South Carolina started the fiscal year with $8.1 billion in total bonds outstanding, according to the state's comptroller.
The White House remained critical of Sanford's position, disagreeing with his decision to reject a portion of the stimulus funds allocated for his state, but acknowledged his authority to reject the funds.