Republican Gov. Nikki Haley will unveil her 2014-15 budget proposal today -- and we already know a lot of what's in it.
The first-term Republican governor will have about $400 million in new money to spend -- a mix of recurring and one-time dollars -- and last week she proposed spending $130 million of it on K-12 education (with another $29 million coming from the Capital Reserve Fund.)
And Sunday, the Post and Courier's Lauren Sausser reported Haley plans to propose $44.7 million to "move more than 1,000 South Carolinians with intellectual disabilities and special needs off waiting lists and into programs that can meet their costly health care needs."
We also know what won't be in Haley's budget: $1.8 million to restore funding to DHEC's Certificate of Need program (you can read more about that here.)
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This will be Haley's third budget and, most likely, her most scrutinized. The Lexington Republican is locked in a fierce reelection battle with state Sen. Vincent Sheheen, the Camden Democrat whose campaign will be parsing Haley's every move to find an advantage.
While former Gov. Mark Sanford treated his executive budgets as fiscal laboratories, Haley has taken a more pragmatic approach, with mixed results. She has proposed money for more police officers and judges along with spending increases for mental health and prisons -- all things lawmakers approved.
But some of her other ideas -- including eliminating the corporate income tax, cutting individual income taxes and a program to pay local governments to take over maintenance of state-owned roads -- have not made it to her desk.
And if history holds, Haley's opponents will find more ammunition in her budget vetoes than her budget policies. Whether it is eliminating money for teacher pay raises, criminal domestic violence shelters or a hospital regulation program -- Haley has never been afraid to use her veto pen to make a statement.
Vincent Sheheen speaking to high-school students
While Gov. Nikki Haley is preparing to unveil her executive budget, her likely Democratic challenger will be speaking at the high school where Haley's daughter attends.
Sheheen is the scheduled speaker at River Bluff High School this morning, part of the school's Politics in the Palmetto State Speakers Series.
Haley spoke at the school last month.
Alan Wilson urges federal action on patent trolls
The FTC has said it wants to launch a study into businesses that regularly file lawsuits over patents after receiving a growing number of complaints about the issue. The attorneys general said in a letter they support the fact-finding study, saying regulators need more information to enforce consumer protection laws.
Complaints over patent lawsuits have been growing. The controversy surrounds companies that buy patents and then file lawsuits against companies they believe are violating the patent. Critics say the companies do not produce or create goods but only exist to make money through lawsuits.
“They patent this thing that is a concept and then extort small businesses who don’t have the finances to litigate it,” Wilson said.
As McConnell exits, race for lieutenant governor takes shape
The race is also a curio for voters.
This November will be the last time a lieutenant governor will run alone in the state. Starting in 2018, candidates for governor will choose their lieutenant governor-runner mates, and voters will cast ballots on a combined governor-lieutenant governor ticket, just as they do now with president and vice president.
“There’s not a lot of love for the lieutenant governor,” Buchanan said.
However, (Pat) McKinney and (Bakari) Sellers want to change that.
Can Kahn hold on?
A good read from Sunday in case you missed it: Roddie Burriss delves into the financial struggles of Alan Kahn, the prominent economic developer:
A pocket-gouging 1973 crude oil embargo and energy crisis the decade after young Alan Bruce Kahn finished business school barely fazed the Columbia upstart’s new real estate development company.
That wasn’t the case for his family’s established business, though. M.B. Kahn Construction Company almost went under because of the crisis, but Kahn and his father took out a personal loan to pay off the creditors, enabling the business to continue.
Forty years later, Kahn, who will turn 74 this year, is locked in the crisis of his life: How to satisfy what now has ballooned into more than $100 million of publicly declared debt in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, while hanging on to whatever vestiges he can of the once-wealthy empire he built up.
Study up on some of the legislature's key issues as lawmaker return to Columbia on Tuesday, including growing concern about digital privacy:
House members – including House Speaker Bobby Harrell, R-Charleston, and leaders of the Republican and Democratic caucuses – say they plan to pass a digital privacy law this year that would ensure your cellphone is treated as if it were as private as your house. That means police could not search it unless they have a search warrant signed by a judge.
“(Your phone) is more important than (your) house right now,” said House Minority Leader Todd Rutherford, D-Richland. “A fire breaks out in your house, the first thing you are going to grab is your cellphone.”
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