This past week the legislature held a special session to ensure our state tax laws correctly relate to Federal law in the coming year, as well as to address Governor McMaster's budget vetoes.
I'll give you the bad news first. Most of the vetoes where there was little to no publicity ended in defeat, where the Governor's veto was overridden by a large vote. I voted to sustain the vast majority of the vetoes because as a conservative I realize government should not pick winners and losers and because I don't believe we are even getting our core functions right in SC.
For example, one budget item provided $100,000 to a private company to teach music. I love private business. That's why I don't want state government to fund certain businesses just because they can win political influence. And I love music. That's why I don't want state government involved in it.
But the good news is that due to public support, House Republican leadership conceded on all three of our major conservative issues: the data warehouse proviso, higher-ed financial transparency, and Planned Parenthood funding.
1. Data Warehouse Defeated! The idea behind the data warehouse was to combine information the state currently holds on students, workers, and businesses into one place. It supposedly would allow the state to identify what jobs a student would be able to perform so they could be pointed in the right direction. It would also allow us to tweak our education system to produce the workers needed in our economy. But I believe this idea enables social engineering and massive government control. There were numerous privacy and liberty concerns with the proviso, not to mention the secretive way it was included in the budget at the last minute.
You can check out my full commentary on this important issue on the Spartanburg Tea Party website.
2. Higher-Ed Transparency Restored! Under state law, all funds collected by state agencies are to be reported in the budget and spent by the legislature. But House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White (and others) had the brilliant idea to take funds raised by our state universities, such as tuition and sports tickets, off the budget so that it would look like the state was spending less money this year. The Governor called out this arguably illegal move, vetoed the proviso, and asked for higher-ed reporting transparency to be restored to its proper place.
3. Planned Parenthood Funding Cut! The effort to end state funding of abortion, whether directly or indirectly, has been a major battle of mine since the day I announced I was running for State House. This week we made a great stride forward as the House upheld the Governor's veto of the lion's share of South Carolina's Planned Parenthood funding, which was contained in the "family planning" budget section. We have more work to do in this area - most importantly on state insurance which still pays for some abortions - but this vote was a major victory!
Thank you so much for letting your voice be heard on each of these issues. You are the reason I can keep fighting.
I hope to see you on October 11 at 6:30pm for your next opportunity to provide feedback in person, discuss the issues, and connect with the community!