The South Carolina Senate approved a $5 billion budget early Friday morning.
After a point of order motion was brought up around 3 a.m., Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer ruled the $6 biennial vehicle registration fee in the budget violated Senate rules. Bauer said that the fee would change permanent law and cost the public more than $22 million.
Senators debated Bauer’s decision for approximately an hour. Then, in a rarely seen action, senators voted 28-14 to override Bauer’s decision.
Bauer says lawmakers should call fees what they are–a kind of tax. He says members of the Senate ran him(Bauer) out of the Senate and overruled him.
(Bauer on fees MP 1:35)
Bauer on fees
Bauer says residents don’t have any more income coming in and it’s not fair for government continue to tax them.
We could have closed rest areas. We could have closed visitor centers. We could have privatized them. We could have done a whole bunch of things. There was even a vote to put all spending of universities on-line so that the residents of South Carolina could see what was being spent. And the Senate voted against it.
Bauer says Senate leaders working on the budget intentionally like to compress their debate time on the floor so that final passage of the proposal occurs during late hours, so that the proposal can be pushed through when lawmakers are tired and restless.