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South Carolina taxpayers just can’t catch a break …

For eight years they had a governor willing to wield a mighty veto pen – yet not enough lawmakers willing to support his pro-taxpayer efforts. Now there are more than enough lawmakers willing to uphold gubernatorial vetoes – yet South Carolina is saddled with a chief executive who refuses to use them to cut government.

S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley – who campaigned on a fiscally conservative “Tea Party” platform – issued barely $100 million worth of vetoes this week (out of a $22.7 billion budget). For those of you keeping score at home, that’s less than one half of one percent of the state budget.

Or .44 percent to be precise …

Wow … and this is the candidate who ran on limited government? And protecting taxpayers?

Talk about underwhelming …

In fact Haley went so far as to join “Republicans in Name Only” in the South Carolina Senate in approving a $26 million appropriation for U.S. President Barack Obama’s signature education initiative – an expansion of the state’s failed government-run early childhood education programs.

Things weren’t supposed to be this way … not this year. Haley met repeatedly with fiscally conservative state lawmakers who assured her they would uphold her vetoes – and she promised them she would wield a bigger axe this year.

She didn’t …

Last year Haley issued seventy-four budget vetoes totaling less than $60 million – or one quarter of one percent of the state’s $23 billion budget. The previous year she cut just $213 million – or less than one percent of that year’s $22.1 billion spending plan.

Pitiful … just pitiful.

HALEY BUDGET VETOES (.pdf)

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Pic: Travis Bell Photography