GOVERNOR, SPEAKER UNABLE TO REACH BUDGET VETO AGREEMENT
FITSNews – June 27, 2007 – Will we see a return of piglets “Pork” and “Barrel” to the South Carolina State House this year? Probably not, but a bitter legislative-executive showdown over budget vetoes is extraordinarily likely after a deal between Gov. Mark Sanford and House Speaker Bobby Harrell to manage the veto process appears to have fallen through. Sources close to both politicians confirm that Sanford is now contemplating well over a hundred vetoes totalling close to $150 million for this year’s budget, squelching the popular State House rumor that the governor and Harrell cut a deal to limit the vetoes to a few dozen totalling $40 million.
Sanford, who solidified his reputation as a taxpayer hero three years ago by bringing piglets into the State House to protest the swift override of his budget vetoes, reportedly told Speaker Harrell that he would confine his vetoes to “a handful” if the House approved a paltry $200 million in tax relief out of a $1.7 billion surplus. The House did so, but the governor is apparently unsatisfied with the structure of the tax cuts and has decided to renege on the agreement.
Last year, Sanford vetoed the entire state budget – and was promptly overridden.
“He can either issue a handful of vetoes targeting pork in the Senate version of the budget and have them sustained or he can do what he’s planning on doing and continue to have his budget vetoes be irrelevent,” a source close to the Speaker’s Office told FITSNews. “It’s his choice.”
While an agreement on budget vetoes appears to be dead in the water, Sanford’s veto of a choice-less public school “open enrollment” bill is gaining traction, with a coalition of legislators from high-growth areas of the state joining together to support the governor’s veto on the basis that the legislation would be cost-prohibitive to schools in their districts.
Rarely in agreement, both public-school advocates and choice supporters in these high-growth districts are exerting tremendous pressure on their legislators to sustain the governor’s veto.