Haley to lawmakers: Pass a budget now

ashain@thestate.comJune 26, 2012 

Gov. Nikki Haley demanded Tuesday that lawmakers pass a budget with five days left before the end of the fiscal year and not put her in a position to rush her review for vetoes.

Haley has five days to examine the budget after it lands on her desk. Some lawmakers have suggested she could review the budget faster, but Haley said the General Assembly needs to do its job and approve a spending plan.

“If the tables were turned, they would be screaming,” she said a news conference outside her office. "No governor should have to shorten times on decisions this big because the legislature can't get their act together after six months.

Haley did not say what she would do if a continuing budget resolution comes to her office. The resolution would allow government to keep operating after midnight Saturday using the past year’s budget while negotiations continue.

A resolution is looking more necessary to give the governor time to review the budget after its approved. A five-day review would last into the new fiscal year.

"I'm not going to make any decisions now because you all (reporters) are asking," she said.

The House has approved the resolution. The Senate is one vote away.

Haley said she would not veto the entire budget.

Budget conferees are deadlocked over a tax reduction for sole proprietorships that includes small businesses as well as and law and medical practices.

House conferees want $60 million in cuts from 5 percent to 3 percent, while their Senate counterparts suggest $37.5 million in reductions by cutting the the first $16,200 earned to 3 percent and anything over that at 4 percent.

Haley accused Senate Finance Chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence, of acting like a Democrat and of holding up the tax cuts. She expressed dismay that Leatherman and Sen. John Land, D-Clarendon, would not spend $60 million from a $1.3 billion gain in revenues to help small businesses.

Leatherman said Monday that his plan would give more of the cuts to less wealthy small business owners.

The governor said all the talk over who would benefit most a smoke screen and called for Leatherman, a State House veteran, to stop fighting with first-session House Ways and Means Chairman Brian White, R-Anderson.

"I am tired of the egos in this place," Haley said.

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