Instead, Mr. Harrell said, Mr. Sanford aimed high - $167 million in budgetary vetoes - and got little, the $1.8 million lawmakers actually cut.
"I told him repeatedly that if he vetoed a large number of items like he did, he'd create alliances all across the floor," with lawmakers pledging to override vetoes on each other's favorite projects, Mr. Harrell said.
Senate President Pro Tem Glenn McConnell agreed. "There were too many (vetoes), and they were too indiscriminate, and as a result, it watered down the impact of them."
The General Assembly concluded two days of legislative debate Friday with only 15 of Mr. Sanford's 243 vetoes sustained.
Lawmakers finished the 2007 legislative session with a $7.4 billion annual budget that provides $220 million in tax relief, including the elimination of the 3-cent sales tax on groceries.
The budget also funds a $22 million expansion of the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIPs, for impoverished families, and provides more funding for scholarships and hydrogen-infrastructure research and development.
Last year, Mr. Sanford vetoed the entire budget.
Sanford spokesman Joel Sawyer said lawmakers complaining about the number of vetoes are just passing the buck.
"We tried targeting our vetoes more in the past," and the Legislature still hasn't sustained many, Mr. Sawyer said.
"I think we spent way too much money," said Rep. Jim Stewart, R-Aiken, who frequently voted to sustain the vetoes.
Mr. Stewart said he is proud of the Legislature's work this year, notably reform of the state Department of Transportation and of the workers' compensation system.
But, he said, "I thought that for all the talk about earmarks and 'pork,' things would go a bit different than they did."
Reach Kirsten Singleton at (803) 414-6611 or email@example.com.
Among vetoes that lawmakers overrode:
- The Children's Health Insurance Program expansion
- State funding for defense of indigents charged with driving under the influence and criminal domestic violence offenses, $2.3 million
- Competitive grants program used by lawmakers to help fund local projects
- A $500,000 study of the development needs for the Interstate 95 corridor
- A program to encourage lawyers to become prosecutors and public defenders
- Morris News Service