House overrides Haley veto of fire equipment
COLUMBIA, S.C. (WACH, AP) -- Gov. Nikki Haley has vetoed a bill providing new, safer equipment to fight wildfires for South Carolina's forestry agency through insurance premium taxes.
But the House voted 108-2 Tuesday to override her veto.
The bill provides an estimated $15 million over four years by designating about 2 percent of insurance premium taxes to the Forestry Commission for equipment.
Forestry officials showed off the state's first closed-cab bulldozers at the Statehouse two weeks ago. Haley touted the bulldozers then as an example of how government should spend money.
In her veto message, Gov. Haley said, "I will continue to fight for our firefighters to have the equipment and resources that they need, but I believe that we should take a fresh look at how we prioritize and fund our essential services each year. I have vetoed this bill because those decisions should not be on autopilot."
The agency bought 10 units with $3 million in the current budget. The new budget provides an additional $3.5 million. Haley opposes what she called an additional earmark.
Rep. Gary Simrill says the agency's equipment is so old, the planned funding isn't enough.
(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)