For the second time in a month, a Republican governor has issued a line-item veto for the entire budget of a state arts agency. This time it is Nikki Haley of South Carolina doing the honors. Haley, like Governor Sam Brownback of Kansas, has made no secret of her desire to eliminate the Arts Commission, having proposed it in her State of the State address in January.
Unlike in the case of Kansas, however, the story is not (quite) over. The legislature will have the opportunity to override the veto, and in fact it has happened before. Jonathan Katz, CEO of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, writes:
Overrides are never easy to accomplish, but the South Carolina legislature did overrule 56 of former Governor Mark Sanford’s budget vetoes last year. Included among those was an attempt to zero out a significant portion of SCAC’s FY2011 funding, an action that triggered loud public protest and was overturned by both houses of the legislature by overwhelming margins. Arts advocates in South Carolina have been mobilizing once again to urge lawmakers to override this most recent veto of state funding for SCAC. Legislative action on Governor Haley’s FY2012 budget vetoes, 35 in all, is anticipated tomorrow.
As the statement on the SCAC’s website points out, however, legislators need a two-thirds supermajority in both the House and Senate to override a veto. Yes, legislators overrode Sanford’s veto last year, but at that point Sanford was a scandal-ridden political carcass, whereas Haley still has net positive approval ratings. Will South Carolina lawmakers risk political capital over the Arts Commission? I guess we’ll find out.
If you know people who know people in South Carolina, now would be a good time to make sure they are aware of this.