Budget Vetoes – your thoughts?

Looks like we’re returning next week (July 17th) instead of September to take up Gubernatorial Budget Vetoes.

Click here and here to read the veto messages from Governor Haley.

As always, your feedback is appreciated. Many times readers prefer to contact me directly instead of posting on the site. Whichever you prefer is fine by me!

Hearing from the constituents in Irmo/Chapin/Dutch Fork…as well as others across the state…helps me better understand differing opinions before casting these very important votes.

Thanks for helping me serve you better in Columbia!


  1. Sustain each and every one of them please. In a year where our budget increased 12% over last year, these vetoes are a drop in the bucket. Have we learned nothing from the years leading up to the downturn in 2008? It is vital that we control spending now at sustainable levels for when revenues drop off in future years — especially in light of the ominous signs on the horizon on the macroeconomic level with the European Debt Crisis and the enormous monetary-inflation (that will soon lead to price-inflation) of the US dollar over the past three years. Not to mention our pension crisis right here in South Carolina!

    Let’s go beyond our myopic view of the current budget year and look at where we need to be. Any honest assessment of our long-term prognosis is bleak. The sooner we begin to address our problems, the less pain we will feel. We MUST not repeat the errors of the past. Please sustain these vetoes and next year vote against any budget that includes spending increases that outpace population growth and price-inflation or that include absurd things like taxpayer funding of any abortions, Medicaid expansion, or blanket government employee salary increases.

    • Override them please. Ms. Haley has shown once again that she only cares about out of state interests. That’s where her campaign money comes from. She cares little about helping folks in the state. Our state has delayed fixing just about everything and it shows – roads, bridges, ports, airports, schools, colleges, parks, fire equipment, and the list goes on. Not to mention we have not prepared our kids for the future or treated our employees fairly. It’s time we spent some of our taxes to fix our needs. Let’s invest in SC.

    • Thomas Ketchen says:

      Sustain them all. We must learn to control spending and set a good example for the mobsters in Washington

  2. RD Neal jr says:

    Override them. Governor Haley has shown that she does not care about South Carolina as is evidenced by her support of the Savannah Harbor. And where is she right now, spending Taxpayer money to run off to Europe.
    We need to build an educated workforce in order to attract well paying jobs. Or we can continue to send our best and brightest across the border to NC and GA where they can get jobs making more money. We have lost all our banking headquarters to Charlotte. Start investing here.

  3. Ralph Bell says:

    Sustain them and even if they override them at least we can see who is for limited government. It was her platform and I feel she is sticking to it. We need to have some fiscal Policy and it just the same old “if you vote for this I will give you that. ”

    Thanks for being there,

    Ralph and Family

  4. Michelle Patterson says:

    Yes, I agree with Daniel. Please sustain these vetoes. We need not spend money just because we have it!

  5. Please overturn the veto for all healthcare, education and corrections budgets. These areas are already cut beyond the bone. We are seeing more inmates (juveniles especially put into the streets which is not safe for any of us.) The education system has always been lacking in SC, futher cuts hurt the children, our future and our ability to recruit and maintain a talented and educated workforce. Many companies are unwilling to open operations in SC due to our educational system. Finally, health care, in the area of Medicaid, we receive more in funds than we pay in taxes. Thus, we should continue to maintain Medicaid funding and expand eligibility. When these folks go without Medicaid or insurance, it only hurts the rest of us as they still seek care in the ER and hospitals. Those ER and hospital costs trickle down to the rest of us. PS- Nikki Haley doesn’t care about the people of this state. She only cares about her own reputation and political career. (Unfortunately, those aren’t going well either.)

  6. Ben Stuckey says:

    Sustain each and every one of them, its time to cut back on gov spending

  7. Mark Boone says:

    Great session Rep. Ballentine! As always, you serve this community well and set the bar high for our expectations of our elected officials. My main concern regarding the vetoes was the Governor’s veto of funding for the SC Arts Commission. I understand her concern that 30% of the budget for that agency goes to overhead (personnel, etc). I remind her that it’s not a charity, but a governmental agency which provides grants for local projects as well as the coordination and promotion of the arts in SC. We are in the midst of an artistic rebound in our area, and it’s creating destinations long neglected by tourists (e.g. downtown Columbia). Other conservative states (TX, GA, TN, KY) have embraced and utilized their agencies as a means to create arts destinations, impacting tourism and thus creating jobs. The grants they provide are incredibly important, as is the orchestration and promotion of the arts in SC. Were the governor to take the ownership of the agency, give the agency a mandate and direction, her efforts could find the type of results she and we could be proud of. There’s an obligation our elected officials have to support art and enrich culture. The SCAC is chartered to promote our culture, despite its miniscule budget. This is a topic near and dear to this conservative and many others. I know Gov. Haley claims she supports the arts, but it’s her lack of understanding and direction of this agency that cause me to fear not only for its demise, but also of the demise of a burgeoning culture which improves lives and can help in the creation of jobs.

  8. Jay Kilmartin says:

    Please support and sustain the veto’s. I love art, but do not expect non art lovers to pay for my entertainment. If there is a market for it, it will pay for itself. I did not vote for Gov. Haley to give direction to the arts.

    Also, Please continue to support School Choice. The failed non compete monopoly in this state disgusts me.

  9. A.D. Adams says:

    Please vote to override at least the funding for the Arts Commission and the Coalition Against Dometic Violence/Sexual Assault. DMH has been cut for so many years, it does need the maintenance work and teachers are very important to the growth of our citizens and state. We need to keep good teachers in the classroom or we will continue to slip further down the list of states in test scores and graduation rates. Personally, I would be fine with a vote to override all of the vetoes, but these are the most important ones to me. I can’t understand why the Gov. would veto funding for the Domestic Violence Coalition. Does she not know we are in the top for deaths by the hands of a domestic partner? Why would anyone wish to withhold funds for something so important?

  10. Tony Boccanfuso says:

    Dear Nathan

    These vetoes reflect what happens when a disproportionate share of gov’t funding goes to a few entitlements. What most of us see as “government” services is being crowded out by large increases in a few, very large programs. What is happening in the state is a microcosm of what is happening at the federal level where non discretionary spending is a small part of government spending. While these vetoes may be appropriate, they are rounding errors when compared to overall state funding.

  11. Brent Chitwood says:

    I believe that the majority of your constituents are fiscal conservatives. Some Democrats, some Republicans, some Libertarian and some Independent and Tea Party. But when it comes to spending money WASTEFULLY, we agree. Don’t do it. However, we have elected you to use your greater knowledge to determine which of the vetoes should stand.

  12. Dennis Baker says:

    Sustain every one that does not benefit the entire state. I agree with governor Haley on that point, as I don’t think the federal government should pay for pork barrel projects of individual Senators. Consider an override only things like teacher pay and prisons, where the whole state benefits. The state government should not pay towards the Irmo town park, etc.

  13. John Caudle says:

    Please help to sustain Governor Haley’s vetoes. It’s time for the spend, spend, spend mentality to be curbed, curbed, curbed!!!

  14. Gina Summer says:

    Governor Haley explained the reason for every Veto, and they should all be upheld. I appreciate her standing up for the taxpayers of this state.

  15. Nathan: You are and have always been a state representative who speaks his mind and does what is right. You do not cow-tow to the old-boy network and think through and vote what is truly best for the state, not the party.

    Sustain all the vetoes with the exception of the funds going for promoting economic development. South Carolina still ranks 48 in economic recovery and there is a major need to attract new industry, especially in the Midlands. Without growth of our industrial base we will not create jobs. Currently 20% of my well qualified friends are seeking jobs in the Columbia area. This is not a good sign.

  16. Toni Sylvester says:

    While I agree generally with holding the line on the budget, I am concerned about the message the state is sending if it drops support of the SC Arts Commission. We are trying to attract industry, retirees and tourists to our state and arts and cultlure are important to many people in those groups. There might be South Carolinians who don’t think they benefit directly from the Arts Commission but there are definite indirect benefits if people considering the state for business investments, a retirement home or a vacation think South Carolina offers a high quality of life.

  17. Jeanette Macchiaverna says:

    When I was a volunteer on the school PTO board at Leaphart Elem. and the music teacher made requests, or the art teacher made requests for tools – items, like art books, or a new spot light for
    the theatre, I gladly supported the board’s OK for those items. We had the funds & the next year, we’d
    have more fund raisers to acquire more funds. Had there been a recession, or we were unbable to raise those funds, we might have had to cut back somewhere. It is my understanding, that the
    arts maintain and bring into the area, a higher level of educated population. After my children became
    adults and graduated from colleges, I was asked by a few, “how we did it?” – graduating all three. We had our own incentive program; of course, they had to do the work to graduate themselves, but it
    meant “keeping an eye on the ball”, or in our case keeping an eye on the goal or task at hand. There is no reason why SC cannot reach goals for itself. What is important, is to have everyone on
    board with what is important. We need a consensis of everyone working towards having a healthy
    community – starting with healthy pregnancies, healthy Mom’s, healthy babies and all setting the bar
    to be responsible for themselves and not looking to Government handouts. This is what is important.

  18. Nanette Butler says:

    Please vote to override at least the funding for the Arts Commission and the Coalition Against Dometic Violence/Sexual Assault. I know we need to get control of our spending, but is totally cutting funding for some areas the way?

  19. Clay Eaton says:

    In my opinion, the over-ride or sustain issues are less important than the fact that time after time the budget process in South Carolina is completed very, very late in the legislative session, which is cause for concern for many reasons.

  20. Mark Estes says:

    The only one that I wold consider over-riding is the Arts Commission, if you feel that it actually would attract industry. But in general, sustain all the vetoes.

  21. Janet Marshall says:

    Please sustain all vetoes. My guess is there are more that should come out of the budget. SC government has always reflected a lack of knowledge on how to help our state grow. One of the comments mentioned all the banks moving out of state. 30+ years ago SC could have been a part of the financial hub but SC government would not use money wisely to build a larger airport for couriers to fly in and out to transport work. Finally, we have a beautiful airport and airlines do not want to fly into due to the cost. So now people are going to Greenville or Charlotte to fly as the air fare is cheaper than Columbia. Gas tax should not go to general fund it should be used to improve our roads. Too many schools are being built that are not needed in Distrist 5. Need to get rid of so many distrist offices. Our local government from county to state are self serving and do not work for the citizens. It’s wonderful to have a few like you and Governor Haley who take a stand against the good old boys who are holding our state back which includes education.

  22. Thank y’all for sharing your comments!

    I have read them all and will continue to check back here as well as my state house email (nathanballentine@schouse.gov) to be sure everyone who took the time to respond has been heard.


    • Hi Nathan,

      As usual, people are inflamed by emotions, not facts. The fact is we need support of the arts in our communities. The Arts Commission is a necessity.

      The Director, Ken May, explains some facts: By proviso, 70% of the Arts Commission’s state appropriation must (and does) go to grants. The governor assumes that the remaining 30% goes to administration, but that is not the case. The Arts Commission is much more than a grantmaking agency, and the majority of its non-grant expenditures of state funds are programmatic, not administrative.

      Please, Nathan, consider what the arts bring to South Carolina and continue to support the small amount that they are awarded.

      Thank you,

      Michel McNinch

  23. Don Gilbert says:

    Sustain all vetoes. Stop the spending!

  24. Reese M. Massey says:

    Sustain all vetoes!!!!

  25. Alan Thomas says:

    Please sustain all vetoes.

  26. Vivian B. says:

    Sustain all vetoes.

  27. Michael Morris says:

    Override the vetoes for the Art Commission, Teacher pay raises and Coalition against domestic violence/sexual assault. Gov Haley only cares about stuffing money in her campaign fund and cares little about the people of South Carolina. Her vetoes continues the conservative trend to dumb down America and create a permanent and ever larger lower class. Hasn’t South Carolina already embarrassed itself enough times before the nation.

  28. Gail Zeigler says:

    Please override all vetoes that impact public education. They are as follows:

    Veto # 1- eliminates funding for Arts Commission (23 jobs)
    Veto # 4- eliminates funding for Writing Improvement Network
    Veto # 5- eliminates funding for Geographical Alliance
    Veto # 7- eliminates $10 million of the funding for the 2% teacher pay increase
    Veto # 8- eliminates $1.7 million for the Governor’s School for Science & Math (9 jobs)
    Veto # 10-eliminates funding for Joint Children’s Committee
    Veto # 11-eliminates $200,000 in funds for Education Oversight Committee (EOC)
    Veto # 16-deletes proviso that requires districts to seek “best price” for school bus repairs
    Veto # 17-deletes proviso that provides funding for Lee County Bus Shop
    Veto # 18-deletes proviso that creates an “innovation initiative” at EOC
    Veto # 21-deletes $500,000 in grants for Arts Commission
    Veto # 44-deletes funding for SkillsUSA
    Veto # 60-deletes IT funding for John De La Howe
    Veto # 63-deletes funding for window replacement at Wil Lou Gray
    Veto # 68-deletes $100,000 in funding for School Improvement Council (SIC)
    Veto # 69-deletes $35,000 in funding for SIC
    Veto # 70-deletes $1.25 million for the Governor’s School for Arts & Humanities
    Veto # 71-deletes proviso for EOC Efficiency Review
    Veto # 72-deletes funding for EOC Efficiency Review

  29. Richard Knight says:

    Sustain the vetos. We have to cut spending. If the House wants to propose greater cuts in other areas. Write the bill!

  30. I am all about Free Markets and believe if an industry can not compete on it’s own it should not be propped up with taxpayer dollars, that includes the arts. I am sorry but if there is not a market for the arts they should be allowed to fail. I encourage you to sustain all of her vetoes

  31. Don Ward says:

    Nathan,I hope you will vote to sustain all of the vetoes. We need to live within our means. People who want the vetoes overridden generally have something to gain by putting down a very fine governor or want to see unbridled government growth continue.If all of our represenatives cared as much for their districts and our state as you clearly do vetoes would not be needed because self intrest legislation to promote reelection would disappear.

  32. Mark Quindlen says:

    Nathan, please sustain all vetoes. It’s a step in the right direction but PLEASE remind your constiuents and peers in the House that Gov. Haley’s vetoes represent only 1/4 of 1% of the state’s $23 billion annual budget. As said earlier, it’s a rounding error and spending time and energy debating 0.25% is almost meaningless!

    If the electorate and elected officials don’t come to terms with budgets (currently at 14% of state’s annual economy according to SC Policy Council) that are outpacing population growth, bloated with pork from prior golden years, and tax revenues decreasing due to slowed economic activity, our children are doomed. The debate shouldn’t be about the pro’s & con’s of each area of the budget, it’s about the proper role of government.

    I will comment on one area however. While I agree with many about education as a priority. I constantly hear about increasing funding for K-12 when as home-owners, we’re paying 0% of our school’s annual operating budget (due to the Property Tax Relief Act of 2006 – Act 388). That tax burden was mostly shifted to business owners which has the effect of killing jobs. Please fight for tax reform in this area and for school choice. Competition is needed!

  33. Mark Boone says:

    Here are some numbers related to the SC Arts Commission: $9.2b in revenue generated by the arts in SC, 78,000 jobs, 3% of the State’s economy, $520m in tax revenue. The commission coordinates $500k in grants (now vetoed as well), as well as provides training, networking and collaboration for art-related entities (i.e. businesses) to grow in our state. Anyone witnessing the renaissance of the arts in downtown Columbia can testify to the validity that promoting arts through the SCAC has been a boon to the once desolate streets and brick and mortar businesses. This tiny investment of our state into the arts promotes culture, business growth, real estate development and more. In return, we receive federal matching funds for certain endeavors, but mostly, we see $520m in cash back to the state. Your return on investment in this shows the wisdom of legislatures and governors past in creating this commission. This is an economic development endeavor, for which all taxpayers should be grateful.

  34. Mary Hoyt says:

    For every dollar granted to the arts in SC, $40.00 is generated for the economy of SC. What a great return on investment!

  35. Frank Eargle II says:

    Nathan, I believe you should uphold all of the vetoes. For those that wish to support the arts commission and other agencies, consider writing a check. It’s tax deductible. It also will test your resolve to support those agencies. If you will not willing to write a check, why are you asking the rest of us to?

  36. Chip Trammell says:

    It is my hope that you will sustain all the vetos and that you will look for more PORK to cut. I see waste every day in state government. I know that you can see it also and that you want it eliminated ………….. so keep up the good work, fight the good fight, and sustain Gov. Haley’s vetos.

  37. Mildred Krause says:

    Please read the commentary by Steve Benjamin in today’s paper. (Sunday July 15) He lays it out by the numbers. The arts commission HELPS the economy of SC. It keeps lots of people working and thus supporting the tax base. I think you will agree after reading Mr. Benjamin’s commentary that we need our Arts Commission.

  38. Chris Record says:

    I would agree to sustain most, especially Veto 67. You can not take money from the mortgage settlement and use it to fund other line items. If SC doesn’t want it, send it back, not reallocate. Using the money for something it was not intended for might be illegal and it is morally theft. Additionally, all the home owners who could have been helped with the money that find it used for something else could get together and file a class action lawsuit against the State for misappropraition of funds intended for their benefit.

    I think stripping money from the arts is a foolish way to save money.

    Just my two cents worth.

  39. Steve Nash says:

    Nathan, as you are aware, I am a father with a son diagnosed with Hemophilia. Our family is acutely aware of the high costs of Healthcare for people with a Bleeding Disorder which is in excess of $200,000 a year. Gov. Haley’s Veto #53 of the $100,000 DHEC Line item for Premium Assistance Program needs to be overturned not only for the recipients of the program benefits, but to save the state well more than the $100,000 in budgeted funds. The Premium Assistance program funded by this budget item allows eligible members of the SC Bleeding Order Community to obtain Health insurance though the Private Insurance market. By eliminating the Premium Assistance Program, many of the community members receiving program benefits today will not be able to afford Private Health Insurance and will be forced to rely on social programs to cover their healthcare needs. Instead of these healthcare costs being paid by Private Healthcare companies, they will now be borne by Medicaid and other social programs, dramatically increasing the costs to the state well in excess of the $100,000 budgeted for this program.
    It is simple math if you are educated in how these funds are used and not looking just at the bottom line.

  40. Stephen C. Lloyd, MD says:

    Please sustain Veto #6, the DHEC CON program. It only protects the monopoly of those that get CONs, and then prevent others from getting them. The Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice have thoroughly evaluated this program and deemed it a failure at constraining health care costs, As a physician, I see the expensive and wasteful battles waged by the gargantuan hospital systems (like the Lexington Heart surgery debacle). Please sustain the veto.

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