COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster wants lawmakers to cut more than $150 million in spending on local projects out of the state budget, even choosing some of his own priorities to make a point.
McMaster issued 15 budget vetoes on Friday to the nearly $11 billion spending plan.
His vetoes include six that take out money meant for 226 different things, from help for local festivals hurt by COVID-19 to body cameras and armored vehicles for local police agencies.
“While some important and unprecedented transparency measures were adopted in the budgeting process this year, public transparency must be absolute and uncompromised in order to maintain the public’s trust and confidence in state government,” Gov. McMaster said. “Disclosure of the sponsor and recipient is not enough. The bulk of these earmarked appropriations still lack sufficient context – description – explanation of merit – or justification how the recipient intends to spend the funds. Also, no matter how deserving the project, the public must be confident that proper accountability measures are in place to ensure these funds are ultimately spent appropriately by the recipient.”
Individual lawmakers suggest the projects, which are then grouped together and voted on by the whole General Assembly.
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Gov. McMaster says that spending should be done through a grant program.