South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley disagreed with the following items in the 2012-13 state spending plan. She issued this letter to legislators, dated yesterday:
In all, the governor issued 81 vetoes affecting $67.5 million in the state budget, according to her office. The vetoes were delivered to the House Clerk’s house at 11:42 Thursday night, narrowly beating a midnight deadline.
Many of the governor’s vetoes affect some of the same programs she targeted last year, but it also slices funding meant for some of her own Cabinet agencies, as well. For the second year in a row, Haley effectively zeroed out funding for the Arts Commission and Sea Grant Consortium– a pair of grant-writing agencies.
In her veto message, Haley said the public should decide which arts programs should get donations, not a state agency. “A full 30 percent of the funds allocated to the Arts Commission (in its direct budget line) are dedicated to administration, personnel, and operating expenses. Who would donate to a charity that spent that much on overhead?”
The General Assembly has said it does not plan on addressing any of the governor’s vetoes until September, so officials at both agencies are scrambling to determine how they’ll keep the agency running without any state funds.
“Obviously, we think the veto is a bad idea,” said the Arts Commission’s Executive Director Ken May.
The Sea Grant Consortium is an agency that works to land science funding from both federal and private sources for the state’s colleges. The veto also affects what is practically its entire budget.
Haley also vetoed $10 million in additional funding for the state Commerce Department’s Closing Fund, which is used to build infrastructure for new businesses moving to South Carolina. This particular pot of money was one-time money the state received as part of a nationwide mortgage fraud settlement.
The governor said the agency already received $15 million for the Closing Fund this year, an increase of $5 million over 2011-2012. “I consider it inappropriate to raid the proceeds of the national mortgage settlement in order to generate more resources for the Closing Fund,”Haley said in her message.
By issuing her veto, Haley sided with Democrats who had opposed the original budget proviso that transferred the settlement funds. Republicans said the state’s mortgage assistance program has ample cash on hand even without the additional money.
The governor will speak on her vetoes in a press conference later Friday.