THE WANDERING EYE ‌ Governor Veto 

Mark Sanford throws a wet blanket on the budget

Last week, on the eve of his disappointing yet victorious showing in the Republican primary, Gov. Mark Sanford abruptly announced that he had vetoed the entire $6.6 billion state budget sent to him by the General Assembly for the impending fiscal year.

The next day, the General Assembly membership just as abruptly overrode Sanford's veto.

So there!

Lawmakers expected Sanford to veto much of the planned spending. The fiscal year starts in one week, and Statehouse members had budgeted themselves three days of extra session to debate what they thought would be numerous line-item nixes.

So much for thinking, as the governor made their job all the easier and state legislators got the hell outta Columbia last Wednesday night.

Sanford justified his action by saying he could trim enough of what he deemed unnecessary spending without jeopardizing essential state services.

"We're getting way ahead of ourselves," said Sanford.

Remember, this is coming from a guy who likely thinks the fire department is an example of needless government expense.

With the looming start date for the next fiscal year, Sanford had backed lawmakers into a corner and, fearing a state government shutdown, they had little choice but to override the veto.

House Ways and Means chairman Dan Cooper (R-Anderson) told The State exactly what he thought of Sanford's action, "It's a big cop-out."

Sanford begged to differ, commenting, "We're trying to go the road less traveled, some other route than spending everything that comes in ... Isn't it incumbent upon me to say, 'I see a red flag'?"

According to the National Association of State Budget Officers, S.C. has been in the top five states with the fastest growing budgets for the last two years.

Yeah, so. When you don't spend any money on yourself for a long time, you end up playing catch-up for everything that's been ignored for years, sometimes generations, like, say, public schools.

Along with his blanket veto, Sanford did send a list of $50 million in budget cuts and $85 million in savings for General Assembly members' consideration.

Obviously, they paid close heed to his recommendations.

Last January at the start of the legislative session, Sanford submitted his own budget totalling $5.6 billion. He had pegged spending growth at 5.65 percent over the current year's budget total.

Sanford argues that growth for the new budget is at 13 percent, while lawmakers say the figure is closer to 9 percent. The two argue over what the base figure for calculating budget growth should be.

Kinda like it depends upon what the definition of "is" is, mused The Eye.

The House voted 99-13 to override, and the Senate followed suit with a 34-7 vote.

The Eye wasn't in the least surprised that Mark Sanford vetoed the entire budget. It's the latest installment of the poor-little-rich-snot-who-needs-an-ass-whuppin' storming off into the Carolina sunset when he doesn't get his way.

The gulf between the Governor's Office and the General Assembly just keeps getting wider and wider.

The Eye also noted the pussy way that Sanford announced his veto — late Tuesday evening, after everyone who was inclined to brave the inclement weather (like The Eye) had already voted in the state party primary races.

What's he afraid of? That the voters will finally see what he stands for?


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