Fusco says veto WOULD decimate programs

I was going to write “Fusco Says Sanford Full of It” as my headline, but it probably would have given ol’ Frank a heart attack. But that’s what this amounts to.

Remember how I wrote that, according to Kenny Bingham, the GOP leadership seemed inclined to take the governor’s word for it that his veto of the entire $29.5 million appropriation for the Budget and Control Board would NOT decimate several state programs, because, according to the gov, the board just had all this money lying around? And I asked Kenny what Frank Fusco, the head of the B&C Board, had to say about that, and Kenny told me he hadn’t talked to Frank yet? Remember?

Well, here’s what Frank has to say:

Veto Would Devastate Board, Key Programs

This week Governor Sanford vetoed the Board’s entire $29.5 million General Fund appropriation plus other line items for the S.C. Enterprise Information System.
In his veto message to the General Assembly, the Governor stated that he was taking this action because the “Board has sufficient carry-forward and other funds to maintain its operations in this fiscal year.”
The Board does not have funds to make up for this cut. If sustained, the impact of this veto would be severe and would result in very significant staff reductions in our agency.
Board programs rely on a variety of funding mechanisms. Some areas, like the Employee Insurance Program and the S.C. Retirement Systems, draw money from dedicated accounts outside the General Fund and are not impacted. But many other areas of the Board are entirely or partially dependent upon general funds.
If our General Fund budget is not restored, these areas of the Board would have to virtually cease operation:
• The State Budget Office
• The SCEIS statewide financial system
• The Board of Economic Advisors
• The Office of Human Resources
• The Confederate Relic Room and Military Museum
In addition, other areas would see very significant staff reductions:
• The State Procurement Office would lose 30 percent or more of its staff. The auditing function would be eliminated and the State Engineer’s Office will be virtually eliminated.
• The Office of Internal Operations would lose about one-third of its staff and would be severely crippled because it has already made so many reductions.
• The Office of Research and Statistics would lose funding for mapping, redistricting of Congressional and legislative seats and the Geodetic Survey. It would lose about 30 employees.
• The General Services Division would lose all funding for operation of the State House and Capitol Complex. Layoffs would be necessary.
• State funding for local water and sewer grants would be eliminated.
We wish it was the case that the Board had ample extra funds that we could simply use to make up for the shortfall. But that is not the case at all.
While some Board programs have funds in trust or other accounts, most of these dollars can be used only for purposes directed by law. For example, funds from the Retirement System could not be moved to General Services. Nor would it be right, for example, to take money we receive to provide Internet service to public schools and libraries and redirect it to a totally unrelated purpose.
And it is exactly because we do not have lots of free cash that we have reduced spending and staffing, including layoffs last year.
The S.C. House of Representatives will take up the vetoes on Tuesday. If two-thirds of the House votes to override the veto, it would then go to the Senate which would also have to override the veto with a two-thirds vote. Please know that I and the Board’s senior leadership team are working diligently to communicate all the facts to the General Assembly as they prepare to consider the vetoes. We will keep you up to date as events warrant.
– Frank Fusco

Thanks to Bob Amundson for bringing that to my attention. There it was, big as life, already up on the Web — although not anyplace I would normally look. Saved me a phone call, which I appreciate…

6 thoughts on “Fusco says veto WOULD decimate programs

  1. Lynn

    I really appreciate your coverage of this important issue, at present very inadequately covered in the newspapers, print or on-line. I guess they’ll get around to it after the vote tomorrow, when they will tell their readers that the sky has indeed fallen while they weren’t looking. I understand the severe staffing constraints at The State and other papers, but perhaps pulling someone from USC athletics coverage for an hour or two would have been helpful?

  2. Doug Ross

    All the money needed to provide the services people want is available in the current revenue stream. The people who want to override the Sanford vetoes should be asking legislators to do something about all the waste in government… start with consolidating all the school districts. You’d have all the money you’d need to fund the arts and museums. Get rid of all the various boards, commissions, task forces, etc.

    Don’t blame Sanford. His vetoes represent a small fraction of the budget. These exercises should force the legislature to look at the 98% of the budget that is chock full of waste in order to fund what people actually want.

  3. martin

    Is Sanford lying intentionally? Is he playing his usual numbers game/scam?

    Did he not think Mr. Fusco or someone else would refute him or is he just so ignorant of how state government works that he did not think he was wrong?

    Either way, it demontrates we have a governor who should never have held any kind of public office.

    Doug, I agree lots of things could be cut. I really wish that the legislature would have taken this economic opportunity to consolidate school districts in every county of the state, too.

    But, Sanford just seems to want to do as much harm as he can. I think he has been in heaven, he and Davis and Ryberg and Haley, thinking they had the legislature over a barrel.

    His humility walk was very short, real insincere, and not real sweet.

  4. Tracie

    I’ll say it again: Thank you, Brad Warthen, for covering these things when it would appear that no one else is doing so.

  5. Kimberly Hazel

    Thank you for covering this topic…but I have one question…as I sit hear and reflect on a telephone conversation I had with another state employee today…if these potential cuts are going to cause such a hardship on the Office of Research and Statistics, then I need to ask this question…why on earth did that same office just go through a level of renovation to their department on the 4th floor at the Dennis Building at the Captiol Complex (ADMINISTRATION/ BOBBY BOWER’S OFFICE) (ie. painting walls, cutting holes in walls to put in windows for a reception area etc.) Who is actually footing the bill for all of these expenditures? More than likely…WE ARE…the TAXPAYERS of SC….High salaries in the administrative level of this department, wasteful spending in hard economic times, poor accountability and they want to cry “foul” on the Governor’s vetoes??? I say, “MORE POWER TO THE GOVERNOR”!!!!!!!!!

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