Wednesday, July 11, 2012

South Carolina's Budget Battle Continues

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Last Friday, July 6, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley publicly released her 81 line-item vetoes for the S.C. budget. The down economy combined with a presidential election has already made for a contentious Congressional session, yet the Senate and House managed to come to terms and create a budget that received praise from both sides of the aisle as balanced and well constructed. The bill was sent off for Hayley's approval June 29. Unlike her predecessor, former Governor Mark Sanford, Haley opted not to block the entire budget. however, the 81 items she did overturn have only added to the quarrel. 

The office of House Speaker Bobby Harrell stated that although the General Assembly originally intended to reconvene in September to discuss any vetoes, "the ambiguity created by some of the governor’s vetoes, like whether teacher salaries will be funded and whether or not some agencies will still have the authority to continue operating, needs to be addressed sooner rather than later." In light of Hayley's vetoes, Representatives will be back in Columbia July 17 for a special session of the House to asses the situation. South Carolina Senators are expected to follow suit sometime shortly after.

Though some health services funds were vetoed, overall health and disability services faired well, with maintenance of previous funding levels. A little over thirty-six million dollars were allotted to offset a cut from the federal government relating to education funding for children with disabilities under the Disabilities Education Act. Further, state funding for the Medicaid program will provide healthcare for an additional seventy thousand children that do not currently have access to services. Also not to be left out, five hundred slots will be added to assist elderly residents through the community long term care waiver program. 

For more information on the budget, click here or visit the South Carolina Legislative page on Bill H.4813. You can also follow this link to read Governor Haley's Veto Message and evaluate Hayley's reasoning for yourself. Be sure to check back with us as we continue to update the blog on this and other matters.

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