By FITSNews || In a surprising reversal of fortune, S.C. Gov. Mark Sanford – who nearly lost his job a year ago after admitting to an extramarital affair with his Argentine lover – could be on the verge of his most successful year ever with the veto pen. Of course, the willingness of state lawmakers to sustain Sanford’s vetoes – which have been easily overridden in previous years – won’t necessarily translate into huge savings for taxpayers.
Sanford issued $314 million worth of budget vetoes on Wednesday – 107 line item vetoes totaling $100 million as well as $214 million worth of proviso spending. That amounts to roughly 1.4 percent of the state’s record $21.1 billion spending plan.
Many speculated that Sanford would veto the entire budget – basically forcing state lawmakers back to the drawing board given the narrow margin with which their spending plan cleared the legislature. As reported first on FITS though, Sanford decided instead to issue a large batch of vetoes targeting specific programs he didn’t like.
That approach has infuriated lawmakers in previous years, although this year – particularly in the House of Representatives – it appears Sanford actually has the votes he needs to make some of those cuts stick. In fact, Sanford even went so far as to praise several of his long-time legislative antagonists for working with his office during the veto process.
“For too long the budget process in South Carolina has resembled a choose-your-own-adventure book with budget-writers deciding every time to spend every dime sent to Columbia by the state’s taxpayers,” Sanford said. “Today marks a welcome shift in that attitude, and I’d encourage legislators to both store up reserves for what will be a devastating budget next year and finally agree that state government cannot grow faster than the underlying economy.”
That’s true, although we still wish Sanford had cut a bit deeper.
Oh well, with a $1 billion shortfall looming on the horizon for the coming fiscal year, there should be plenty of “less government” on the way.