|The House in action, Courtesy SCETV|
Low Profile, Major Significance
The media has so far overlooked the House vote on Veto 14 and instead has focused on the higher profile overrides that allowed funding for DHEC, technical colleges, the State Museum and others. But all of us who worked very hard to save the SBDC budget need to understand the importance of that vote because it was the first veto override the House permanently agreed to.
I was not optimistic.
With the House clearly in the mood to sustain Sanford’s vetoes (see The State newspaper’s blog updates from Tuesday), Representative B.R. Skelton (R-Pickens) took the podium just before Veto 11 and urged his fellow members to consider the consequences of their votes. He cautioned the body that the next several votes involved critical elements of economic development for the state.
Following Mr. Skelton to the podium was Representative James Smith (D-Richland) who chastised the House for sustaining vetoes dealing with education, healthcare and clean rivers funding yet overriding a veto for money going to consultants (the House immediately reconsidered that vote and the board quickly switched to red). Mr. Smith joined Mr. Skelton in calling for more thoughtful voting.
Loftis Goes for the Green
Representative Dwight Loftis (R-Greenville) took to the podium. Mr. Loftis has been a supporter of small business, and earlier I had asked if he would have my letter arguing for keeping the funds for the SBDC placed on each member’s desk.
He not only agreed to do that but also said that he would speak in favor of an override vote. And that he did, eloquently stating the case for maintaining the budget for the only state agency providing direct and tangible services to our small businesses and entrepreneurs.
Gunning for the Override
Following Mr. Loftis to the podium was an old friend and advocate for small business, Representative Anton Gunn (D-Richland). He too cited the benefits of the SBDC telling of his own family’s use of their services.
A Shift in Momentum
Sure, the House sustained many more vetoes (see FitsNews) after that crucial vote. But the momentum had been altered. It was OK to push green when merited. Lighting did not strike. No electric shock came with pressing the button. Even GOP Gubernatorial candidate Nikki Haley voted green with us.
It was clear that not every Sanford veto was justified. The Governor had made errors in judgment and the House not only had the power, it had the responsibility for the good of the State to say so. And it did.