Gov. Nikki Haley praises budget, but issues $41M in vetoes

Gov. Nikki Haley praises budget, but issues $41M in vetoes

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Gov. Nikki Haley says South Carolina's latest spending plan will help the state's students, health services, and law enforcement agencies.

Haley says the budget begins to address the new realities of the state's pension system while bolstering mental health programs and efforts to combat substance abuse and domestic violence.

But Haley has problems with other parts of the budget and issued 51 vetoes targeting a total of $41,145,000 in spending.

In a letter to House Speaker Jay Lucas, Haley says some items in the budget "represent the worst kind of legislative deal-making—pork, pet projects, earmarks, and micromanagement of state agencies."

"It's not to say these projects aren't valuable. It's not to say that these projects aren't doing good in the community. It's to say that this is not the job of the taxpayers of South Carolina," Haley said. "That these are earmarks for a special person and a special place because of a special legislator. And that's the part that's wrong with an earmark."

Haley took special aim at Parks, Recreation, and Tourism with two vetoes slicing out a total of $8 million including $3 million for sports marketing.

Haley also raises questions about the General Assembly's use of provisos in budgets, calling some of them "short-sighted."

Several provisos in the FY 2016-2017 budget, including those involving South Carolina State University, Department of Revenue redevelopment fees and DMV sales taxes are now unnecessary according to the governor's office, because of legislation recently signed into law by Haley.

She also vetoed a proviso to do a feasibility study on moving the Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum to Charleston and the location of the Hunley.

Speaking of museums, Charleston also loses another $3 million for a Medal of Honor Museum.

In one of the stranger vetoes, Haley killed a proposed program to catch, tag, and release a group of coyotes so any bounty hunter who got one would win a lifetime hunting license.

Haley also spoke about the ongoing need for ethics reform.

"We have two ethics reforms bills that we have worked hard for four years. They are both in conference committee. We were promised by both the house and the Senate that they would not leave until they gave us those bills, I'm going to hold them at their word," Haley said.

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