Veto 1 Part 1A, Section 1, Page 14, Line 19, Department of Education, Section XIII. Aid to School Districts; C. Special Allocations, YMCA - Youth in Government; $18,445.
We give due credit to legislators for eliminating the majority of pass throughs and line-item funding for non-profits in this year's budget, but this program, which brings high school students to the State House for mock government every year, falls into the same category of pass throughs and line items that should have been eliminated.
Veto 2 Part IA; Section 7; Page 35; Line 12; Higher Education Tuition and Grants Commission; I. Administration; Special Items; SC Student Legislature; $25,000.
This line item supports the South Carolina Student Legislature program, which brings college students to the State House for mock government every year. While we agree that the program certainly has value, we are facing serious shortfalls in the state budget. As with so many other special line items that have been taken out of this budget, this item should also be removed and funded by alternative means.
Veto 3 Part IA; Section 10; Page 43; lines 17-18; University of Charleston; I. Education & General; Special Items; Hospitality, Tourism, and Management Program; $545,000.
This special line item, added last year, effectively picks winners and losers when it comes to funding higher education. For example, Coastal Carolina is surrounded by one of the strongest tourism regions in the state, and yet they have no earmark in their budget for a Tourism program.
We'd commend the University of Charleston for trying to add value to our tourism industry, but if this specific program has merit, we'd encourage the university to consider funding it with their base budget - which has itself grown by almost 27 percent in state funding over the past four years and during this same time, concurrently, seen tuition increase 49.5 percent.
Veto 4 Part IA; Section 10; Page 43; lines 19-20; University of Charleston; I. Education & General; Special Items; Business - Economic Partnership Initiative - Real Estate Program; $1,204,314.
We are vetoing this item because you don't make new political promises without first paying off past ones. The fact remains that South Carolina is staring at more than $20 billion in unfunded liabilities going forward, and while the Real Estate Program at the University of Charleston may be worthwhile, our view is that it's a lower priority project given the massive $20 billion state debt tied to retirement and health care benefits.
Veto 5 Part IA; Section 10; Page 43; lines 21-22; University of Charleston; Education & General; Special Items; Effective Teaching & Learning; $901,800.
We are vetoing this line item for three reasons. First, we believe that these services are duplicative of the Education and Economic Development Act, which performs many of these same functions at all public high schools. The EEDA allows students to pick a career major and take relevant courses, which will then prepare them for post-secondary education or related work. Secondly, the program works to increase HSAP passage rates and SAT scores, which is commendable; however, the State Department of Education already allocates state and federal funds to school districts to cover materials and preparation for the SAT. Third, we believe this program should be able receive some funding through the Corporation for National and Community Service.
Veto 6 Part IA; Section 10; Page 43; lines 23-24; University of Charleston; I. Education & General; Special Items; Global Trade & Resource Center; $350,000.
There is clear merit in linking South Carolina to the rest of the world, but it is this Administration's view that we shouldn't enact legislative pass throughs. This line item provides $350,000 to the Global Trade & Resource Center at the University of Charleston. It was added last year to partially support South Carolina World Trade Center (SCWTC) employees by paying for travel expenses at conferences and seminars. We consider this type of transaction a backdoor way of providing a pass through in a budget year when - to the General Assembly's credit - the majority of such questionable line items have been eliminated.
Veto 7 Part IA; Section 12; Page 49; line 21; Francis Marion University; I. Education and General; A. Unrestricted; Special Items; Rural Assistance Initiative; $600,000.
We believe the Rural Assistance Initiative is duplicative of existing state programs in two ways. First, the Initiative's goal of providing health care screenings in rural areas is similar to DHECs Primary Care Office, which focuses on retention and recruitment of health care professionals in rural areas. Second, the Initiative's second goal is to provide leadership training for non-profits and foster economic development in poorer counties. We believe this is currently being done through the Department of Commerce's Rural Crossroads Institute, which supports economic development and works to improve the quality of life for residents of rural counties.
Veto 8 Part IA; Section 12; Page 49; line 26; Francis Marion University; I. Education & General; A. Unrestricted; Special Items; Omega Project; $75,000.
We are vetoing this line item for two reasons. First, though the Omega Project performs a meritorious service, the state already has a primary agency assigned to mentor high school students and encourage them to attend college. Through the Workforce Development initiatives at the Department of Commerce - with funding at almost $70 million - there is a coordinated statewide program in place. Second, we do not believe that state government should be in the business of favoring some nonprofits over others. Bear in mind, too, that similar mentoring programs that offer positive and effective partnerships do not receive state funds - such as the Boys and Girls Club and the Big Brothers Big Sisters program of South Carolina.
Veto 9 Part IA; Section 15F; page 69, lines 13-14; USC - Salkehatchie Campus; Education & General; Unrestricted; Salkehatchie Leadership Center; $100,460.
We are vetoing this line item which increases USC-Salkehatchie's budget by $100,460 for the purpose of funding its Leadership Center. Although this is a well-intentioned program, we are facing serious shortfalls in this budget. As with so many other special line-items that have been eliminated from this budget, this item should be removed and funded from other sources.
Veto 10 Part IA; Section 21; Page 96; lines 34-35; Department of Health and Human Services; II. Programs and Services; A. Health Services; 3. Medical Assistance Payment; Z. Children's Health Insurance Program; $21,279,557.
Veto 11 Part 1B; Section 21.32; page 414; Department of Health and Human Services; State Children's Health Insurance Program.
Last year our Administration vetoed this funding because, while well-intended, we were concerned about both long-term consequences on our ability to fund health care and to participate in private markets. This year, we share the same concerns. First, we are concerned because the Board of Economic Advisors projects that $30 million will be needed to fully implement the State Child Health Insurance Program (S-CHIP) for FY 2008-2009. As a result, the funds provided fall short of the amount necessary to manage this program in the coming year.
Several years ago, the General Assembly funded $500 million in the Medicaid program with one-time funds. In 2000, the Medicaid program comprised $1 out of every $7 in state funding; now the ratio is approximately $1 out of every $5. Even without last year's expansion in SCHIP, projections showed that the state could spend as much as $1 out of every $3 in the state budget.
Since expanding this type of entitlement program in May 2008, Medicaid has added almost 2,000 participants to the program. Our current program covers a significant number of children relative to other states. For instance, the South Carolina program covers more than 40 percent of all children ages 0-18; only Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, Vermont and the District of Columbia cover a higher percentage. Regionally, South Carolina covers a higher percentage of children than Georgia, Florida or North Carolina. Expanding this system puts us even further toward the top.
As a reminder, last year we supported a logical provision requiring co-payments to be based on participants' income in an effort to make the cost of this expansion more affordable. However, the final version had no requirement for such payments, thus eliminating an important check on the growth of the program.
Additionally, as a result of S-CHIP expansions there is a certain "crowd-out" effect, whereby people who were covered by private insurance either through an employer or their own efforts find it more advantageous to go onto a taxpayer-funded program. Nationally, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has noted a reduction in the number of children participating in private health insurance and that 50 percent of the children now enrolled in S-CHIP were covered by private health insurance the prior year.
Finally, expansion of programs can bring in new enrollees, beyond those expected for the new program. The creation of the original S-CHIP program a decade ago led to many new enrollees in the existing Medicaid program. So not only were there new S-CHIP children, but thousands more were found eligible for regular Medicaid, and the expanded rolls led to DHHS declaring a deficit shortly thereafter. By continuing to fund this program at 200 percent of the federal poverty level opens the door to thousands of more beneficiaries and places the program in jeopardy for all.
Veto 12 Part IA; Section 30; Page 149; line 27; Art Commission; II. Statewide Arts Services; Special Items; McClellanville Arts Council; $12,500.
I am vetoing this line item because it is the only local arts council that receives a separate and recurring line in the state budget. The General Assembly has rightly removed the majority of the direct pass throughs from this year's budget, and there seems to be no justification for this one to remain. In any case, we don't believe that government should be in the business of picking winners and losers through the budgetary process. If state funds are allocated to a special item like this one, it should be done through a merit-based, competitive process.
Part IA; Section 47; Page 208; Line 17; Commission on Indigent Defense; III. Office of Circuit Public Defenders; Special Items;
DUI Defense of Indigents
Veto 14 Part IA; Section 47; Page 208; Line 18; Commission on Indigent Defense; III. Office of Circuit Public Defenders; Special Items; Criminal Domestic Violence; $1,320,000.
We're vetoing these items - which provide money to public defenders for criminal domestic violence and DUI indigent defense - based on the common sense notion that you can't move forward if you're constantly taking two steps back. South Carolina is near the top nationally when it comes to both DUI-related deaths and domestic violence deaths. Consequently, it seems odd to dedicate more dollars to defending the perpetrators of DUI and domestic violence when we're already facing these grim statistics, and, oftentimes law enforcement officers are forced to prosecute their own cases without the help of an attorney.
Veto 15 Part IA; Section 49; Page 217; line 24; Department of Public Safety; II. Programs and Services; D. Bureau of Protective Services; Special Item; Hunley Security; $257,317.
This line item appropriates taxpayer dollars to fund security for the Hunley. We recognize the Hunley's value to the state and the need to protect it. While providing taxpayer-financed security may have made sense when the Hunley project was in its infancy, seven years later we do not believe state funding is appropriate. Additionally, we believe providing this funding is inconsistent with how other Bureau of Protective Service (BPS) posts are funded. For example, the Confederate Relic Room does not receive funding for a BPS detail. Our hope is that this veto would be sustained and the Hunley Commission, or the Friends of the Hunley, could negotiate with private security contractors for this need.
Veto 16 Part IA; Section 73; Page 292; line 28; Lieutenant Governor's Office; II. Office on Aging; Special Item; Silver Haired Legislature; $15,000.
While we admire the mission of the Silver Haired Legislature, it often lobbies the General Assembly for programs and appropriations that it believes benefit our state's senior population. We are vetoing this line item because as a principle we do not believe taxpayer money should be spent lobbying for more public money. We issued an executive order to that effect in the first year of our Administration.
Veto 17 Part IA; Section 78; Page 304; line 13; Adjutant General's Office; X. State Guard; Other Operating Expenses; $97,768.
There is no doubt that the men and women of the National Guard make sacrifices in times of need, both here and abroad. That said, crowd control training is one of the core functions of the South Carolina National Guard and should be funded from the Adjutant General's Office general budget. This type of training could be incorporated within the confines of a guard training weekend - without additional cost to the taxpayer.
Veto 18 Part IA; Section 80A; Page 310; line 33; Budget and Control Board; II. Operations and Executive Training; C. Executive Institute; Total Executive Institute, $269,357.
The Executive Institute under the Office of Human Resources acts as a training resource for on average 40 South Carolina state employees per year. With stand-alone funding of roughly $269,000, the program spends $6,725 per state employee graduate. In addition to this rather inappropriate cost per graduate, we're vetoing this program because the Office of Human Resources already provides comparable leadership training, making the Executive Institute a prime example of government duplication.
Veto 19 Part 1B; Section 6.29; Page 402; Commission on Higher Education; In-State Tuition.
We are vetoing this proviso because there is no guarantee that a person with the "intent" to make South Carolina their permanent home will actually do so; therefore, we believe we should not make such persons eligible for in-state tuition. This proviso would allow potential college students who have lived in South Carolina for less than a year to be eligible for in-state tuition and fees, provided that the person "intends" to make this state their permanent home, and that they are employed full time in an adjoining county in North Carolina or Georgia. At a time when colleges are asking for greater appropriations to fully serve their student populations, and at a time with South Carolina ranks number one in the Southeast for in-state tuition costs, we do not think it makes sense for the state to consider funding college costs for individuals who have lived in this state fewer than 12 months.
Veto 20 Part 1B; Section 19.4; Page 405; Educational Television Commission; ETV: SC Educational Broadband Service Commission/Broadband License.
This proviso creates a South Carolina Educational Broadband Service Commission. We are vetoing this proviso because we recently signed legislation that creates this commission; therefore, this proviso is not necessary.
Veto 21 Part 1B; Section 21.12; page 410; Department of Health and Human Services; DHHS: Chiropractic Services.
This veto was requested by the Department of Health and Human Services, and we agree with the agency that this proviso hurts their ability to best determine how to serve its customers, particularly in a tight budget year. While it was most likely not this proviso's intent, because of federal rules, the effect of this proviso forces DHHS to provide this type of chiropractic coverage to literally every class of beneficiary. Last year, that meant DHHS spending $90,000 to provide chiropractic services to children younger than the age of six - even though one would be hard pressed to find research supporting the benefits of those treatments for that age group. We also don't believe it makes sense to continue adding Medicaid benefits - as the General Assembly did with the SCHIP expansion - when the agency's reserve fund has been raided to the tune of nearly $100 million.
Veto 22 Part 1B; Section 21.26; Page 412-413; Department of Health and Human Services; Prior Authorization Exemptions.
This proviso requires DHHS to fund certain mental health medications without the patient receiving prior authorization. We are vetoing this proviso for two reasons. First, mental health drugs were "carved out" of the preferred drug list - which was originally set up by the General Assembly to encourage responsible prescribing and competitive bidding by manufacturers. If any mental health drug is available, the state cannot force a drug company to offer a rebate. Second, DHHS believes and we agree that the director should have the flexibility to determine the best way to administer drug coverage - without having efforts restricted by the demands of special interests. Additionally, the State Health Plan and other commercial plans in South Carolina are not forced by proviso to not require prior authorization for more expensive drugs.
Veto 23 Part 1B; Section 21.35; Page 415; Health and Human Services; Long Term Care Facility Reimbursement Rates.
This veto was requested by DHHS to give the agency the flexibility to select a more convenient date to submit an important Medicaid amendment based on the agency's workload. This proviso directs the agency to submit the Medicaid State Plan amendment for long-term care facility reimbursement rates to the federal government by August 1. However, DHHS must review and examine 150 cost reports from nursing homes across the state before it can submit the amendment. This proviso hamstrings the agency by forcing it to make a submission by August 1, which does not give the agency adequate time to carefully review the nursing home reports.
Veto 24 Part 1B; Section 21.36; Page 415; Lines 26-27; Department of Health and Human Services; Carry Forward Funds-Health Initiatives, $1,283,695.
Lines 26 and 27 of this proviso takes $1,283,695 from DHHS' carry forward funds to be used as the state match for rate increases to dentists. We believe it makes little sense to raid Medicaid funds intended to be used for some of the neediest in our state in exchange for increasing the compensation of a profession that already earns an annual average of $118,000 a year. This art of the proviso also limits the agency's flexibility by restricting the use of any money that will be carried forward from the SCHIP program that could be used to reduce the impact of taking more than $100 million from Medicaid reserves in this budget.
Veto 25 Part IB; Section 21.36; Page 415; Lines 29-30; Item _; Medical University of South Carolina, Rural Dentist Program, $250,000.
We are vetoing this pass-through from the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to the Area Health Education Consortium which attempts to fund an increase in the number of dentists serving rural South Carolina. Although attracting dentists to rural areas is a worthwhile goal, we'd doubt that the roughly $5,000 per county this program allows for would have little if any impact on dentists' professional locales. Additionally, we'd point to the ridiculous fact that last year more than half of the eight dentists receiving these rural grants to repay student loans were MUSC dental school faculty members with state salaries averaging more than $115,000.
Veto 26 Part 1B; Section 21.38; page 416; Department of Health and Human Services; DHHS: Monthly Reporting Requirement.
This proviso requires DHHS to provide monthly impact statements to the General Assembly. We are vetoing this requirement because it is wasteful and redundant based on readily available information. Currently, DHHS provides quarterly statements to both the House Ways and Means Committee and the Senate Finance Committee. A similar proviso was proposed in the FY 2004-2005 Appropriations Bill and vetoed. The veto was sustained in the House. Further, this proviso is duplicative of Executive Order 2002-23, which requires DHHS to prepare an annual report with the same information as required in this section.
Veto 27 Part 1B; Section 21.39; Page 416; Health and Human Services; Upper Payment Limit for Non-State Owned Public Nursing Facilities.
We are vetoing this proviso for two reasons. First, DHHS requested the veto because it is in violation of the state's commitment to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) "transitional funding agreement" to terminate nursing facility payment methodology. Second, this proviso potentially jeopardizes the state's ability to negotiate future transition periods that would ease the impact of changes made by the federal government to the state's programs.
Veto 28 Part 1B; Section 21.40; Page 416; Health and Human Services; Nursing Services to High Risk/ High Tech Children.
We are vetoing this proviso because Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has informed the agency that the proviso would not be in compliance with federal reimbursement guidelines, which already take into account the types of services the healthcare professionals are performing.
Veto 29 Part 1B; Section 26.18; page 432; Department of Social Services; C.R. Neal Learning Center.
We are vetoing this proviso because it directs DSS to provide funding to C.R. Neal Learning Center, which no longer exists. Instead, the Center has been transferred to the Midlands Community Development Corporation, which actively solicits donations and generates revenue from the rental of the 33,000 square foot facility. While Senator Jackson's group undoubtedly provides quality after-school services for low- and moderate-income families, we believe that DSS should ultimately be able to make choices about who they contract with for services. This Administration has advocated that awards such as this should be based on the merits of a program and not the relative political strength of its supporters. Especially in cases like this where there is a direct connection to a member of the General Assembly.
Veto 30 Part 1B; Section 26.28; Page 434; Department of Social Services; Teen Pregnancy Prevention; $1,200,000.
If this were truly a merit-based system, how could two distinct entities end up receiving the exact same dollar amount? We are vetoing the proviso because it sets up a process by which a legislatively-appointed commission must select two entities that will equally divide the $1.2 million. If this is truly going to be a competitive process, our recommendation would be to allow the grant process to be open. We believe the Department of Social Services should be administering those dollars on a truly competitive, results-based basis. This proviso leads an objective observer to believe this is an attempt to mask the directive of appropriations to the two agencies that have historically received these funds: Heritage Community Services and the South Carolina Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy.
Veto 31 Part 1B; Section 37.1; Page 440; Department of Natural Resources; County Funds.
Veto 32 Part 1B; Section 37.2; Page 440; Department of Natural Resources; DNR: County Game Funds/Equipment Purchase.
I am vetoing these two provisos because in Knotts v. SCDNR the Supreme Court found that legislative involvement into nearly identical funds to be unconstitutional. The Founding Fathers' precept was in large measure based on the balance of the separation of power. These two provisos breach that separation of power by having the legislative body execute the laws of the land and in that process break with the findings of Knotts v. SCDNR wherein they found that the General Assembly "may not undertake both to pass laws and to execute them by bestowing upon its own members functions belonging to other branches of government." In addition, this proviso hamstrings the agency's ability to manage its own affairs in the best interest of the taxpayer.
Veto 33 Part 1B; Section 39.5; Page 444; Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism; Litter Control.
This proviso deals with the governance structure of the PalmettoPride program, which we believe is a legislative encroachment on an Executive Branch program. Sustaining this veto would not affect PalmettoPride's funding, and would simply return the governance of the program to its original form.
Veto 34 Part 1B; Section 39.7; Page 444; Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism; State Park Privatization Approval.
This proviso would tie the hands of PRT from pursuing any kind of competitive sourcing arrangement for any activity, no matter how minor, at Cheraw State Park, which lost $304,588 in FY 2006-07, and Hickory Knob State Park, which lost $286,531 in FY 2006-07. Frankly, we're surprised by the resistance that a Republican-controlled General Assembly has shown to the idea of privatization, particularly considering the positive results it has yielded in other cases.
As an example, PRT outsourced the state parks' reservation system to a private contractor who provides that service for many other park systems around the country. The reaction from most of the parks' customers has been positive as the change to a private contractor has led to vastly improved services, lower costs for taxpayers, and higher revenue. I strongly believe that officials at PRT should be free to pursue other similar arrangements to provide better services at lower costs.
This proviso was created three years ago in response to this Administration's and PRT's request for proposal to explore the feasibility of privatizing golf course operations at Cheraw State Park. It is our firm belief that whatever government does it ought to do well, but that which the private sector can do, in fact, ought to be done by the private sector. The running and administration of the golf course has proven to be a core competence of the private sector in South Carolina. We see no reason why we wouldn't want that expertise applied in this instance
Veto 35 Part 1B; Section 39.15; Page 445; Parks, Recreation and Tourism; Regional Tourism.
This proviso takes $550,000 from the Department of Parks, Recreation, and Tourism and allocates it to the eleven Regional Tourism Districts in the state. We believe the first order of business should be to investment in statewide tourism efforts and, in as much as the Regional Tourism Districts are willing to assist in these efforts, we welcome it. However, in a budget that cuts PRT's marketing dollars $11.5 million, this proviso puts PRT at an even further disadvantage in recruiting visitors to our state.
Veto 36 Part 1B; Section 40.20; Page 448; Department of Commerce; Funding for I-73 & I-74.
We are vetoing this proviso because we do not believe that it is the General Assembly's role to tie the hands of the Secretary of Commerce and his team in determining the best ways in which to grow the economy of South Carolina. This Administration has long been a supporter of the I-73/74 project, and in fact, the Governor, as a member of the U.S. Congress, was able to change the terminus of the original routing so that it ended in Myrtle Beach. We have correspondingly lobbied the federal government for flexibility and funding of I-73/74.
The principle at play here is a fairly simple one - the General Assembly should not be routing money to specific earmarks - whether buildings, festivals, or, in this case, a road - because, at the end of the day, a politically-driven decision is often times at odds with the most meritorious option. We will continue to work with both the federal and state DOTs to look for ways to facilitate this interstate, and it is our strong belief that a tolling option will be the most expeditious way of making this road possible.
I-73/74 would make a remarkable difference not just to the people of Myrtle Beach, but by extension, the economy of South Carolina. If we simply wait for $1 million a year - given the $1 million it costs to build one mile of this proposed road - then it will be a long time before this project is realized.
Veto 37 Part 1B, Section 40.29: Page 449; Department of Commerce; County Industrial Utility Infrastructure Grant Program; $1,500,000.
This proviso requires the Department of Commerce to set aside $1,500,000 in a special account for grants. We are vetoing this proviso because the money allocated to this program could be put to better use. This proviso has been in the budget for the last two years, yet during that time no funds have been drawn from this account. These funds could be better used, for instance, to replenish recruiting funds that were reduced 35 percent in this budget. While this funding was no doubt initially well-intentioned, it is clearly no longer needed. The taxpayers would be better served if the Department of Commerce were able to use these funds to recruit new businesses to South Carolina.
Veto 38 Part 1B; Section 40.35; Page 450; Department of Commerce; Economic Development Organizations.
We are vetoing this proviso because we believe that these funds should be given directly to the Department of Commerce in support of a coordinated, statewide approach to economic development. For many years one of the curses of our state has been a balkanized approach to economic development. To his credit, Governor Carroll Campbell started the Department of Commerce with the belief that a coordinated approach to economic development would serve the state better than what was traditionally a "Greenville vs. Charleston" and "Florence vs. Aiken" approach to economic development. While we think that these development organizations can be a useful and important compliment to that statewide effort, we don't think it should be done to the detriment of the statewide umbrella. In this instance it is, given the cuts to the Department of Commerce that would not be seen by these local economic development organizations in accord with this proviso. The remaining funds from last year's budget for these Economic Development Organizations should revert to the Department of Commerce to offset the dramatic cuts to its budget this year.
Veto 39 Part 1B; Section 40.41; Page 451; Department of Commerce; Repayment of Energy Loan.
This is a fine idea, but we do not believe the Department of Commerce should be forced to repay this loan. Instead, we proposed repaying the money from the so-called "competitive grants" committee. We certainly appreciate having Lockheed Martin in the Upstate. So much so, that this Administration secured an unprecedented $1 million from the Appalachian Regional Commission to help pay for the upgrades at the Donaldson Center. However, given the fact that Commerce's budget for closing economic development deals has been reduced by 35 percent, we believe the General Assembly should find a lower priority program, like "competitive grants" to repay this loan.
Veto 40 Part 1B; Section 51.32; Page 472; Department of Corrections; Quota Elimination.
This proviso requires the Department of Corrections to accept new inmates from local jails. We are vetoing this proviso because of the impact it is having - and will continue to have - on the agency. As we stated at the last Budget and Control Board meeting, this proviso can be directly linked to the deficit being created at Corrections that could climb as high as $12 million next year. In the past we have tried to reach an agreement with all parties involved to ensure a smooth and seamless transition of prisoners held at the local level to Corrections. However, this proviso gives the agency little flexibility in accepting prisoners from around the state. This proviso supersedes all funding requirements and, in light of the fact that Corrections was not adequately funded, we are left with little choice but to veto this proviso.
Veto 41 Part 1B; Section 65.10; Page 482; Labor, Licensing and Regulation; Wind and Structural Engineering Research Lab, $100,000.
LLR is requesting this veto because the $100,000 in pass through money funds an in-state study of wind and seismic data that is already being performed on the national level using the very same instruments. Therefore, this proviso is duplicative and unnecessary.
Veto 42 Part 1B; Section 76.15; Page 502; State Treasurer's Office; Printing Wage Statements.
This proviso would effectively eliminate all state employee rights to receive full disclosure oftheir pay under the Wage Payment Act because this proviso eliminates the State Treasurer's duty to provide wage statements to state employees for every pay period. The South Carolina Wage Payment Act, S.C. Code § 41-10-30, requires every employer to provide each employee with an itemized statement showing gross pay and deductions for each pay period. This provision in the Wage Payment Act is intended to give timely and full disclosure of the details of employee pay so that employees can ensure that they actually receive all of their earnings. State employees, just like private employees, have the right to monitor their pay, and this right should not be taken away just because it may be cheaper for the State Treasurer to provide the notification less than every pay period.
Veto 43 Part 1B; Section 80A.6; Page 507; Budget and Control Board; Real Property - Sale/Leaseback/Repurchase Revenue Account.
We are vetoing this proviso because we believe that agencies should not be in the land management business as a means to supplement budgetary needs. This proviso allows agency heads to sell state property and bring those dollars back into the agency outside of the normal budgetary process. Ultimately, we believe all state-owned property belongs to the taxpayers of this state and is not the property of an agency.
Veto 44 Part 1B; Section 80A.9; Page 507; Budget and Control Board; Compensation - Agency Head Salary.
As a result of this proviso, the executive branch members of the Budget and Control Board will have no role in overseeing agency head salaries and providing a check to the legislative appointees that compose a majority of the Agency Head Salary Commission. If this proviso would have been in effect last year, agency heads would have received a nearly 4 percent increase in salaries at a time when the state could have least afforded them. The Board voted to reject these raises, proving that it provides an important check on the commission.
This proviso gives the Agency Head Salary Commission final approval authority over all salaries for agency heads and technical and community college presidents - eliminating the Board's oversight in determining proper salary levels. The Commission is composed of eight members appointed by the Senate Finance and House Ways and Means Chairmen, three members appointed by the Governor, and is chaired by the Senate Finance Chairman. We believe giving the commission final approval authority gives the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee too much authority in setting salaries.
Veto 45 Part 1B; Section 80A.47; Page 516; Paragraph 3; lines 19-28; Budget and Control Board; Employee Compensation.
Paragraph 3 of this proviso seeks to undo a 2-0 vote that was taken by the Budget and Control Board in December of 2007 in which four percent average salary increases were proposed for agency heads. We think this is a mistake and does not make common sense for agency heads to receive on average a four percent increase, while our everyday state employee receives a one percent raise.
By way of background, when this issue came up at the Budget and Control Board several months ago the two legislative members, along with the Treasurer, refused to take a vote. As a consequence the affirmative votes of the Governor and Comptroller General prevailed and the pay raise was stopped. There point then, which holds today, was that leadership ought to lead by example - and that today's budget climate was not the environment for four percent raises. The very same members who refused to vote on the measure in December are now trying to circumvent the process by inserting this into the budget at the 11th hour.
Veto 46 Part 1B; Section 22.40; Page 423; Department of Health and Environmental Control; Competitive Grants.
Veto 47 Part 1B; Section 39.6; Page 444; Department of Parks, Recreation and Tourism; Competitive Grants.
Veto 48 Part 1B; Section 40.23; Page 448; Department of Commerce; Competitive Grants.
Veto 49 Part 1B, Section 80A.31; Page 512; Budget and Control Board; Competitive Grants.
Veto 50 Part 1B, Section 80A.33; Page 512; Budget and Control Board; Grants Review Committee.
Veto 51 Part 1B; Section 89.87; Page 548; General Provisions; Competitive Grants Funds Carry Forward.
In a budget year where we may see a large deficit at the Department of Corrections and the State Department of Education, allowing this program to continue makes absolutely no sense. This program has been referred to by some as a "legislative slush fund" and has funded many items from pork-themed festivals to an Elvis impersonator. There is currently $18.5 million in the fund that should revert back to the general fund to be used for a higher priority.
The biggest flaw in the program is that there is no priority setting process in place for either considering or making awards. Until recently, reporting requirements back to the Competitive Grants Committee or the Budget and Control Board were limited and poorly enforced. The program has funded a wide variety of items, but a few examples raise concerns about the strength of the program. One grant was approved for "playground equipment" though it was later learned the funds went to a town festival and paid for an Elvis impersonator. Another grant, funded as economic development to buy "needed equipment" was actually used to purchase a deep fryer at the baseball field. Another grant sent $10,000 to support a festival that reported back an $18,000 profit.
In a year where there are projected shortfalls for school buses and secure prisons, we believe there are better ways to spend this funding. We would add that if the General Assembly is willing to raid $100 million from reserve funds at the Department of Health and Human Services intended for health care for our neediest citizens, they should be willing to take back these low priority funds. We believe this program should be eliminated and the committee should be asked to stop all future grants from being considered.
Veto 52 Part 1B; Section 89.94; Page 549; General Provisions; Homeland Security Projects.
This proviso allows the Speaker of the House and the President Pro Tempore of the Senate to direct a taxpayer-funded security measure at the State House. Our objection to this proposal is that the dollars spent protecting the political class in Columbia could be better spent on higher priority law enforcement activities around the state.
In the days following September 11, 2001, there was a good deal of concern that so-called "high profile" structures would be subject to potential terrorist attacks. However, seven years later, this outdated mindset only reinforces the castle mentality that political figures need and deserve better protection than the average citizen.
Meanwhile, South Carolina consistently ranks in the Top 5 for violent crimes and cities like North Charleston continue to struggle to keep the streets safe. If we are really serious about prioritizing, does it really make sense to further harden a spot that has its own state house police force, security cameras and limited access - at the expense of putting this money to places wherein it would make a material difference?
Finally, the proviso exempts this project from the procurement process and puts it in the hands of the Speaker and the President Pro Tem management authority for the project. This breech from normal procedure might be warranted if policy makers seriously thought the State House was actually a serious terrorist target, and as a consequence thought it necessary to fast track this project. Actions suggest otherwise as we are nearing almost two full years since the funding was provided. The project not only remains incomplete, but will not even be implemented until well after the legislative session is over. This project should be stopped and the remaining dollars should be dedicated to providing greater security to the people of this state.
Veto 53 Part 1B; Section 89.96; Page 549; General Provisions; Employee Actions.
This proviso is built around protecting the Commissioner of the Department of Health and Environmental Control's job as head of the agency and was put into place last year after the Governor's re-election to office. We think that this is a mistake given the current law and practice with regard to the head of DHEC which has served the state well for more than the past 30 years. To put in something that protects any governmental employee further insulates that person from the concerns of the South Carolina citizenry. This point was underscored recently when the person who had been head of the Solid Waste Division at DHEC left the agency to then lobby on behalf of the company that this person was permitting. Ultimately, being accountable back to the people is important.
Veto 54 Part 1B; Section 89.99; Page 550; General Provisions; I-95 Corridor Study.
I am vetoing this proviso, which relates to funds for the I-95 Corridor Study, because the General Assembly has appropriated no money for this project in this year's budget. Last year, the budget included $500,000 in non-recurring funds for Francis Marion and South Carolina State University to conduct this study, and this funding was not renewed this year. This proviso is, therefore, unnecessary.
Veto 55 Part 1B; Section 89.100; Page 550; General Provision; Lt. Governor Security Detail.
We are vetoing this proviso because it directs money budgeted for the Lieutenant Governor's Office to be spent on a security detail, whereas we believe that money would be better spent on core functions of the Office on Aging. To be clear, we are not vetoing the funding - this veto does not affect the $106,255 additional dollars included in Part 1A for the Lieutenant Governor's Office - only how the funds are spent. As we said last year, we believe former Lieutenant Governor Bob Peeler set the correct example when he refused his Security Detail, a practice that subsequently served his office and state taxpayers well for a decade. Based on the tight financial times we are facing, we believe it would be prudent to return to that model.
As for the funding tied to this line item, we believe it would best be used as a down payment for a recurring source of funding for the Meals on Wheels program. Again this year, budget writers declined to fund a recent supplement to that program using recurring dollars, instead choosing to use one-time money. Using this money for that purpose would be a small but important step toward ensuring the program's future funding.
Veto 56 Part 1B, Section 89.103, Page 551; General Provisions; Attorney Dues.
This proviso would allow state agencies the option of using taxpayer funds to pay the South Carolina Bar Association fees for their attorney employees. This practice is not consistent across state government for professional license fees and members of other professions. As an example, medical doctors at the Department of Corrections do not have their licensing fees paid for by the state.
Veto 57 Part IB; Section 90.12; Pages 570-571; Item G; MUSC Disproportionate Share; $7,000,000.
We are torn on this particular veto. There are two components that have merit and are worthy of support. First, the $600,000 for the Hollings Cancer Center at MUSC reflects a priority we have laid out in Executive Budgets. This year, the Hollings Cancer Center is expected to become a National Cancer Institute designated cancer center, the first of its kind in South Carolina. Second, $575,000 would also be dedicated to fully funding the Disproportionate Share Hospital tax for MUSC. Unfortunately, the funding is tied to a larger amount that is dedicated to neither of those items and is simply an increase to the MUSC budget through the Department of Health and Human Service's reserve funds.
While MUSC does an extraordinary job of providing care to the less fortunate, they are far from the only hospital that does so. Since MUSC is the state's teaching hospital, DSH funds are appropriated through the budget. We do not think we enhance health care in South Carolina by taking funds from Medicaid, which covers the neediest of the needy and applying it to other purposes. Roughly $100 million was raided from reserve funds set up to transition in our Medicaid reforms and to absorb unexpected growth in the softening economy.
Veto 58 Part IB; Section 90.12; Page 571; Line 18; Item C.4; Department of Disabilities and Special Needs; Greenwood Genetics Center; $3,500,000.
Our Administration supports the important efforts of Greenwood Genetic Center in preventing and finding treatments for genetic diseases - which is why we have never vetoed limited state funding for the Center. The Center was established in 1974 as a private, non-profit institution; however, it has a public and private funding structure with the bulk of its funding coming from private and charitable sources and a limited amount from the state - $126,000 per year in the last six years. We are vetoing this special line item in this proviso because it appropriates $3.5 million to build a new treatment center. We certainly commend the worthy goal of building this center for treatment of genetic disorders; however, we believe in our current fiscal climate, we must focus on meeting critical state obligations, like providing fuel for school buses, and let the primary source of the Greenwood Genetic Center's funding - private and charitable sources - support the development of the new treatment center.
In addition, we believe funding for a capital project, although important, should not be taken from Medicaid funds, which covers the neediest of the needy. Roughly $100 million was raided from reserve funds set up to transition in our Medicaid reforms and to absorb unexpected growth in the softening economy.
Veto 59 Part 1B; Section 90.12; Statewide Revenue; Page 571; Line 23; Department of Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Services; State Block Grants; $500,000.
We are vetoing this money because it exceeds the amount the Department originally requested and it is our view that instead of measuring alcohol, tobacco and other drug use outcomes evaluating processes, this money would be better spent as our Executive Budget suggested - in evidence-based direct prevention services.
Veto 60 Part IB; Section 90.12; Page 570; Line 32; Item E; Department of Health and Human Services; Rural Hospital Grants; $3,000,000.
We are vetoing this bill for the following reasons: First, this program is currently limited to only 13 of the 23 designated rural hospitals in South Carolina. The grants program began at the Department of Health and Human Services under the previous administration as a direct payment to some hospitals. Since this type of direct provider subsidy is outside of DHHS's core mission, we ended this practice. The former DHHS Director, who initiated the program, has now successfully lobbied to successfully restore the program. Second, the program, in its current form, equally distributes the funding to each of the recipients. As with other grant programs, this should be a proposal to encourage rural hospitals to invest in outcomes - not simply to collect a check. Third, we do not think that health care is well-served in South Carolina when funds are raided from Medicaid, which provides health care for the neediest in our state and dedicate it to purposes like this. Roughly $100 million was raided from reserve funds set up to transition in our Medicaid reforms and to absorb growth in the softening economy.
Veto 61 Part IB; Section 90.13; Page 572; Lines 23-24; Item (B)(4); Non-recurring Revenue; H12-Clemson University; LightRail; $700,000.
Veto 62 Part IB; Section 90.13; Page 572; Lines 25-26; Item (B)(5); Non-recurring Revenue; H27-University of South Carolina-Columbia; LightRail; $700,000.
Veto 63 Part IB; Section 90.13; Page 572; Lines 27-28; Item (B)(6); Non-recurring Revenue; H51-Medical University of South Carolina; LightRail; $700,000.
These line items allocate $2.1 million for MUSC, Clemson, and the University of South Carolina to implement SC LightRail, which is a computer network for our research universities. While we understand that this project has already begun, we believe that the research universities have other ways to complete this project. First, we believe that the research universities can and should fund this project through their carry forward and reserve accounts. For example, it has been reported that Clemson has carry forward funds of up to $80 million, and USC has a similar amount. With some state agencies already projecting a deficit in the next fiscal year, these schools are well-ahead of almost all of state government. The universities will argue that these carry forward funds are already committed to other projects, in which case we would simply ask our research institutions to prioritize, and decide whether those other projects are more or less important than the completion of SC LightRail. Second, we believe that this project is the exact kind of project that the Research University Infrastructure Act (RUIA) was intended to fund. Funding through RUIA, which encourages public-private partnerships, would allow us to accomplish the goal of implementing LightRail in a much more cost-effective manner for the South Carolina taxpayers and the universities.
Veto 64 Part IB; Section 90.13; Page 572; Lines 35-36; Item (B)(10); Non-recurring Revenue; P20-Clemson University-PSA; Operating expenses; $275,000.
Under this line item, Clemson PSA would receive an additional $275,000 in operating funds. In a year when state agencies are facing roughly 2.5 percent across-the-board budget cuts, we don't think it is appropriate to increase Clemson PSA's operating budget. State government's core functions, like fuel for our school busses or securing our prisons, should be fully funded before we ask taxpayers to fund projects such as Master Gardeners, Master Bee Keepers, and turf grass research.
Veto 65 Part IB; Section 90.13; Page 573; Lines 7-8; Item (B)(14); Non-recurring Revenue; E23-Commission on Indigent Defense; Public Defenders & Staff; $3,993,844.