Final deals agreed to Thursday on a $6 billion spending plan will give businesses a break on millions of dollars in unemployment tax collections and put millions more into public schools.
The budget conference committee also agreed not to put cash into South Carolina’s first-in-the-South Republican primary early next year and have left it unclear whether the state GOP will run the event with paper ballots.
The agreement means the House and Senate could accept the final plan on Wednesday and send it to Gov. Nikki Haley, who can veto what she doesn’t like. And she’s set the stage already by threatening to veto extra spending on schools or any taxpayer cash used for South Carolina Education Television or the state Arts Commission.
… The presidential primary election funding had been a question for months and will remain so with no additional state funding and no clear language putting the state Election Commission in charge of running the primary.
“There’s no money in the budget for presidential primaries,” said Senate Finance Committee Chairman Hugh Leatherman, R-Florence.
House members didn’t want the state to pay for the primary as it had in 2008, Cooper said. “I don’t want to fund the presidential preference primary with state dollars,” he said.
Election Commission Director Marc Andino said the state has up to $680,000 in leftover cash that could be used for the primary. “It’s not enough,” Andino said. The tab for the primary will be at least $1.5 million.
And, Andino noted, a 2007 law only allowed the commission to conduct the 2008 presidential primaries, not the 2012 contest. That means the state Republican Party could end up conducting the primary on its own, as it did before 2008.
“In the past they’ve had problems recruiting enough volunteers. They will be conducting them without voting machines if they conduct them, so that is a change for our voters that causes confusion,” Andino said. The party’s volunteers would count paper ballots, she said.
Budget writers noted the spending plan says leftover Election Commission cash can be used for a presidential primary and that should give the commission to run the primary. Andino said she would have to verify that with commission members.
Full Article: Compromise reached on $6B SC spending plan – Westport News.