The South Carolina Club for Growth urges all Senators to vote “NO” on any motion to override Governor Haley’s budget vetoes. Sadly the House sustained very few vetoes and approved a backdoor pay raise for themselves 20 minutes after they voted against it. Today, fiscal conservatives in the Senate have a chance to prove that they care how our tax dollars are spent.
The 76 vetoes in the 2014-2015 budget represent $18.5 million in pork projects, duplicative programs and poor budgeting practices. What budget discipline will ever exist if compromise in Columbia is defined as: “I’ll support your (museum, sports program, etc – you fill in the blank), if you will support mine”? Rather than trade favors with each other, we believe your higher calling is to prioritize the state’s major needs like roads, the unfunded retirement pension, etc. We believe you are in office as stewards of South Carolina’s future. It is a high calling.
As in previous years this budget contains excessive spending that leaves taxpayers picking up the tab. Specifically the following items should have never been included in the budget and we encourage Representatives to sustain these vetoes:
Vetoes 34-38: These items could easily be funded by private donations or money from local governments – if they are a priority for local residents.
Vetoes 55 and 57: These two vetoes eliminate state funding for youth sports programs and football exhibition games. While sports can be an important part of a child’s development, it is not a core function of state government to support these programs.
Veto 59: The Southeastern Wildlife Exposition, billed as the largest event of its kind in the US, had $200,000 removed in this veto. An event that has been this successful for decades should not have to rely on state funding which will indirectly subsidize the take home pay of the CEO.
Veto 72: Any taxpayer money that is appropriated for non-state programs should be scrutinized carefully. Giving money to fix buildings that do not house a core function and that the state does not own is a slippery slope and not one legislators should try to navigate.
Vetoes 73 and 74: While well intentioned, these two projects do not benefit South Carolinians as a whole. If these projects are as important as legislators believe they are then local governments should step up and fund these projects.
Veto 76: Legislators claim their salaries are not high enough and felt the need to backdoor in a pay raise. If legislators feel they are not fairly compensated they could shorten our much too long session to increase their hourly pay. Sneaking a legislative pay raise in through a budget proviso is bad public policy and will be scored heavily on the scorecard.
Responsible spending has been a focus of the South Carolina Club for Growth since our founding. Select vetoes from this year’s budget veto message will be a part of the SC Club for Growth Foundation’s 2014 Scorecard.