Gov. Mark Sanford used his veto pen on 69 items in the state budget that legislators sent to him last week, cutting out $72 million worth of government spending for next year. Among the items Sanford cut from the budget were an expansion of the children's health insurance program, $7 million for MUSC, $3 million for the College of Charleston, and extra money for public defender offices.
In a news release, the governor said more money should be put toward education and prisons, which already are expected to have deficits next year:
In his veto message, the governor said the spending plan suffered from fundamental flaws in the way it failed to set priorities, didn't pay for deficits that budget writers know will occur, and failed to more substantively address the $20 billion in unpaid for political promises tied to the retirement system.
"While we would give credit to the General Assembly for removing a number of items in this budget that we've vetoed in the past, it's unfortunate that failing to make those choices when times were good has led us to where we are today — a government that has grown by 40 percent over the last three years," Gov. Sanford said. "We also have real concerns that this budget is in effect unconstitutional for the way it knowingly creates a deficit — despite there being a requirement that we have a balanced budget. These vetoes are aimed at both paying for that shortfall, and beginning this process of setting better priorities — and to that end I'd ask that the House and Senate give them close consideration."
The Post and Courier reports on the likelihood of legislators sustaining the vetoes:
Last year the House alone spent more than 10 hours on the floor considering the governor's 243 vetoes, ultimately overriding all but 15. At that time, Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell and House Speaker Bobby Harrell, both Charleston Republicans, said more of Sanford's vetoes would be sustained if there weren't so many of them. The more Sanford vetoes, the more legislators form alliances.