Mr. Sanford could eliminate these problems by simply requesting federal funds. He has until Friday to do so, and we all need to do our best to make that happen:
• Individuals and groups must stop treating Mr. Sanford like the crazy uncle in the attic and let him know they expect him to start acting like a governor. Call, write, e-mail him; rally at the State House, at the Governor’s Mansion, across the state. Demand that he request the federal funds.
• Legislators need to find a face-saving way for him to change his mind, in case he cannot bring himself to admit that his actions are reckless and irresponsible.
We don’t know whether Mr. Sanford cares what the public thinks, but one thing is clear: He will not be persuaded by people who do not make their voices heard.
It's disappointing that The State couldn't have taken a more thoughtful look at the underlying causes of this problem.
It's time for a honest look at the root causes of the state budget shortfall. The revenues which fund the state budget are cyclical: when the economy goes up, revenues grow at a rate often faster than growth, and when the economy slips, revenues tend to sink faster than the rate of contraction. The reckless spending and budget growth of recent years spent billions of dollars of surplus money that could have been banked away for a rainy day.
State budgets under Governor Campbell and Hodges suffered greatly during recessions, and a lot of the legislative players around now were around then. They should not be surprised at the current turn of events, nor should they be attempting to pin all the blame on Sanford. While it's important to find a resolution to the current situation, it is also time for all concerned to make a solid effort to rein in spending growth and plan ahead for future downturns. Anything less is inexcusable.
Those who are concerned about the current budget crisis, whether they support or oppose Sanford's actions, should demand that steps be taken to follow a more fiscally responsible course in the future, and that everyone in the legislative process work together to chart that course.