A reader writes to me via e-mail to say, with regard to the governor’s budget vetoes:
After receiving an e-mail alert from ETV yesterday and reading about Medicaid cuts, I e-mailed Majority Leader Bingham and asked him to vote to override these two items. I am attaching his response. He does not commit to a yes or no answer, and the remainder of his response left me scratching my head. Why would house Democrats team up with Governor Sanford against House republicans? Am I misreading this?
I know that there is more going on than I know about, but this just does not make sense to me.
I have asked Majority Leader Bingham for clarification; I have e-mailed Senator Setzler as well.
Here is the response he says he got from Kenny Bingham:
Thank you for your email and for taking the time to write. As you can probably imagine, as a result of Governor Sanford’s budget vetoes, I have been inundated with emails and phone calls from those who are concerned about the negative impact that these vetoes will have on various agencies of state government. In past years, the General Assembly has been able to override many of the catastrophic vetoes that have been handed down from Governor Sanford. Unfortunately, this year will be different. As those who have closely followed the budget process know, we have had a very difficult time putting together a budget that a majority of members would support.In the House of Representatives, our first try to pass the final budget conference report, failed by a vote of 47 to 69. After several days of intense negotiations, we were finally able to pass the budget, but only by the slimmest of margins and without any help from the House Democrats. This set the stage for what we now have before us. As a result of not having the support of House Democrats throughout this years budget process, this allowed the Governor and a group of his closest allies, to hold us hostage with this year’s budget. We were faced with the dilemma of either agreeing to accept his line item vetoes, or he was going to veto the entire budget document which would have required that we start the budget process over from scratch. A process that took 5 months to complete the first time, and one that would have been next to impossible to complete prior to government having to shut down on July 1st.Therefore, when the House Democrats informed us on the last day of session that they would not help us override the Governor’s veto of the entire budget, we were left with no other real option but to agree to sustain the Governor’s line item vetoes. While this is clearly not the kind of news that I hoped to be sending you, it is unfortunately the truth. So barring the Governor having a change of heart, or some other unforeseen circumstance, I anticipate that the Governor’s vetoes will be sustained.As always, if I can ever be of assistance to you or your family, or answer any questions about state government, please feel free to contact me.Take care,Kenny Bingham