Gov. McMaster vetoes more than $150 million in earmarks from state budget proposal

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COLUMBIA, SC (WSPA) — South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster announced his budget vetoes Friday afternoon at the State House.

The Governor said he would like to see more transparency in the state budget when it comes to state funds being used for local pet projects. He vetoed about $153 million worth of earmarked appropriations.

He said, “The bulk of these earmarked appropriations lacks sufficient context, description, explanation of merit and the justification of how the recipient intends to spend the funds.”

In total, McMaster is sending the General Assembly 15 vetoes — vetoing 226 appropriations.

Lawmakers want to use the money for a variety of projects like $250,000 for Flagship of Luca Vasquez de Ayllon Shipwreck Survey or $850,000 for Five Points Road Funding. Governor McMaster said he would like to see more details on these appropriations before signing off on them.

This year, lawmakers did make this grant process more transparent. Governor McMaster said, “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.”

He went on to say, “Disclosure of the sponsor and recipient is not enough.”

According to McMaster, more can be done to increase transparency. “I call on the General Assembly to consider my proposal to create a public, merit-based competitive grant process for these types of appropriations.”

The Governor said he would like to see more scrutiny in the process.

Included in the the earmarks vetoed by the governor is $19 million for a Greenville Cultural and Arts Center and $12 million for downtown Spartanburg infrastructure.

You can watch the Governor’s full press conference here.

Senators and House members will be back at the State House Tuesday to override or sustain McMaster’s vetoes. For more information click or tap here.

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