Voters disappointed with status quo
So, the mayor is disappointed with the result of Tuesday’s special election. It seems to me that there are many more disappointed with the status quo. The City Council keeps voting for more taxes and fees to be imposed. Whenever we have a say, the general population votes against those increases. Yet, we still have terrible roads and endless complaints by officials that there are not enough funds for needed basics. In the meantime, property tax has had a large increase and sales tax is rising.
I love that the U.S. population in general and certainly many local residents specifically are getting some cuts in federal income tax and some increases in wages and spendable income. However, there is also a segment who is struggling to stay in their homes because they are on fixed incomes, most of which do not receive any federal tax relief. Homes go without needed repairs and tough choices are having to be made concerning quality of life expenditures while available funds stay level.
I submit that we need to define what the basics are and assume a zero-based budget to the end that we do more with available funds.
State needs focus on childhood education
Another South Dakota achievement: “one of a few states” without a group of experts who evaluate the state of early childhood education. Availability of child care is one of the top considerations for working families and companies looking to relocate a business or industry. When it comes to workers with the kinds of skills that South Dakota’s politicians want to attract (In his State of the State address, Gov. Daugaard identified the shortage of skilled workers as our biggest problem), the lack of quality child-care options can be a deal-breaker.
The Legislature, which wants a raise and spends more than $100,000 annually for out-of-state junkets, called a one-time expenditure of $25,000 to convene an expert council to evaluate and report promptly on the state’s programs too costly. Child-care workers in South Dakota yearly earn only about $8,000 more than a legislator gets for the 40-day session. No wonder no one wants a review. Expert assessment might conclude that primary care givers for young children ought to be paid more.
But no worries. Our next-governor wannabe claims if you can ride a horse and shoot a gun, “what else do you need in South Dakota?” What else, indeed.