By FITSNews || The S.C. Senate is unlikely to sustain more than a handful of Gov. Mark Sanford’s remaining budget vetoes after the State House of Representatives agreed yesterday to $261 million in “cuts.”
“The House picked the low-hanging fruit,” one Senator tells FITS, a sentiment that was echoed by top Senate staffers.
Even Sanford’s allies say that the governor will be lucky if “as many as ten” of his remaining 56 budget vetoes – which total roughly $50 million – are sustained by the Senate. Frankly, we think that even this small number is overly-optimistic considering the number of “Republican” votes owned by powerful Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman (RINO-Florence).
All that’s required to sustain a gubernatorial veto in South Carolina is a one-third vote of one legislative chamber. That means the 51 vetoes sustained by the House will not be voted on by the Senate, but that the 56 vetoes overridden by the House could be sustained in the Senate.
“It’s two bites at the apple,” one lobbyist explains.
Of course, no matter how many vetoes are sustained – none of this money is actually going back to taxpayers.
In fact, in praising the House for its actions Wednesday, Sanford himself called the savings “set aside money” that would “effectively reduce next year’s budget shortfall from roughly $1 billion to less than $800 million.”
Even with these “savings,” the total state budget for FY 2010-11 is approximately $20.8 billion – making it the largest spending plan in state history. S.C. lawmakers appropriated $20.8 billion two years ago and $20.6 billion last year – although state revenues failed to keep up and they were forced to trim back both of those budgets to just over $20 billion apiece.