Governor Nikki Haley announced Tuesday she has vetoed about $213 million in total state spending for next year’s budget. The bulk of the 35 vetoes come in K-12 education spending and an effort by lawmakers to dip into the state’s reserve fund.
Haley vetoed $56 million that was added on to the budget late in the session using higher-than-expected revenue raised this year. In a press conference Tuesday, Haley said the state’s education funding formula has already increased by more than $100 million this year.
It’s not how much you have; it’s how you spend it. It’s now time that… the Department of Education and all of our local school districts don’t look to government to take care of them, but actually look to see how they’re spending money. They should not be furloughing teachers. They should not be dealing with cuts within the classroom. They need to look at how they’re top-heavy.
However, several state legislators said they think they have enough votes to override the governor on that count. Members said local school districts badly need the additional funding to properly maintain the total costs of operating schools.
Haley also vetoed an additional $20 million for wealthier school districts. The legislative effort would have cushioned those districts from losing money under the state’s education funding formula. The governor said there was little point in having a formula if lawmakers just found additional sources of revenue.
She also vetoed a plan to spend $12 million of unclaimed lottery prizes on new school buses. In her message, Haley said South Carolina should not buy new buses if it plans to move towards privatization next year.
She also vetoed more than $107 million the Legislature spent using the state’s reserve fund. Most of the projects were for maintenance and new renovations and colleges and state buildings.
The Governor also upheld her State of the State pledge to veto ETV and Arts Commission funding.
The vetoes now go back to the House, where it will take a two-thirds vote to override the governor. Any sections or provisos the House overrides will then head to the Senate, where the same two-thirds requirement will apply.