Take A Look Again At Sonny’s Vetoes

I had to read this post by Senator Shafer more than once to understand exactly what he was saying.

If Sonny line item vetoes an appropriation because he does not like the language inserted by the legislature in the line item, the money returns to the general treasury. Sonny is taking the oh-so-bold leap to then say that, instead of vetoing the line item, he can ignore the instructional language of the legislature and spend it any way he wants, so long as it has a related purpose to what the legislature wanted.

If Sonny does not want to spend the way the legislators wanted him to, he can veto and the money is not spent that way. That is what the Constitution contemplates. But then to go the step further and say the Governor can then decide when and where to spend the money, so long as the purpose is related to the legislature’s purpose (the one he rejected and vetoed), seems to be an unconstitutional act of taking from the legislature the power of the purse.

In Sonny’s case, he’s trying to have it both ways — “veto” how the legislature allocated the money and then spend the money as he sees fit.

4 comments

  1. LiveFreeOrDie says:

    Speaking of vetoes – After Sonny vetoed two of her bills, I heard that Jill Chambers is going to run for State Senate.

  2. Bill Kecskes says:

    I posted this two nights ago. It’s worth repeating.

    I’m concerned about the following language used by the Governor to “veto” numerous specific projects, because while specific projects are vetoed; the money stays within the department or agency and is directed by the Governor for other purposes.

    I respectfully think the Governor is “over-stepping” his executive authority in using the following language in a veto:

    “”””“Certain language contained in this appropriation bill is included for informational purposes and thus does not constitute an appropriation. Because the language is not an appropriation, it is non-binding, and the Governor may authorize the agencies to utilize those funds in accordance with the overall purpose of the appropriation and within the general law authority of the agency. Passages of non-binding information language to disregard are included below.
    Non-Binding Information Language to Disregard:”””””””

    Two quick examples:

    $2,000,000 for a parking garage in Gainesville is vetoed but the money is redirected by the Governor to continue work on the Resaca Battlefield project.

    $721,000 for renovation of five specific DFACS offices is vetoed but the $721,000 is redirected for other purposes within the Department of Human Resources.

    There are many other examples of “re-directed” (by the Governor) appropriations.

    With all due respect, if the Governor (any Governor) can do this; then who needs a General Assembly and why waste time on an “appropriations bill?”

    Again, with all due respect to Governor Perdue; in six short weeks, he has created a new word and action with “un-veto” and now is redefining the word “veto” to mean: “kill the project but keep the money and use it elsewhere.” Websters says “veto” means “prohibit or forbid” and nowhere in the definition does it say redirect.

    I think a Supreme Court ruling delineating the fine line between the General Assembly’s “appropriation” authority and the Governor’s “Executive Authority” is desperately needed.

    Call me simple, but I always thought when a project was vetoed; the vetoed project’s appropriated money automatically reverted to a reserve account or an unappriated account.

    Before the General Assembly wastes any time in 2008 on a budget or appropriation, they need to legislatively clarify the budget process and the veto process.

    Absent that, somebody needs to file suit so the Georgia Supreme Court can hear it quickly.

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