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SC Lawmakers Delay Action On “Unsubstantial” Budget Vetoes

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A DUBIOUS DECISION …

South Carolina state lawmakers previously said they would wait until January 2018 to address governor Henry McMaster’s budget vetoes in the event they were not “substantial.”

On Monday, McMaster obliged them …

The new governor cut just $56.3 million from the Palmetto State’s $29 billion budget – or less than one-fifth of one percent of the total spending plan for the fiscal year set to begin on July 1.

McMaster’s budget vetoes were so “unsubstantial” lawmakers aren’t even bothering to address them … for the next seven months.

Can they do that?

We were under the impression gubernatorial budget vetoes (to the extent they matter) – and subsequent votes by lawmakers to sustain or override them – were part of a constitutionally prescribed process.

And as anemic as McMaster’s vetoes were, he submitted them in accordance with the law – and in time for lawmakers to act on them prior to the new state spending plan taking effect.

They aren’t doing that, though.

“The budget is a year-long process,” one legislative leader told us by way of justifying lawmakers’ lack of action on the gubernatorial vetoes.

So … what impact will this delay have on state spending?

Not much … although again, that’s more a result of McMaster’s failure to “carry a big stick” (well, pen) on behalf of taxpayers.

Technically speaking, gubernatorial vetoes have the force and effect of law unless and until they are overridden, meaning state agencies subjected to them must not spend this money until such a time as that happens.

Bottom line?  The governor’s office has become completely irrelevant in the budgeting process … one of many reasons why the Palmetto State continues to see reckless spending (and borrowing) growth even as it produces demonstrably terrible outcomes economically, fiscally, educationally and with regards to infrastructure and public safety.

This cycle needs to be broken … soon.

South Carolina needs a governor who is not only willing to cut unnecessary government … but also fight for taxpayers in the process.


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