The governor shared his perspective on state legislators Monday, saying the General Assembly shortchanged South Carolina taxpayers. Gov. Mark Sanford said lawmakers spent too much time debating things that didn't really matter, while maintaining an unconstitutional budget deficit of $28 million.
From The Post and Courier:
Lawmakers took too much time debating issues that aren't significant, such as designating one day a year "Historic Baseball Leagues Day," Sanford said.
Meanwhile, the Legislature failed to address what the governor says are bigger issues, including primarily what he perceives as an unconstitutional $28 million budget deficit and an outdated government structure designed in 1895.
"What is bad news now is going to become incredibly ugly over time," he said with regard to the Legislature's spending practices.
According to a press release, Sanford did praise lawmakers for passing three things that he named as priorities in his State of the State address:
- A new DUI law toughens penalties for repeat offenders, implements tiered penalties for levels of intoxication, and most importantly removes a number of legal loopholes that favored defendants.
- A new immigration law requires citizenship verification via the federal e-verify system, and penalizes businesses that do not do so, or who knowingly hire illegal immigrants.
- A new small business access to healthcare law allows businesses to pool together for the purpose of purchasing group healthcare.
"I'd certainly give credit where credit is due in both the House and the Senate for the three reforms passed, and in this to the House in particular for their leadership in moving the ball forward on government restructuring," Gov. Sanford said. "Unfortunately, irresponsible budgeting continues to be an issue that’s going unaddressed, and this year it could have serious implications for things as core to state government as getting kids to school and keeping inmates secured. As we go forward, we're going to be looking at any and all options in terms of getting the legislature to take a more responsible and realistic approach to meeting our state's financial challenges."
The governor also announced four priorities for the summer (a Sustainable Growth Task Force, a draft proposal on financing infrastructure needs, a steering committee to bring the national Boy Scout Jamboree to South Carolina, and health care reform) but he said he is undecided on whether he will call legislators back into session.