Budget Vetoes and Congressional Redistricting — Weekly Legislative Update from Rep. Tom Young

June 28 to July 5, 2011

The House of Representatives met last Wednesday in special session to address gubernatorial vetoes and conference committee reports.   I hope that you find this update helpful and informative:

Happy Independence Day!: I hope that you and your family enjoyed the July 4th holiday and reflected on how blessed that we are to live in the United States of America.

State Budget:  Governor Haley held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon of last week in which she discussed the state budget and announced her budget vetoes.  She stated that there is “no pork in this year’s budget” and issued 34 vetoes totaling approximately 3% of the $5.7 Billion General Fund budget. She also issued a 35th veto of the Capital Reserve Fund appropriations.  As reported last week, the state’s General Fund budget this year includes money that was not spent and instead set aside for items like debt repayment and rainy day reserve accounts.  This includes the following:

  • $146 million to unemployment debt repayment;
  • up to $261 million which fully funds increases to the General Reserve Fund five years ahead of schedule;
  • $104.8 million dedicated to an additional back-up reserve account;
  • $198.6 million to fully fund general obligation bond payments, and
  • $196.4 million to be returned to communities to aid local government.

Governor Haley’s Budget Vetoes:  Governor Haley vetoed 34 line items and provisos in the final version of the budget passed by the General Assembly.  She also vetoed all of the Capital Reserve Fund appropriations in a single veto.  The House of Representatives overrode 25 of the 34 vetoes and the Capital Reserve Fund veto.  I voted to sustain 16 of the 35 vetoes.  I hope that this update will give you some sense of why I voted certain ways on some of the more well known vetoes.  If you have a particular one that you want to know about and I do not address it in here, please let me know.

Capital Reserve Account Veto Overridden:  The House voted to override the veto of the $107 Million capital reserve account which includes funding for economic development, job training, and capital maintenance.   The Governor could have vetoed specific line items in this section but instead vetoed the entire reserve account appropriation.  I voted to override this veto after receiving numerous calls and emails from constituents telling me the importance of many of the deferred maintenance needs and the funding for workforce training, the Department of Commerce, and the technical colleges in the bill.

ETV Funding Vetoes – Overridden:  Governor Haley vetoed budget provisions allowing for ETV to be paid for services that it provides to public schools, law enforcement training and emergency services, and broadcasting sessions of the General Assembly.  This veto was surprising since budget provisions for ETV had been changed with the Governor’s involvement during the budget process.  Two of the three ETV vetoes were overridden by all but one House member and the third was a unanimous override.  I voted to override all three.

K-12 Education Funding Vetoes Overridden:  Governor Haley vetoed the $56 Million appropriation in non-recurring dollars for K-12 education and $20 Million provided to districts to correct inequities in the current funding formula.  Under the $56 Million appropriation, the Aiken County School District will receive an additional $2 Million.  From the $20 Million, the Aiken County School District will receive $1.6 Million.  I voted to override both vetoes and joined several members from the Aiken County House delegation in sending a letter to the Aiken County School Board stating:  “We strongly encourage the Aiken County School District to set aside the additional $3.6 Million in funding and save it for any future funding shortfall.  We think that doing this will be the wisest use of these funds considering the current status of the economy.” To see the full letter, go here.

Arts Commission Funding Veto – Overridden:  Governor Haley vetoed $1.9 Million for the Arts Commission despite changes that were made to the Commission’s budget provisions to ensure that at least 70% of the agency’s state funds are redistributed throughout the state in the form of grants for arts programs in local communities and schools.  I voted to override this veto for two reasons. First, I received numerous requests from people all over House District 81 to override the veto.  The Greater Aiken community benefits from Arts Commission funding through programs at the Aiken Center for the Arts; the Washington Center for the Performing Arts; the Aiken Symphony Guild; and the Aiken Performing Arts Group.  Second, it is clear that state support of the Arts is important for economic development.  A recent USC School of Business study shows that the arts contribute several billion dollars to the state’s economy and support 78,000 jobs statewide.

Clemson Agricultural Research Veto – Overridden:  Governor Haley vetoed $15.3 Million in funds for Clemson’s Agricultural Research programs statewide.  This veto was of the state funds and all of the federal formula grants which Clemson receives as the state’s land grant school. This veto would eliminate the Clemson extension agents who assist farmers with problems with livestock and crops.  If this veto had been upheld, South Carolina would be the only state in the nation which does not fund agriculture research at its state land grant school. I have talked with many farmers who depend upon Clemson extension agents and their knowledge to help them with problems that develop with their crops and livestock.  Based on the information available to me, I voted to override.

School Bus Funding Veto – Overridden:  Governor Haley vetoed $12.4 Million for new buses in the state’s bus fleet citing ongoing efforts to privatize the bus system.  However, State Superintendent Zais sent a message to the House that he believed that this veto should be overridden considering the condition of many of the state’s buses and the expected time line associated with privatizing the bus fleet.  After hearing from Superintendent Zais, I voted to override.

Conservation Bank Veto – Overridden:  The Governor vetoed all of the funding for the State Conservation Bank ($2.0 million). The Conservation Bank assists in purchasing easements and fee simple interests for the preservation of open space throughout the State. The Aiken Land Conservancy has benefitted from the receipt of Conservation Bank funds with its acquisition of properties including the Boyd Pond tract and a portion of the Heritage Trust Gopher Tortoise tract.  There are many people in District 81 who strongly support the efforts of the Conservation Bank.  I voted to override.

Other Vetoes Overridden:  Vetoes that were overridden but for which I voted to sustain the vetoes included programs to help with transitioning from high school to college ($1.4 Million);  Clemson PSA Agency Operations ($250,000); higher education center program funding in Greenville and Charleston ($2.4 Million).

Governor Haley’s Vetoes – Sustained:  The House sustained 9 of Governor Haley’s 35 vetoes.  These vetoes included funds for a nonprofit program to teach entrepreneurship ($118,297); to help eighth grade students prepare for college ($179,856); and to help SAT college entrance exam scores ($169,487); and to promote competitive research in higher education ($40,329).  I voted to sustain these vetoes.

Congressional Redistricting:  The State Senate passed a Congressional redistricting plan last week which places the new proposed 7th Congressional district primarily centered between Beaufort and Berkeley counties.  This is substantially different from the House plan which proposes that the new district include Myrtle Beach and Florence.  In the Senate plan, all of Aiken County is in the 2nd Congressional district with all of Edgefield, Saluda, and Lexington counties and portions of Richland, Calhoun, and Orangeburg counties.  After differences in the House and Senate plans are resolved, the House is expected to return to session for one day in late July to consider a final proposed Congressional plan.

End of Session Town Meetings:  Like the past two years, I plan to hold end of session town meetings around the district.   Based on constituent requests, I will hold those after the summer vacation season ends.  The dates, times, and locations will be provided in future updates.

Aiken Standard Television Interview:  On Wednesday, July 6 from 1-2:00 p.m., Rep. Roland Smith and I will be on Aiken Standard television on “Education Matters with Donna Moore Wesby” to discuss “Understanding the S.C. legislative process: How a bill becomes law.”  The show can be viewed on Channel 95 or via live web stream www.aikenstandard.com/astv/edmatt/.  In addition to the live broadcast, the program re-airs three times daily at 7am, 1pm, and 11pm.

Palmetto Amateur Tournament in Aiken: The 2011 Palmetto Amateur golf tournament will be in Aiken at the Palmetto Golf Club from July 20 to 23.  The event is one of the top amateur golf events in the United States.  To learn more about the event, go here: www.palmettoamateur.com.

Help for Displaced SRS Workers: If you or someone you know lost a job at SRS, there is a One-Stop Transition Center open in downtown Aiken at Park Avenue and Laurens Street to assist workers displaced at SRS with finding new work.  The Center is open from 7:30 am to 4:30 pm Monday through Friday. For more information, visit www.workforce.psa-inc.com.

Aiken County Public Library Summer Reading Program: The annual summer reading program for children through the 5th grade has started at the Aiken County Public Library.  The Program runs through July 30.  Children who read the required number of books will receive a medal and a certificate of completion.  Reading is essential to doing well in school.  Please encourage as many young people as you can to read this summer.  For more information, call the Aiken County Public Library at 642-2020 or go to this link:  http://www.abbe-lib.org/. This program is paid for with private donations from the Friends of the Public Library.

Report Waste, Fraud and Abuse in State Government: To report waste, fraud and abuse in state government, you can call: 1-855-SC-FRAUD.

Roll Call Voting: There is a new link available to keep up with all the roll call votes in the S.C. House.  That link can be accessed at either my website at www.reptomyoung.com or at the www.scstatehouse.gov website.

Facebook:  I have a Facebook page for Representative Tom Young. Please “like” the page to receive updates during the week from me on Facebook.

Tom Young’s Website: My updated website can be reached at www.reptomyoung.com. There are links to a variety of constituent services; the status of sponsored bills; and roll call votes. Please add my web site as a bookmark on your computer.

State House Tours:  Tours are available for the S.C. State House by calling (803) 734-2430.

Email Updates:  If you know of people in or around District 81 who do not receive my updates but they would like to, please email their names and email addresses to me.

Road Issues:  If you see a road problem, call the SCDOT at 641-7665 or Aiken County at 642-1532 to report the problem.  If you do not get a prompt response, please let me know at TomYoung@schouse.gov or call me. Generally, most paved roads in the County are maintained by SCDOT and are identified on the road sign poles by a small black and white sign listing the road number, such as S-2-1669. Most unpaved roads in the County are maintained by the County.

Thank you for the opportunity and the honor to represent you.  Please let me know if I can help you in any way or if you have questions about these or other issues. Your feedback is meaningful and appreciated.


Tom Young
649-0000 (o)
215-3631 (cell)

P.S. Please visit www.reptomyoung.com for more posts, news, video updates, and, if you have Twitter, please click here to start following me!

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