COLUMBIA - Gov. Mark Sanford vetoed the entire state budget Tuesday night, his spokesman Joel Sawyer said.
House Ways and Means Chairman Dan Cooper said he had never seen a governor veto an entire budget.
In South Carolina, governors are allowed to veto individual spending items in the budget, but instead, Mr. Sanford chose to veto the whole $6.6 billion spending plan for the fiscal year that begins July 1.
Mr. Sanford said part of the reason he did not go line by line was because he has no power as governor to reallocate the money he cuts from the budget.
"It was impossible for me to responsibly implement via line-item vetoes the $400 million in spending reductions that would be necessary to bring state government spending to a sustainable level," Mr. Sanford said in his veto message to the General Assembly.
Mr. Cooper said he thinks the governor's choice of vetoing the entire budget was a political one.
"It's political season and he's worried about November," said Mr. Cooper, R-Piedmont. "He didn't want to be tied to vetoing any one expenditure.
"People get angry when you veto their alma mater's projects," Mr. Cooper said.
Mr. Cooper says the House will take up the budget veto when it returns today, along with several others vetoes the governor made in a capital reserve spending bill before the midnight Tuesday deadline.