South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford asked the Obama administration to reconsider allowing the state to use a portion of $2.8 billion in federal stimulus money to pay down future obligations of the South Carolina Retirement System, Columbia, which is 70% funded, according to gubernatorial spokesman Joel Sawyer.
Mr. Sanford would likely be unable to improve the funded status of the $27 billion system without using the stimulus money, Mr. Sawyer said. There has been no talk of increasing employee and state contributions or increasing taxes to raise the funding level, he added.
In a letter sent last week, Mr. Sanford wrote President Barack Obama asking to use the stimulus money to pay down state debt, including debt related to retirees. That original request was rejected on Monday.
The $787 billion federal stimulus bills sets strict rules for the $53.6 billion being sent to help state budgets, with the majority of the money set aside for public schools and colleges and the balance for public safety and other government services.