Lawmakers fight back after McMaster vetoes money for school buses

South Carolina Statehouse SC State house

South Carolina Statehouse SC State house

South Carolina School Boards Association Executive Director Scott Price called for "the immediate override of Gov. Henry McMaster's veto of funding for the crucial purchase of school buses".

"We rely heavily on the states provided bus and we've got almost 300 of them now, unfortunately, a significant number are well over age, Borowy said".

"The budget is a year-long process", one legislative leader told us by way of justifying lawmakers' lack of action on the gubernatorial vetoes.

McMaster served on commission from 1991 to 1994, and more recently made $492,000 helping to raise money for the recently-completed $80 million law school at the University of SC. This one-time lottery funding availability would help replace over 400 buses statewide that are more than 20-years old.

The governor's staff says if state lawmakers wanted to provide buses they should have used budget money that's definitely there.

State Superintendent Molly Spearman criticized that decision for "putting the safety of our students at risk".

The Senate and House could return and override the vetoes, but the date on when they will come back and work through them has not been set yet. "Those that have caught fire, and you have an older bus fleet", Simrill said. The current law authorizes the bank continues until July 2018.

McMaster vetoed a plan to strip power from the Commission of Higher Education and also restored almost $17 million for the state Conservation Bank.

The governor also struck almost $25 million out of the budget that he said went to "unidentifiable pork" programs. "We are discouraged by Governor McMaster's veto regarding funding for new school buses".

McMaster wrote in his veto message that spending money before it is available "is not a responsible budgeting practice". Lawmakers approved the money so dependents would be treated like employees and spouses and get contraceptives without any additional cost after visiting a doctor.

McMaster vetoed a provision he said would allow a single go-kart track in SC to use a go-kart that does not meet standards.

The Department of Health and Environmental Services was given money to hire three new "public information consultants", McMaster said.

Much of that spending - roughly $20.5 million - would have went to replacing aging school buses in SC.

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