Haley vetoes: From First Steps to legislator pay

When I saw that the governor had vetoed First Steps (much beloved of Democrats since it was started by Jim Hodges), my first thought was, Huh. Maybe she DID mean we would “no longer educate children,” The younger ones, anyway.

Democrats are certainly hoping voters will see it that way. They are howling blue murder. Even the normally calm Rep. James Smith — the original sponsor of First Steps — got a bit shrill:

“Governor Haley has once again used her veto pen to stick it to education in South Carolina. First she vetoes $110 million in education funding, then she vetoes funding to keep teachers in the classroom, and now she wants to eliminate the First Steps early childhood education initiative. This governor has never truly supported education in this state and no election year gimmick can change that reality. Today’s veto is just another example of Governor Haley saying one thing and doing another. We look forward to overriding her veto next week and denying her the ability to once again play politics with our children’s future.”

But when I read The State‘s story, I had to admit that I don’t know, personally, how effective First Steps, which supports programs in private preschools, has been. So the governor’s wish to see it studied further before authorizing it for more than a year at a time doesn’t sound so bad. Maybe there’s something I’m missing.

I do find it ironic that she is vetoing something that sends public money to private educators.

Then there’s the matter of the governor’s veto of the pay raise lawmakers voted themselves. She says she isn’t arguing with the pay raise itself; she objects to the way they did it. That’s where I have to disagree with her. She thinks such a thing should be decided by referendum. Well, you know what I think of government by plebiscite. Lawmakers have to face the voters after voting themselves something like this. That’s enough of a check on their fiscal self-interest.

On the whole, the governor is ending the session the way she began it — as a kinder, gentler wielder of the veto pen. For instance, no veto of the Arts Commission. And as The State said, the total “amount cut with this year’s proposed vetoes is by far the smallest since Haley took office in 2011.”

Maybe she really has changed. What do y’all think?

12 thoughts on “Haley vetoes: From First Steps to legislator pay

  1. Doug Ross

    Here is Vincent Sheheen’s opportunity to act like a Governor and tell us what HE would veto. Perfect way to show the people how he would govern.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    Brad, why not check in with Rick Noble about First Steps?

    They have to fund private preschools because there aren’t any public ones. It sure seems like the best way to at least partially redress the deficiencies of poorly educated parents passing that on to their kids!

    1. Doug Ross

      A good idea poorly implemented according to the audit that was done on First Steps. If they aren’t going to be good stewards, find a different program that will.

  3. Doug Ross

    “the total “amount cut with this year’s proposed vetoes is by far the smallest since Haley took office in 2011.”

    Aren’t the states coffers fuller now than any time during her tenure?

    Here vetoes seem pretty tame. Why SHOULD the state pay for parks and pools in certain towns? Let the towns or counties pay for them. Pure pork for some legislator to go back home and claim he’s “working for the people of East Jesus, SC”.

  4. Burl Burlingame

    Preschool and early education are fairly critical in prepping kids for the transition from the home environment to a schooling environment. Kids who attend preschool do far better in regular school. Apparently that’s not important in certain states.

    Also, “further study” is code for “I want to kill this but I don’t want to appear to be doing so.”

    1. Bryan Caskey

      Also, “further study” is code for “I want to kill this but I don’t want to appear to be doing so.”


      (See also: XL Pipeline, Keystone)
      (See also: Simpson-Bowles Commission)

  5. scout

    The State won’t let me read it’s story. I guess I’ve read too many this month or whatever. So I don’t know her justification.

    But I think the Read To Succeed Act that just passed includes money for full day 4k for public and private providers, as well.

    So **maybe** she thought it was redundant?

    Of course that is just 4k. I think First Steps funded preschool for younger kids as well.

    I think preschool is rather important. sigh.

    What about the fact that First Steps is in charge of implementing Babynet in SC? It used to be DHEC that implemented Babynet, but that got changed a few years back. Babynet is the part of the Federal Special Education Law (IDEA) that covers kids birth to three. At age three, school districts take over.

    So we just get to be out of compliance with IDEA now? Great.

      1. scout

        Hey Thanks! I actually don’t use Chrome. But I investigated your suggestion and found out Firefox has a similar option. It worked 🙂

    1. scout

      Ok, now that I’ve read the article, I agree getting good data is not a bad idea. This article makes it sound like First Steps is also in charge of implementing the new full day 4k program so the veto is not redundant like I speculated – but rather affects the new program as well, but not until a year out. I didn’t realize First Steps is not vetoed outright, just only approved for a year at a time instead of multiple years.

      The article said though that the bill she vetoed would have implemented some of the changes and improvements that she is criticizing the program for not having.

      Makes me think she is doing this more for political effect rather than because she really cares about the efficacy of the program. But it’s hard to know without knowing the details.

      I would still like to know how Babynet is affected by this veto, if at all.


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