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South Dakota Budget Angst

January 4, 2011

The South Dakota Legislature is ramping up for the new session and the state’s budget and revenue shortfalls seem to be on everyone’s mind.  Our state has a constitutional mandate that each year’s budget must be balanced, and we’re reportedly sitting on a large reserve cash accumulated over the years to handle that proverbial “rainy day.”   Last year, after roundly condemning and castigating Obama for handing out stimulus money, South Dakota’s politicians grabbed every federal stimulus dollar sent their way and used it to balance our last budget.  This year there are no more stimulus funds, and the consensus among our conservative politicians is that it is not yet rainy enough to tap the reserve, so something else will have to be done to cover the anticipated $75 million revenue shortfall.

The editorial in this morning’s paper weighed in with the advice that our legislators should forget about gimmicks like raising gas taxes or increasing the state sales tax rate.  Better that bloated state government be cut in order to balance the budget.   Of course no state programs or specific examples of bloated state government were cited,  because it is “hard to tell because government seems both loath to measure the quality of its programs or the competence of its employees.”  The local editorial board suggested that the excessive number of state employees hired by the last Republican governor, ineffective state programs, and state employee salaries and pensions were areas where economy could be acheived.   They’re sure that fat is out there and that the “state budget hasn’t already been cut to the bone.” 

This “cut to the bone” analogy bothers me since it doesn’t say much for this state’s viability.   It has been my experience that when one bones a chicken it is usually already dead.  

— Margadant

One Comment leave one →
  1. January 4, 2011 5:04 pm

    There’s probably too many teachers and firefighters.

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