West River legislators react to Daugaard's state of state message

2013-01-09T05:00:00Z 2013-01-09T09:08:04Z West River legislators react to Daugaard's state of state messageKevin Woster Journal staff Rapid City Journal
January 09, 2013 5:00 am  • 

Rep. Kevin Killer liked what he heard Tuesday from Gov. Dennis Daugaard on finding alternatives to prison time for non-violent offenders in South Dakota.

But Killer, a Democrat from Pine Ridge, was disappointed that the governor didn't use his State of the State message to offer any special initiatives to reach out to Native American tribes.

"I would like to hear something about building partnerships," Killer said. "It would be nice to see ideas about how the state can reach out to the tribes."

Killer also was disappointed that Daugaard didn't have any ideas for restoring at least some of what was cut two years ago in state aid to local schools. That concern was shared by Sen. Stan Adelstein, R-Rapid City, who said he didn't think the state had much to celebrate in balancing its budget two years ago on the backs of schools and other priorities. 

"I didn't necessarily agree that we did a good job of making the cuts," said Adelstein, referring to Daugaard's comments about the value of the budget cuts. "And I want some of that money back."

Adelstein means he wants some of the cuts made to education funding and Medicaid providers restored. He also wants Daugaard to reconsider his opposition to expanding Medicaid coverage to tens of thousands of uncovered South Dakotans through the federal Affordable Care Act. 

"I'm really mad that so many of the working poor are going to be cut out of that coverage," Adelstein said.  

Other legislators were more complimentary of the governor's message to the state Legislature, praising his call for continued fiscal responsibility two years after lawmakers made difficult cuts to fix a $127 million budget shortfall.

Rep. David Lust, R-Rapid City, the House Republican leader, said Daugaard's list of states with serious fiscal problems shows how well South Dakota has done in comparison. 

"It's comforting to know how well positioned we are compared to other states," Lust said. "The public at large should really feel good about the way we have done things."

Lust said it was heartening to hear the governor support making an existing half-penny state sales tax for tourism promotion permanent. The governor also is right that South Dakota should respond to the oil and gas boom in North Dakota by developing a system that provides goods and services to the oil fields, Lust said.

"It's not so much the state stepping in as staying out of the way and helping private enterprise respond," Lust said.

Daugaard said that while South Dakota geology doesn't offer the oil and gas possibilities enjoyed in North Dakota, the state can nonetheless benefit.

"If we can't pull oil out of the ground, let's help North Dakota do so by providing goods and services," he said. 

Sen. Ryan Maher, R-Isabel, served on a summer committee studying the oil and gas issue. During a trip to North Dakota, many members heard from North Dakota officials about the importance of South Dakota responding to the needs of the oil boom.

"They said we might not have the oil and gas, but we can really provide the spin-off businesses to feed off what goes on in North Dakota," Maher said. 

Maher said the establishment in Belle Fourche of a pipe-fitting business serving the oil fields and employing 40 people is just one example of the larger scale of possibilities.

"We really need to pick up the ball and do some recruiting of those businesses," he said.

Maher also liked Daugaard's plan to make it easier for the spouses of military personnel to get professional licenses and accreditation, which he believes would benefit Ellsworth Air Force Base personnel and all of South Dakota. 

Daugaard said about 35 percent of military spouses in the workforce need professional licenses or certification. He wants to streamline that process.

Rep. Stace Nelson, R-Fulton, said that could benefit military families across the state. It could also make families at Ellsworth more likely to settle in and stay in South Dakota, he said. 

"Those folks at Ellsworth have earned their bones to be South Dakotans," Nelson said. "They are good people. The more of them who stay in South Dakota, the better."

Copyright 2015 Rapid City Journal. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

(7) Comments

  1. Deklan
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    Deklan - January 09, 2013 10:11 pm
    A government entity cannot survive without private sector taxes. Therefore, monetary costs can be compared between government entities such as school districts and cities.

    We shall see if the state will pay less with the enacting of SB 49.

    This year, there is another Senate Bill, #28, which will raise property taxes again in 2014, taxes to be applied to the general fund of a school district.

  2. Buldog
    Report Abuse
    Buldog - January 09, 2013 7:24 pm
    What Conservatives don't like is our schools are raising kids who question things and check things out on their own - exactly what Conservatives don't want. Fortunately, Education is yet another area where Conservatives are losing big in the culture wars.
  3. Myname
    Report Abuse
    Myname - January 09, 2013 6:45 pm
    One needs to be careful comparing different government entities bugets. Where I live, the school budget is more than the city....but a substantially greater share of my general property tax goes to the city.

    In SD the per pupil payment includes the general fund property taxes. The state computes the total dollars in general state aid that you should receive, also computes what your district can raise for property tax in the general fund and then subtracts that part of your property tax from the total state aid. The state pays the difference. Your general property tax is not on top of the state aid. So.....if the legislature raises the property tax rate....the state will just pay less.
  4. purchased
    Report Abuse
    purchased - January 09, 2013 4:47 pm
    I guess we should make them all lawyers or doctors and they still would move away,because you can't make enough money here. What a stupid idea.
  5. Deklan
    Report Abuse
    Deklan - January 09, 2013 4:46 pm
    The reality of the economy has forced many states across the nation to cut education funding.

    The taxpayers haven’t been immune to the economic reality of the nation - many taxpayers have been forced to make cuts in their budgets. The school

    Last year, the Legislature passed SB 49 which will increase property taxes this year. The funds are to be applied to the general funds of the local school districts.

    Last year, the RCSD budget was more than the city’s budget…

    North Dakota has growing oil revenues which are going to the state treasury. It was released yesterday that the Fargo and West Fargo districts want per-pupil funding to increase from the current $3,980.

    My understanding is South Dakota paid $4,390 per student for the 2011-2012 school year and $4,491 per student for the current school year, which if true, is more than what ND is paying per student.
  6. Myname
    Report Abuse
    Myname - January 09, 2013 3:45 pm
    The schools are not immune to financial reality....they are already there.... and have been there for a while. Reality is cutting staff, cutting programs, freezing salaries etc--etc. Many schools have done some of this already. If we want SD to be able to recruit businesses, we need good schools. One of the first things a business checks is the school, the main street, the churches. If you were looking to come to SD with a business - what would you think if the schools were cutting budgets, freezing salaries, cutting programs - and across the state line in ND they are not. Where would you go????
  7. Jim Stewart
    Report Abuse
    Jim Stewart - January 09, 2013 5:16 am
    Adelstein said he didn't think the state had much to celebrate in balancing its budget two years ago on the backs of schools and other priorities.

    I see. So whose back should does Stan want it balanced on? Are schools immune to financial reality?
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