House overrides Haley veto of fire equipment

COLUMBIA, S.C. (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.

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.

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