Governor Sanford Expresses Budget Reservations, Withholds Vetoes
GOVERNOR SAYS OVERALL APPROACH TO BUDGET CUTS SOUND,
LAYS DOWN MARKERS TO LEGISLATURE TO AVOID SITUATION IN FUTURE
While expressing "serious reservations" about a number of a flexibility-limiting provisions in the legislature's targeted spending cuts plan, Governor Mark Sanford today announced he would allow the plan to become law and withhold any budget vetoes.
Last week the General Assembly sent the governor a plan to cut nearly $500 million from the state budget, a move made necessary by severe overspending and growing government by 40 percent over the past four years - a rate far faster than the underlying economy.
"First off, I would certainly give credit to the House and Senate for reversing their early reluctance to do so and ultimately heeding our calls for real and targeted budget cuts. I'd give particular credit to the junior members of the legislature who joined us in insisting to their leadership on this course of action," Gov. Sanford said. "As well, we'd give the House and Senate credit for revisiting some of the vetoes we issued earlier this year, like Competitive Grants funding and state-paid security for the Hunley. While we have serious reservations about some of the provisions in this bill that limit agencies' flexibility, we don't think vetoing those things would substantially change the position we're in. We believe we'll have multiple bites at the apple on that front given that this is likely the first of a number of rounds of budget cuts. We're hopeful the legislature will seriously consider the concerns we lay out in the accompanying letter when they reconvene in January."
The governor's letter lays out seven key principles for the General Assembly to improve budgeting practices:
- Setting legal limits on spending so government doesn't grow faster than the underlying economy
- Restructuring state government to make it more efficient and accountable
- Limiting annualizations, the practice of using one-time money for ongoing expenses
- Addressing long-term commitments and liabilities, like capital projects and unfunded promises to retirees
- Setting priorities based on results, not political considerations
- Providing healthcare in a sustainable manner
- Protecting and preserving our unique quality of life
"As an administration, we're far more open to and willing to work with the legislature on the idea of targeted cuts, as opposed to the massive increases in spending we've seen in previous years. Rest assured that if things swing back in the other direction we'll be just as ready to use our veto pen to try and rein in another spending spree," the governor said.