South Carolina Legislature Overrides Governors Veto, Keeps Arts Funding

by Jacob Coakley
The South Carolina Arts Commission
The South Carolina Arts Commission's funding was restored by the votes in the S.C. legislature.

Shortly after 6 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, the South Carolina Senate voted to overturn Governor Nikki Haley's Veto #15, which would have eliminated funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission. This came after a vote in the House also approved overturning the veto 105-8. South Carolina Arts Commission will receive funds -- albeit at a 16% reduction in funding from last year.  A proviso in the budget states that 70% of the funds disbursed must go to grants, allaying concerns that the money was being spent to support bureaucracy, not artists.

UPDATED - 6/29/2011, 3:08 P.M. PDT -- Story updated to reflect the Senate vote of 32-6 to override the veto.

UPDATED - 6/29/2011, 12:52 P.M. PDT -- The S.C. House voted to overturn Veto #15, which would have eliminated funds for the South Carolina Arts Commission, 105-8. Correcting an earlier version that reported the legislature had already overturned the veto.

In response to the possible elimination of funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission, Robert L. Lynch, president and CEO of Americans for the Arts, issued a statement on the Americans for the Arts ArtsBlog that read, in part:

“In vetoing funding for the South Carolina Arts Commission (SCAC), Gov. Nikki Haley offers another unfortunate example of newly-elected gubernatorial leadership being out of touch with the wishes of voters for ideological reasons.

Hammering home the idea that the arts are not frivolous and provide excellent economic returns for minimal investment, the post reiterates the fiscal benefits arts provide: “South Carolina’s creative industries contribute more than $9.2 billion to the state’s economy annually … South Carolina’s arts sector supports more than 78,000 jobs.”

With budget crises happening all over thanks to the recession, fights like this will become more commonplace. Arts supporters won this round. They didn’t in Kansas, though, and there there will be more.

For more info about the South Carolina Arts Commission, please visit:

For more info about Americans for the Arts, please visit: