Republican lawmakers preserve most funding for SCETV

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South Carolina ETV avoided steep funding cuts last month as the state’s Republican-controlled legislature thwarted Gov. Nikki Haley’s attempt to eliminate two-thirds of state support for the pubcasting network.

Haley had proposed cutting about $5.9 million of the $9 million that the state provides for SCETV, which makes up about half of the network’s budget. But lawmakers in both the House and Senate overrode Haley’s request in nearly unanimous votes June 29.

In the end, only about 6 percent of the network’s budget was cut, according to SCETV spokesperson Rob Schaller.

House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham angrily criticized Haley in a speech on the floor. Bingham said the governor’s office had previously told legislators to restructure funding for SCETV by routing funds through state agencies that would pay the network for services.

“The governor’s office had asked us to do this very thing that they now turn around and veto,” he said. Bingham also criticized Haley’s office for not notifying him in advance that the governor would veto ETV funding.

“No good deed goes unpunished,” said Republican Sen. Wes Hayes in The State newspaper. “We were trying to protect ETV and were misled.”