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 ProgramsThis 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 MuseumIn 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…