Final update: It looks like Sanford has 75 more days.
Update, 1:15 p.m.: Sanford has just held a public address and it looks like he's going to keep his stance.
Update, 10:30 a.m.: Sanford is slated to meet at 12:30 with senators to discuss the stimulus bill. We'll keep you posted.
With a deadline of Friday, it appears the Legislature and Governor Sanford are no closer of working out a deal to bring $700 million to South Carolina.
Sanford has no interest in letting the state simply spend the money (as Washington intended), and the Legislature has no interest in paying down $700 million in debt to get the $700 million.
Read more stories on this subject in our stimulus package topic page.And word is, things aren't getting any more polite as the Friday deadline draws near. Both The Palmetto Scoop and Brad Warthen (a recently laid-off employee of The State) write about a heated meeting between Sanford and Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman (R-Florence).
Here's a taste from Warthen's piece:
Leatherman was agog. He said he had no such power, that it would take a majority of the Legislature to agree to such a deal, and he assured the governor that there was NO interest in the Senate in such a “deal.”
What I like about Warthen's piece is that it gives a real feel for what the mood in Columbia is now.
So, what are the possible outcomes scenarios?
There are three obvious ones -- and The Post and Courier does a good job walking through these first three.
- One: Sanford caves. And the Legislature gets to spend the money. My rating: Possible.
- Two: Sanford doesn't request the money, and the $700 million goes to other states. My rating: Possible, but I think there's another step.
- Three: The Legislature agrees to pay down $700 million in debt, and sanford agrees to take the money. My rating: Isn't going to happen. The Legislature has already show it has no interest.
- Four: Sanford gets the Legislature to do a token act of paying down, say, $100 million in debt. Sen. Leatheran has already expressed interest in this, and that's a number the state is more capable of cutting. My rating: Possible.
- Five: This is scenario two, with a twist. Sanford doesn't ask for the money, but Washington lawmakers rewrite parts of the stimulus bill to allow the state Legislature to override the governor, or they simply find another way to get the money to South Carolina. My rating: Possible.
Ultimately I think it will be number four, it allows the governor to save face. But, if not that we'll either get a Sanford who tosses in the towel and say "I tried" (remember the unemployment money?), or a Sanford who will make his last stand.
But, hopefully this will all be resolved come Friday.