Increase and School Board
Polling places for the Carthage
City elections open at 6 a.m. and will remain
open until 7 p.m. this evening.
The Carthage R-9 School
district has four candidates running for the two
open positions on the School Board. The
candidates include Michael Goolsby, Lee Elliff
Pound, Alan Snow, and James Baldwin.
There are no contested contests
for the five Carthage City Council seats open.
The issue drawing most of the
attention of voters is the proposed half-cent
sales tax increase to be used for economic
development. According to the Carthage Economic
Development Corporation the tax would generate
approximately $800,000 per year. The revenue
would be used to finance the purchase and
development of property to be used for an
industrial/business park. An option on property
just south of the McCune Brooks Regional Hospital
has been secured by the City contingent upon the
passage of the sales tax increase by the voters.
The tax would expire in 10
Showdown: Governors Fire Blanks on Certification
After a long standoff, South
Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford has said he will
accept some, but not all, of the stimulus money.
Certifications that allow states to seek stimulus
funding were due in Washington Friday, and
Sanfords staff says he sent his letter
Friday, making him the last governor to do so.
But this game of chicken is pure politics.
Four other Republican governors
have joined Sanford in protesting the $787
billion stimulus package, intended to thaw the
economic crisis, and say they will refuse some of
the money. But the certification, which basically
just paves the way for state agencies to apply
for the various money pots, has nothing to do
with those objections. The governors have used
the certification to voice specific objections
Democrats in Congress played
politics with the certifications, too.
Fridays deadline was set up to get
governors on the record accepting stimulus money.
They have to sign a generic letter and send it to
Washington before theyre allowed to apply
for any specific funds, federal officials say.
The letter doesnt mean they have to apply
for, or spend, any money at all.
News reports have further
blurred the significance of the deadline by
implying that the governors certifications
come with "caveats," when, in fact,
their certifying letters simply answer a
yes-or-no question: The state governments are
willing to apply for some funds.
"They dont have to
say this and not that [in their certification
letters]," explained Tom Gavin, a spokesman
for the Office of Management and Budget.
"They just have to say they will accept some
of the money. Otherwise they cant accept
any of the funding," he told us.
The Republican governors say
they wont ask for all the money because the
states may have to pay for expanded programs like
Medicaid and unemployment insurance after the
stimulus pot runs dry. Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin,
who seconds Sanfords objections, noted in
her certification letter, "Federal stimulus
funding must not add to strained state budgets
nor diminished state sovereignty by imposing
mandates, now or in the future."
Her press release announcing
she would except some funds also said she would
reject money that may not create jobs, like
National Endowment for the Arts grants. Louisiana
Gov. Bobby Jindal, Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour
and Gov. Rick Perry of Texas have also said they
will reject funding.
Carolinas certification today, Joel Sawyer,
a Sanford spokesman, told us, "Our
certification would exclude stabilization
funds," a provision of the bill that has
become central to the governors fight
against the stimulus. Sanford wants to use the
money to pay down debts, but the White House
insists it is meant for things like school
Certification officially opens
the door for funding applications, but the
governors alone have the authority to apply for
certain money pots, like the state stabilization
funding, according to a Congressional Research
Service analysis of the bill. Once they certify,
they may not be able to control other portions of
the funding. Palin, for instance, would be hard
pressed to keep Alaskan artists from applying for
grants from the National Endowment for the Arts,
a part of the stimulus shes criticized.
Rep. Jim Clyburn, an
influential Democrat from South Carolina,
anticipated that Sanford may reject funding and
added the provision requiring governors to
certify the stimulus. If the governors refused,
state legislatures could certify the bill, the
Fridays deadline was
effectively a "trip wire" that would
have caused legislatures certification
powers to kick in if governors hadnt signed
off, said Republican state Sen. Tom Davis,
Sanfords former chief of staff.
The Congressional Research
Services report, a letter from OMB to Sen.
Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and an opinion from South
Carolinas attorney general all acknowledge
the legislatures authority to override the
governor on certification but also agree that the
provision doesnt give legislators the power
to take charge of specific funding streams that
governors control, like the state fiscal
Davis said he
"respectfully differs" with his former
boss about the stabilization money and hopes
South Carolina will be able to use the fund for
one-time school improvements, though not
long-term increases in government education
spending. Sanford has opposed the money unless he
can use it to pay down debts, saying the state
cant afford to spend on things that will
generate long-term costs, such as hiring new
South Carolina could use the
help: The state has the second highest
unemployment rate in the country (11 percent),
lower teachers salaries than most states
($45,758 on average) and a higher rate of
uninsured people (16 percent), according to data
compiled by ProPublica.
"I think theres a
way of working this thing out," Davis added.
After certifying the bill Friday, Sanford will
have bought himself some more time to do so,
despite all the deadline hoopla. The last third
of the stabilization cash wont start to
flow until sometime later this summer, and South
Carolinas certification means Sanford has
plenty of time to change his mind.