As the South Carolina Senate prepares to take up the 2011-2012 budget in its full body Tuesday, Governor Nikki Haley weighed in on her relationship with legislators during the process.
In a speech to the Aiken Rotary Club, Haley said she felt the Legislature had cooperated with her administration for the most part.
We’re making sure that spending is responsible. I think we are seeing the Legislature being responsive to the fact that we have to know the value of a dollar. All of those dollars need to be going into our small businesses because, if we can give our small businesses cash flow, what’s the first thing they’re going to do? They’re going to hire people.
Haley departed from former Gov. Mark Sanford’s practice of proposing an executive budget each year, instead choosing to highlight her priorities in public speeches and behind the scenes.
In her State of the State speech in January, Haley outlined a handful of specific proposals for the budget. One of them was eliminating the state Arts Commission. An attempt to do that died in the House last month, but the body did vote to transfer the commission into the Cabinet-level Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism (PRT).
Haley said she hoped the Senate would phase out the Arts Commission over time. The Senate Finance Committee voted last week to strike out a proviso that would have transferred the agency. It’s still not certain whether senators will keep the agency intact, or move all of its duties into PRT as Haley wants.
A proposal that is likely to remain in the final budget ends direct funding for ETV from the General Fund. The state would instead pay the network for specific services it offers, such as rental fees and school services. House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham (R-Lexington) said he believed the agency would receive $150,000 less next year under the proposal, although all of the money would come from a separate “Other Funds” account.
Haley said she hoped it would make the network more efficient.
Now they will have to work to get paid. They will have to go bid out with the private sector and, if they get hired, they get paid for that. But, we will no longer have $10 million on that line item.
Legislators did vote earlier this month to allow Haley’s administration the flexibility to negotiate with hospitals on Medicaid rates. In previous years, a legislative proviso prevented the Department of Health and Human Services from lowering the rates, which the agency says it needed to do this year to cut into a more than $225 million deficit.