By FITSNews || In a desperate bid to hold on to his increasingly tenuous grip on power, S.C. Speaker Bobby Harrell reportedly begged Gov. Mark Sanford to refrain from vetoing the entire state budget this year.
Unlike in previous legislative sessions, this time Harrell didn’t have the votes needed to pass a new budget prior to the onset of the new fiscal year on July 1. That meant Sanford could have not only shut down state government – but pinned the blame for it on his longtime legislative antagonist.
Talk about an advantageous negotiating position …
In years past, such an outcome would have been “made to order” for the mercurial, “maverick” governor.
Sensing a political “win,” however, Sanford obliged Harrell by issuing 107 budget vetoes – 51 of which were later sustained by the S.C. House.
Those vetoes ended up “saving” taxpayers $261 million (out of a $21.1 billion state budget), although as we’ve noted on several occasions in the past this money will not go back to the taxpayers, it will instead go toward reducing an estimated $1 billion deficit in next year’s budget.
The intense, behind-the-scenes maneuvering is the latest evidence of Harrell’s diminished power at the S.C. State House – as well as another example of the growing strength of his would-be challengers.