S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster Wednesday vetoed a total $40.7 million from the state’s $9.3 billion spending plan — leaving in place hundreds of millions of dollars to give pay raises to teachers, state employees and judges, and to return some money to taxpayers.
Below is his official veto message that I always like to share with my constituents. If you see a veto of interest to you, please let me know. To override the veto, it takes 2/3rd of the House and Senate. To sustain the veto, it only takes 1/3 of one body.
Dear Mr. Speaker and Members of the General Assembly:
I am vetoing and returning without my approval certain line items in R110, H. 4000, the
FY 2019-20 General Appropriations Act. However, I am happy to celebrate our successful
partnership in producing a resounding win for the people and prosperity of South Carolina.
South Carolina is on the rise. In the last two years alone, we have announced over $9
billion dollars in new capital investment and over 28,000 new jobs. Our agricultural base is
accelerating, our tourism industry is thriving, and we have become a major high-tech
manufacturing hub. South Carolina is the nation’s top exporter of tires and of completed
Our average annual manufacturing employment growth is 16%, the highest in the
southeast. Over and over we are recognized as one of the best places in the country to do
business, to visit or to vacation.
The current economic competition for jobs, investment, business, knowledge and talent is
as fierce and sophisticated as the world has ever known. It is a competition between states,
nations, companies and continents which offers reward and security for those who succeed.
Viewed in this context of economic competition, it is clear what we must do for future
generations of South Carolinians. We must compete. We must win.
In my inaugural address, I asked my colleagues in the General Assembly to work with me
in a new spirit of communication, cooperation and collaboration. We may wear different
jerseys, but we are all on the same team.
My executive budget contained bold proposals to keep South Carolina winning, and the
General Assembly has embraced and adopted over sixty of them in this state budget.
Together, we recommitted ourselves to providing the highest quality education for all of
South Carolina’s children. Recruiting and retaining excellent teachers was enthusiastically
embraced by both chambers and parties, resulting in the first of many steps to continue investing
in our teachers and our classrooms. Increasing teacher compensation was our first bold step, and
we will take more.
As I have previously noted, being perceived as weak in education is not good. But being
perceived as weak in education and not being committed to fixing it is disastrous.
The Rural School District Economic Development Closing Fund proposed in my
executive budget and included in this budget will provide the “spark” for recruiting jobs and
investment into our state’s most impoverished school districts. This funding will enhance
recruitment of companies in areas of the state which they might not otherwise consider – creating
jobs, infrastructure and long-term revenue.
Creating jobs and careers in these school districts will help transform these communities –
providing stability, keeping families together and offering the opportunities of prosperity. This
state budget emphatically begins the process of making the words “Corridor of Shame” a fading
Our classrooms and schools must also be safe, free from distraction and violence. That’s
why I proposed placing a School Resource Officer, a trained law enforcement officer, in every
school, in every county, all day, every day. The General Assembly has commendably provided
significant recurring funding to begin this process right away.
This state budget also fully supports my proposal to provide every public school in our
state with access to a mental health counselor through the Department of Mental Health’s school
services program. This way, the warning signs of troubled behavior and violence can be detected
before it occurs.
Thanks to a strong and vibrant South Carolina economy, our state enjoyed an unexpected
surplus in state government revenue. A surplus offers a rare opportunity for prioritizing the
essential needs of state government and then returning the balance to the taxpayers. While not
as large as I proposed, the General Assembly did embrace my proposal for a refund. For the first
time in recent history – and I hope not the last – South Carolina taxpayers will receive a one-time
This state budget also funds my proposed one-year freeze on tuition and fees for in-state
students at our public technical schools, colleges and research universities for the 2019 – 2020
academic year. I hope that this one-year tuition freeze will serve as the first step toward a
comprehensive overhaul of higher education funding and tuition reform.
Prosperity requires that we increase our investment in developing a skilled workforce to
fill the demands of today and tomorrow. The skills required in today’s modern workplace require
us to stay ahead of demand and adapt with rapid advancements in technology.
Accordingly, this budget directs more resources and funding toward enhancing workforce
training and development than ever before. Workforce scholarships and grants, apprenticeships,
skilled trade recruitment, and partnerships through our state’s technical colleges will continue to
provide South Carolina businesses with a pipeline of future employees who are ready to work.
One of the most important roles of government is to provide for the safety of its citizens.
Maintaining a sufficient law enforcement presence in South Carolina requires keeping
experienced officers in their jobs, as well as hiring and training new ones. This state budget
includes several of my executive budget proposals for public safety, including pay raises,
retention bonuses and the hiring of new officers. There are no finer law enforcement officers in
the United States than our own in South Carolina.
To my colleagues in the General Assembly I say: The people of South Carolina saw the
year begin with our pledges of cooperation, communication and collaboration. I believe this
state budget embodies that commitment. Let us continue to work together vigorously, thereby
ensuring that future generations of South Carolinians can keep winning and prospering.\
In that spirit, I ask that the General Assembly thoughtfully consider and sustain each of
the following vetoes: