LAWMAKERS REDUCED THE STATE BUDGET BY A TINY FRACTION OF A TINY FRACTION
Lawmakers began public meetings on the state’s 2012-13 budget January 10 of this year – the first day of the legislative session. Yet the state didn’t have an operational budget until yesterday, July 18th. Indeed, they took so long to pass the budget – the fiscal year ended on June 30th – that the state has been operating off the previous year’s budget for more than two weeks.
Perhaps as a result of all the time they spent on the budget, lawmakers seemed on the whole reluctant to give the vetoes serious consideration – this despite the fact that Gov. Haley only vetoed a tiny fraction of the budget: $57.1 million, or about a quarter of one percent of the $23.6 billion budget.
While 33 of the governor’s 81 budget vetoes were sustained, lawmakers sustained only small-dollar items, and got through the entire process in a mere two days. Altogether, the General Assembly sustained only about $4 million of the governor’s $57.1 million in vetoes. That’s 7 percent of all vetoed funds.
In the end, then, lawmakers saw fit to reduce their budget – by far the largest budget in state history and a full $1 billion larger than last year’s – by a miniscule .019 percent.
So that’s what this was about? A headline-making brawl over a tiny fraction of the state budget, and the result is a tiny fraction of that tiny fraction? Unfortunately, the answer is yes: that’s what this was about.