Gov. Nikki Haley’s list of $18.5 million she wants out of the new state spending plan includes what she calls “dozens of earmarks and directed appropriations that benefit special interests at the expense of the general public.”
She presented her explanation of 76 veto items to the Legislature on Thursday. Lawmakers return to the Statehouse Tuesday, June 17, to decided which of those cuts will stand.
“We’ve gotten people angry about soccer fields and boats and swimming pools, you name it. Yeah this stuff is personal for them, ” Haley said in a press conference. “I lot of what legislators do is do things for their constituents. The hard part for me is I understand what they are trying to do, but I have a role to play.”
Included in her veto list are $2 million dollars for the Office on Aging to help pay for home and community-based caregivers. The program is under Lt. Gov. Glenn McConnell’s budget and an increase he has pushed for this year. Haley’s reasoning is that the Lt. Gov’s Office recurring funding has increased by 31 percent.
McConnell argued in his request that offering home-based services saves the state money and keeps the state’s seniors out of expensive nursing homes.
“It’s not that we don’t think that there’s legitimacy to that; it’s too much too fast,” Haley told media. “I know that that’s the presumption of it but that’s not the fact of it. We need to make sure that’s a fact before we allow it to grow that fast.”
“We can look at it again next year and see if that is something that works well.”
The governor also shot down a pay increase for the General Assembly. Lawmakers have set aside an $12,000 each for reimbursement for district offices.
“This not the way to do, this is not the time to do it. The other concern was that this wasn’t just a $12,000 pay raise, it was also added to their compensation so it was a pension increase slipped in last-minute. There’s just a lot of negative things that go with that,” Haley said.
She did not veto the Legislature’s punishment of certain schools for gay and lesbian content they found offensive. When questioned about that, Haley stood by her earlier stance that: “I don’t believe legislators should micromanage boards and commissions. To go in there and micromanage books that are being read and things like that, I just don’t believe that’s in our purview.”
“Having said that, the spent quite a bit of time talking through the compromise to this budget. We just didn’t want to interject ourselves into that,” she added.
Haley also avoided drastic cuts to the South Carolina Arts Commission in the coming budget.
“We don’t hit on people for the sake of hitting on people (in this budget)…the Arts Commission should be applauded for making the changes and reducing expenses that were not necessary,” she said.