Since the beginning I have stood by the conviction that government must live within its means and prioritize its spending of the people’s money, yet unfortunately, the current trend is to spend frivolously and pass on unfunded obligations to future generations.
Since I came to the South Carolina Senate in 2005, I have seen government spending grow by over 40%. The Assembly took the massive increase in tax receipts from 2004, 2005, 2006 and spent every dime. I have fought consistently with other like-minded senators to eliminate wasteful spending by either returning more money to you, the taxpayer, or setting aside revenue for budget shortage years like this year. We were successful in a few tax cuts, yet most of the funds were recklessly spent.
This year there is a revenue shortfall and while the Assembly was forced to cut spending, this year’s budget still robs $100 million from the Medicaid trust fund and creates a $161 million annualization hole in the State’s budget. We have $20 billion in unfunded liabilities in state employee benefits. Governor Sanford was compelled to take out his line-item-veto pen 64 times to eliminate spending on programs outside the core mission of our government agencies. He has recommended that we restore agencies like Corrections and health care to full funding, and I agree that should be our priority.
With these issues looming, I felt it necessary to stand for fiscal responsibility and support the majority of Governor Sanford’s vetoes.
Although painful, these cuts are necessary to prevent future disasters from occurring. Unfortunately, the General Assembly has over-ridden most of these vetoes and our future problems will come home to roost as expected.
You may read the messages on each veto by following this link:
I chose to sustain all line item vetoes except for the following: 11-Bureau of Protective Services; 17-State Guard Operating Expenses; 23-Long Term Facility Reimbursement; 24-Carry Forward DHHS Dental Reimbursement; 27-Public Nursing Facilities; 28-Nursing Services to High Risk/High Tech Children; 30-Teen Pregnancy Prevention
I appreciate the opportunity to serve you in the South Carolina Senate and find it necessary to make these tough choices as long as we are commended to be stewards over the funds that belong to you, the taxpayer.