McMaster Gives Reasoning For Budget Vetoes

Cites lack of transparency in areas

South Carolina Radio Network
July 09, 2018 - 9:12 am

South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster said he vetoed some items of the 2018-2019 Fiscal Year state budget because they lacked transparency.

“This budget has one major flaw in it and that is it takes an unprecedented step away from public transparency and accountability,” he said.

“In one area, in higher education, it seems the budget is reduced by $2.46 billion,” McMaster said. “But in fact, if you look at it, the reason that happened is because $3.45 billion in higher education “other” funds, which is a separate category, “other” funds spending authorization has been completely removed from the state budget lines on each or our public universities, colleges, technical schools. Well, we just can’t do that. That’s why I vetoed that.”

“In past years, this spending authorization in the budget has allowed the public to see just how much each institution receives and spends from funds generated by such things as tuition, of course, donations, grants, gifts from people, athletic department revenue, housing. You could see how that money was spent and where it came from,” he said. “So they took that off the budget and that is counter to accountability. It’s counter to openness and transparency and I’m not going to allow it.”

“Removing the higher education institutions from the transparency provided through the normal appropriation process in which every other state agency participates sends the wrong message to the people of this state, who, in truth, are the owners of these schools. So I vetoed that,” he said.

McMaster said he also vetoed several line items that appeared to be earmarks or pork. Click here to read the Governor’s vetoes for the Fiscal Year 2018-19 General Appropriations Act.

“Many of these vetoes represent a collection of legislative earmarks appropriations that are completely void of necessary transparency,” he said. “They lack disclosure of explanation, justification, description, purpose, location or amount. How they further the agencies’ missions is entirely unaddressed and in most cases, my cabinet agencies’ directors did not request the funds and don’t know who put them in the budget  and don’t know what the money is supposed to be used for.”

The Governor also said he vetoed some items that were inserted into the budget as provisos which should have gone through the regular budget process. He said some of the items he vetoed “specify instances in which the legislature has acted unwisely and hastily with taxpayer dollars by directing public money to private interests or earmarking funds for parochial projects which serve little or no public interest and should be considered locally.”

Among these items: $100,00 for the Department of Education, Education Improvement Act Quaver Music; $250,000 for Department of Archives and History Charleston Library Society Beaux Arts Building; and $500,000 for the Arts Commission, SC Children’s Theatre.

“That’s no way to run a government,” he said.

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