While North Carolina was dealing from the fallout from the biennial budget battle, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley was in conflict with her Republican-controlled legislature, but for far different reasons than Gov. Perdue. Haley had issued a slew of line-item vetoes on state spending measures, which she explained in a statement issued by her office.
“It’s a shame that the General Assembly chose to spend more tax dollars than we can reasonably afford, and chose to spend it in some areas like public TV and political party primary elections that are beyond the core functions of government. But we have had some tremendous successes in this legislative session, and we are looking forward to more of them next year. Ultimately, the citizens of our state will decide whether they want a legislature that spends less than was done this year.”
To their shame, Republicans and Democrats joined to override Haley’s vetoes on issues ranging from economic incentives to higher education funding and appropriations for arts funding.
Haley emerged from a brutal GOP gubernatorial primary as a leading member of a class of fiscally conservative governors elected in 2010. She has had a rocky relationship with some members of the GOP establishment within South Carolina (one Republican state senator went so far as to call her a “raghead” in reference to her Sikh heritage, and she has faced improbable accusations of adultery from sources connected to her political rivals).
Her focus on identifying legitimate government functions, and privatizing or defunding other areas, should be a model for North Carolina. Unfortunately, it is hard to imagine Governor Perdue referring to any of our current state spending as “beyond the core functions of government”.