Nikki Haley on Budget & Economy



Trained as bookkeeper for family business at age 12

My mom opened a gift shop of treasures imported from all over the world that took off. One day my mother's bookkeeper, Miss Joyce McMillian, announced that she had taken another job. My mom grabbed my arm. She stood me in front of the bookkeeper and said, "I want you to train her."

Miss Joyce laughed. "Her? Raj, you can't be serious. She's 12!"

"If you teach her, she can do it," my mom replied.

So Miss Joyce trained me. Mom would do the bankbooks, and I did the taxes and everything else. Mom paid me, of course, but she kept every other paycheck because I was earning my "keep". I was writing checks for the business and keeping the general ledger when I was 13 years old. I told my friends I worked in the store after school, but we never discussed exactly what I did. It wasn't until I went to Clemson and studied accounting that I realized that all 12 & 13 year olds aren't versed in the business tax code.

Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p. 22-23 , Apr 3, 2012

2009: Reject stimulus funds because it creates new costs

I fought against President Obama's stimulus bill, Washington's desperate attempt to boost the stagnant economy. The money promised to the states in the bill came with strings attached--long, strong strings. In the area of unemployment insurance, for example, the stimulus mandated that states change their programs to broaden eligibility--and create new costs--as a condition of receiving the money. But what would happen when the money ran out? I supported Governor Sanford in his fight for South Carolina to reject the stimulus funds because I believed the bill took our state--and our country--in exactly the wrong direction. It mandated more spending instead of less and encouraged us to avoid the difficult but necessary tasks of prioritizing the way we used tax-payers' money and reigning in government. I supported Governor Sanford in his fight for South Carolina to reject the stimulus funds because I believed the bill took our state--and our country--in exactly the wrong direction.
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p. 72-73 , Apr 3, 2012

S.C. budget was perfect example of unaccountable government

I'm an accountant. Numbers tell me stories. So I would reel off what the history of the numbers in the South Carolina budget told me. It was the perfect example of unaccountable government. In 2005, the S.C. budget was $4 billion. The next year it was $5 billion. By 2007, it was $6 billion. We had grown government by a billion dollars a year, but no one could really say where it had gone. The people couldn't feel it, and because votes weren't on the record, no one knew who was responsible. And these were our fellow Republicans running up this spending! The reason, I told everyone who would listen, was simple but fundamental: Our politicians had lost sight of what the role of government should be. Government was intended to secure the rights and freedoms of the people--period. It was never intended to be all things to all people. If the people whose money is being spent--the taxpayers--controlled government rather that the other way around, government would live within its means.
Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.111 , Apr 3, 2012

Stimulus funds come with too many strings attached

In the debate, I came back to the theme that Washington DC wasn't the answer to South Carolina's problems.

Everyone on stage claimed to be against the stimulus, but they had all agreed that, once it passed, South Carolina should go ahead and take the money. I was the only one who had argued, along with Governor Sanford, that we shouldn't accept it. There were too many strings attached, I had said. South Carolina needed a different approach from bailouts that were hurting private-sector job growth, weakening the dollar, and increasing the debt for our children.

I knew that the politically correct answer was to take the money and run. one politician's pork is another politician's desperately needed "investment," right?

Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.124-125 , Apr 3, 2012

It's the people's money; government has no prior claim

In my inaugural address I quoted former British prime minister Margaret Thatcher: "Once we concede that public spending and taxation are [more] than a necessary evil, we have lost sight of the core values of freedom."

It wasn't Mrs. Thatcher's most poetic quote, but I liked it because it expressed so well what I wanted for South Carolina. I wanted the people to be awakened to a new role for their government. I wanted them to understand that their money is theirs--government has no prior claim to it. I wanted them to understand that their freedom is theirs, that it's not the gift of their government but of their creator.

I spoke of vision for South Carolina that draws its energy and inspiration not from the statehouse that stood behind me but from the people who stood before me.

Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.201-202 , Apr 3, 2012

No debt-ceiling increase without spending cuts & caps

Holding government accountable and breaking the spend-and-borrow cycle is why I worked with Texas governor Rick Perry to recruit other governors to support the "cut, cap and balance" plan in the debt-ceiling negotiations last summer. Governor Perry and I wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post in which we opposed an increase in the debt ceiling unless 3 commonsense things happened: First, we needed to have substantial cuts in spending. Otherwise, what was the point? Second, we needed to have enforceable spending caps to prevent Congress from spending extra revenues instead of using them to pay down the debt or returning them to the taxpayers. And third, we wanted to see congressional passage of a balanced-budget amendment to the US Constitution. The federal government should be forced to do what most of the 50 states already have to do.

We didn't get "cut, cap and balance." So what DID we get? A whole lot of talk, some good intentions, but no resolution to our debt crisis.

Source: Can't Is Not an Option, by Gov. Nikki Haley, p.231 , Apr 3, 2012

It's time for truth in budgeting; & government spending cap

During the past several years, agencies have faced financial challenges and used fund balances and flexibility to shift money between accounts to cover expenses like rent and payroll. With revenues increasing, state government needs to stop these non-transparent accounting practices. It's time for truth in budgeting. In my Executive Budget, we have funded agency operations with recurring funds so that taxpayers can see how much and where money is spent. No more agency shell games. No more one-time money for multi-year expenses. Much of the so-called "growth" in this budget is not growth at all, but simply us being honest about how much it costs to operate state government.

To permanently control spending, our government can and must function within a spending cap. Any General Fund dollars above and beyond that cap must go towards tax relief, debt relief, or reserve funds. We cannot continue to spend every dollar we have. It has to end.

Source: 2012 S.C. State of the State Address , Jan 18, 2012

Supports the Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge.

Haley signed the Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge to limit government

[The Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge is sponsored by a coalition of several hundred Tea Party, limited-government, and conservative organizations].

Despite our nation's staggering $14.4 trillion debt, there are many Members of the U.S. House and Senate who want to raise our nation's debt limit without making permanent reforms in our fiscal policies. We believe that this is a fiscally irresponsible position that would place America on the Road to Ruin. At the same time, we believe that the current debate over raising the debt limit provides a historic opportunity to focus public attention, and then public policy, on a path to a balanced budget and paying down our debt.

We believe that the "Cut, Cap, Balance" plan for substantial spending cuts in FY 2012, a statutory spending cap, and Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution is the minimum necessary precondition to raising the debt limit. The ultimate goal is to get us back to a point where increases in the debt limit are no longer necessary. If you agree, take the Cut, Cap, Balance Pledge!

    I pledge to urge my Senators and Member of the House of Representatives to oppose any debt limit increase unless all three of the following conditions have been met:
  1. Cut: Substantial cuts in spending that will reduce the deficit next year and thereafter.
  2. Cap: Enforceable spending caps that will put federal spending on a path to a balanced budget.
  3. Balance: Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- but only if it includes both a spending limitation and a super-majority for raising taxes, in addition to balancing revenues and expenses.
Source: Cut-Cap-and-Balance Pledge 12-CCB on Jan 1, 2012

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