Amendment W developed in SD
Amendment W is a solution written by conservatives, progressives and independents from across the state to address the real problem of government unaccountability in South Dakota. Some incorrectly state that Amendment W came from outsiders. Every piece of it was developed at forums with South Dakotans held across the state.
Some point to open.sd.gov as a transparency resource. While it does contain payroll and contracts data, we as voters have no way to find out specifics. Some also mention the Department of Legislative Audit. You can find some reports, but what’s missing is access to audits about our tax dollars after they’ve left Pierre.
Some suggest that the Government Accountability Board legislators created in 2017 after dismantling IM 22 as a positive development. However, they neglect to mention that legislators voted to exempt themselves from its oversight.
Some attempt to assure us by stating officials are required to disclose conflicts of interests. They fail to mention that there is not a single person who can audit those disclosure forms for accuracy. Amendment W addresses corruption head-on. Lawmakers’ unwillingness to do so is precisely why it is on the ballot and precisely why I will be voting in favor of it in November.
Noem correct on role of tax cuts
In your Oct. 21 gubernatorial endorsement, you state: "Noem denies that GOP tax cuts have raised the national debt."
She is correct. People with jobs and more money in their pocket pay more in taxes. More money is spent for goods and services. Businesses make higher profits and pay more taxes. Revenue increases.
The Journal said, "but $21 trillion in red ink speaks otherwise." The Journal is wrong. The laws of economics are sometimes counterintuitive. Individual and corporate tax cuts have put more money into circulation, which has increased government tax revenue. Also, tax cuts, eliminating many anti-business regulations and other Trump policies have allowed businesses to create more jobs and the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown to over 4 percent, which shows we have a higher standard of living.
Deficits or debt is caused when spending is more than income. Government has spent money on needed defense. Government has spent tons of money on immigration costs, paying for costly investigations, fighting drugs and crime, waste and fraud. Everybody — Democrats, Republicans and independents — wins when we have a good economy. Free-market capitalism is powerful. It is not fully appreciated, because it is not understood by many citizens.
Big tobacco opposing IM 25
I would like to clear the air regarding IM 25. This is all about big tobacco. With millions of dollars of out-of-state money, these notorious liars would have you believe that IM 25 is a tax that South Dakotans can’t afford. The reality is very different. What South Dakotans can’t afford is the extra $373 million in annual healthcare costs in South Dakota directly caused by smoking, the extra $756 per household in state and federal taxes from smoking-caused government expenditures, and the $282.5 million in smoking-caused productivity losses each year.
The truth is that IM 25 raises the price on each pack of cigarettes by $1. I strongly support this initiated measure as this price increase will decrease our youth smoking rate by over 10 percent and keep more than 3,200 kids from becoming adult smokers. In addition, it would reduce the number of adult smokers by 3,900, saving our state from more than $148 million in long-term healthcare costs.
The truth is that IM 25 is a price increase on tobacco products that saves lives, saves millions in taxpayer dollars and helps spur long-term economic development for our state. Don’t believe big tobacco’s lies. Vote yes on IM 25.
Dr. E. Paul Amundson
Support Haeder for state treasurer
Josh Haeder doesn’t just have my support because he will make a great state treasurer for South Dakota. He has my support because he has proven himself to be honest and have a public servant's heart.
Being the state's chief banking officer is a big job with important responsibilities. And while it is an honor to endorse Josh Haeder for state treasurer, I am equally excited to extend my encouragement because he is a Christian family man with integrity and character. He has demonstrated these attributes over the years as he's worked to make our state a better place to live.
As your former state treasurer, I hope you will join me in keeping South Dakota great in 2018 by supporting a first-class leader for state treasurer, my friend Josh Haeder.
Gary Drewes is a proven leader
I have known Gary Drewes for quite a while and was pleased to see him step forward and run for District 5 Pennington County Commissioner. His past leadership experience as a public servant and businessman makes him well-qualified for this position. He also understands that rural needs may differ from the needs of those who live in town, and he will make every effort to reach out to them. Please take the time to vote for Gary Drewes for Pennington County Commissioner.
District 1 commissioner must go
District 1 voters, what horrible representation and what a deceitful Pennington County commissioner we have. He costs taxpayers thousands over a sewer ordinance that was a mere $20 and runs it out over three years. He disrupts meetings with senseless comments, irritable requests, has irritated all staff from planning to administration to the point no one wants to be around him or work with him.
Now, over petty beliefs of his on meetings, he's once again disrupting the important work that needs to be done by commissioners, throwing temper tantrums and walking out of meetings while still getting paid out of our taxpayer dollars. Now, the last straw, his mailing address takes him out of our district, so who's righteous in following rules of order?
Commissioner for District 1, you've milked the taxpayers long enough, misrepresented us, it's time — as I asked in the South Rochford Road meetings — you need to resign. The primary election should have shown you that the public has seen your true colors.
Value of polls increasingly dubious
More and more folks are wondering how honest and accurate the various polls we are continually exposed to actually are. The following appears to validate their doubts.
What are the political and social agendas of the sponsor(s) of the poll? How large was the sampling of those taking the poll and what political parties, if ever, were they registered as? What location(s) were the folks that took the poll located in? Big difference in the poll result if taken in New York City instead of Rapid City. How many of the poll takers were regular participants? A regular poll participant is one that takes several polls and their responses, either conservative or liberal, put them on a respective list for future polls. Any poll can be totally manipulated just by the way the questions are phrased. Lastly, there are folks that are not truthful in their responses to polls.
Recent history has shown that most polls are no longer a source of information showing how folks feel about issues but are used to manipulate the public's opinion on various issues.
Vote Nelson for District 34
Rapid City needs a change in who represents it in Pierre. The average income in Rapid City went down 3.2 percent between 2010 and 2016 — statewide and nationwide it went up.
A big reason for this is Pierre’s refusal to inject hundreds of millions of dollars into our state’s healthcare industry by participating in the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid expansion. Regional Hospital alone loses $1 million a week due to uncompensated healthcare. That means higher medical expenses for the rest of us and less money for actual health care and salaried care providers.
George Nelson, candidate for House District 34, is fighting to do something about this. Let’s send him to Pierre so he can advocate for Rapid City’s economic development.