Jackley for Governor fundraising letter out this week. But haven’t I seen this before?

The Marty Jackley for Governor campaign hit my mailbox again this week with a fundraising letter I received a couple of days ago.

2Nd Jackley Letter by Pat Powers on Scribd

But…. I can’t help but think that I’ve seen it somewhere before, about two weeks ago.

In comparing the two, on the front, in making the appeal they’re identical with only one small detail changed. On the front, in the paragraph next to the picture it states “Our campaign budget calls for us to raise $45,000 by December 15th.” This was changed from the prior letter which notes “Our campaign budget calls for us to raise $45,000 by November 30th.

Similarly on the back, the only difference I can note is a subtle one, which similarly changes the date of the appeal letter. Instead of asking to “Lead the way and help us reach our crucial goal of raising $45,000 by November 30th,” this letter solicits the recipient “Lead the way and help us hit our crucial goal of raising $45,000 by December 15th.

This could be a directed strategy, to hit people who haven’t donated with a reminder, but I would have thought it might be something with more alternative text than pushing their campaign budget goal back 2 weeks.

And the campaigns roll on…

US Senator John Thune’s Weekly Column: A Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity

A Once-in-a-Generation Opportunity
By Sen. John Thune

One of the main reasons I wanted to join the Senate Finance Committee was for the opportunity to reform and modernize our wildly outdated tax code. Fortunately, that once-in-a-generation opportunity has finally presented itself, and I’m excited by the momentum in Congress that is getting us closer to delivering a pro-growth tax reform bill to the president that will directly benefit middle-income South Dakota families.

The U.S. tax code is like a time capsule. It’s stuck in 1986. More than three decades have passed since Congress has taken a hard look at reforming it. Think about everything that’s changed in the last 31 years. The United States has elected five new presidents, of which three served a full eight years. The internet was invented. For me personally, I’ve watched my daughters grow up, and I now have grandchildren. If that doesn’t put this into perspective, I don’t know what will.

There are a lot of reasons to support the Senate tax reform plan, but I’m particularly interested in all of the positive things it would do to provide relief for middle-income families. First, it doubles the standard deduction for individual and joint filers, which would reduce the tax burden on families. Since fewer people would need to itemize, it would simplify the code, too. Doubling the standard deduction means the first $24,000 of a family’s income wouldn’t be subject to federal income tax. For a family that earns less than $24,000 per year, they wouldn’t pay any federal income taxes at all.

Specifically in South Dakota, the Senate tax reform plan, according to a Tax Foundation analysis of the initial plan, would result in a $2,528 boost in after-tax income for middle-income families and more than 2,700 new full-time jobs for South Dakota workers.

The Senate tax reform plan doubles the child tax credit to $2,000 and expands eligibility, which would help folks who are raising a family and trying to make ends meet. The plan also fulfills one of the most fundamental goals we set out to achieve: It lowers federal income tax rates for all levels of income earners in South Dakota, including those in the bottom-to-middle brackets.

The plan would also reform the tax code for U.S. businesses. For too long, we have been losing jobs to overseas competitors, in part because our businesses pay some of the highest taxes in the industrialized world. This plan would make U.S. businesses more competitive, which would create jobs and increase wages for American workers.

Over the last five years, tax reform has really been a bipartisan issue. During Democrat and Republican administrations, and under Democrat and Republican chairmen of the Finance Committee, we’ve held nearly 70 hearings on tax-related issues. Two years ago, I worked with Sen. Ben Cardin, one of my Democrat colleagues who also serves on the Finance Committee, on a bipartisan proposal to reform the business side of the tax code. This year alone, I’ve introduced multiple bipartisan tax reform proposals, including one that’s cosponsored by the top Democrat on the Finance Committee.

I remain hopeful that bipartisanship will prevail here, too, and that by the end of this process, my colleagues will see the benefits of this plan and realize the real winners of pro-growth tax reform are middle-income American families.

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US Senator Mike Rounds’ Weekly Column: Thankful

Thankful
By U.S. Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.)

This Thanksgiving, as we get together with family and friends, Jean and I would once again like to send our warmest wishes to all South Dakotans. During this festive time of the year, let’s not forget that the first Thanksgiving was a time to thank the good Lord for all of our blessings. I am especially thankful for the opportunity to be able to work on your behalf in the United States Senate. Even when the debates on Capitol Hill get contentious, working for the people of South Dakota is a privilege that I’ll never take for granted.

I’m also thankful for the love and support of my family as I do this job. I truly would not be able to do it without them. We’re looking forward to spending Thanksgiving together at our house in Fort Pierre with many of our immediate and extended family members, including a few of our eight grandkids—we have to share them with their other grandparents sometimes! With such busy schedules these days, quality time with our family is the biggest blessing Jean and I could ask for.

Earlier this month, we celebrated Veterans Day. It is because of the men and women who serve, and their families who support them, that all of us are able to freely celebrate the holiday season with those we love. I’m incredibly thankful to our military community and our veterans for all they do and have done to protect our freedoms, and I pray for those who will be spending the holidays apart from their families. We can never repay them for their service and sacrifice, but as a member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee, I’ll continue working on legislation to improve the quality of life for South Dakota’s veterans and members of the armed forces, along with their family members.

Especially during the holiday season, I encourage South Dakotans to find ways to give back to their communities. There are food pantries and churches in nearly every town collecting donations, so that all of our neighbors are able to put a good meal on their Thanksgiving table. Monetary donations and food donations are both helpful, and as winter in South Dakota sets in, coats and other cold-weather clothing items are needed for kids, teens and adults. A number of volunteer organizations, charities, churches and even many local businesses hold coat drives every year, starting around this time.

As we gather with our loved ones to give thanks and count our blessings, let’s also say a prayer for those who are having a hard time this year and for those who are unable to spend the holiday with their families. Jean and I wish all South Dakotans a very happy Thanksgiving and holiday season.

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Congresswoman Kristi Noem’s Weekly Column: Blessed, Honored, and Thankful

Blessed, Honored, and Thankful
By Rep. Kristi Noem

 The story of the first Thanksgiving is one you’ve probably heard (some version of it anyway). But I recently came across what happened a couple of years later when the second Thanksgiving was celebrated. The pilgrims had faced a tough drought that year. It hit their yields pretty hard and food became scarce. The colony’s governor called for a fast to preserve resources. When the fast was finally lifted, the pilgrims gathered together and the thanksgiving feast began.

I imagine their meal was hardly the spread many of us have today, but there’s something neat about the fact that this tradition of gratitude has lasted through the generations.

While we don’t face a food shortage as the pilgrims did, South Dakota does understand the impact of a drought. It’s made for a really rough harvest in much of the state this year and forced many families to tighten their belts a bit.

I became the general manager of our farm in the mid-1990’s, so I’ve been through years like this. They were tough. But looking back, I know we had so much to be grateful for. We built a lot of efficiencies into our operation during those lean years (to be fair, we had to). It forced us to diversify our operation, which led me to start a hunting lodge – an experience I still appreciate today. The long days could be grueling, but there’s a part of me that misses them now. We worked hard, but we worked as a family. And those memories mean the world to me.

My day-to-day life looks different today, but I still count the blessings. I get frustrated by Washington a lot, but I never take for granted the responsibility you’ve given me.  I’m honored beyond belief to represent South Dakota. I’m grateful for the love and compassion so many have shown. I’m grateful for those who are willing to talk with me about the things we disagree on. I’m grateful for every win we achieve and to share the experiences of South Dakota with folks from across the country. I’m grateful to be able to travel the state almost every week and to spend time with people I might not have had the chance to otherwise connect with.

When you’re in the thick of things, it can be hard to see the blessings that are right in front of you. I recognize that. But taking the time to acknowledge those blessings can really shift a person’s perspective. My mom is a big fan of Willie Nelson, and I loved how he put it: “When I started counting my blessings, my whole life turned around.”

Like many families, we take time to count our blessings at the Thanksgiving table every year. Part of me has always wondered if the pilgrims shared that tradition too. While so much has changed over the last 400-plus years, I wouldn’t be surprised if the conversations around the Thanksgiving table were actually quite similar: I’m grateful for family, for a home, for freedom, for what we could harvest despite the drought.

From Bryon, Kassidy, Kennedy, Booker and I, we wish you a blessed Thanksgiving.

Governor Daugaard’s Weekly Column: 138 Thanksgivings Ago

138 Thanksgivings Ago
A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard: 

Linda and I are thankful for many things this year. We are thankful for our children and grandchildren, for the friends old and new we’ve made across the state, and for the opportunity to serve as governor and first lady.

I am also thankful for a Yankton dinner table conversation that took place 138 Thanksgivings ago. John Andrews recounted the story in a South Dakota Magazine article released prior to South Dakota’s 125th anniversary of statehood.

A few of Dakota Territory’s most prominent leaders gathered around the dinner table that Thanksgiving Day in 1879 to do more than break bread. The home belonged to a local Congregational minister, Rev. Stewart Sheldon, and among his guests were territorial Gov. William Howard, U.S. Attorney Hugh Campbell, General William H.H. Beadle, Edward P. Wilcox and his brother-in-law Rev. Joseph Ward.

The conversation began around a school lands question. The men present wanted to ensure school lands would be valued and sold at a high enough price, at no less than $10 per acre. Some residents thought the land should be sold for $2.25 per acre to a large syndicate. This was of particular concern to General Beadle who was the superintendent of public instruction.

As they discussed the issue, the idea arose to divide Dakota Territory into northern and southern portions to protect the value of the lands, and to make the southern part of Dakota its own state. It is believed this was the conversation that sparked serious statehood efforts, as these men spent the next few years leading the movement.

Nearly 10 more years passed before South Dakota became its own state. It took three bills passed by the territorial legislature, two constitutional conventions, two votes from the people and two congressional bills. Finally, a newly-elected president with Republican majorities in Congress signed South Dakota into statehood. As Andrews noted in his article, the dinner discussion served as a catalyst of the statehood movement. As he put it, “We owe a debt of gratitude to the men who shared ideas around the Thanksgiving table and committed themselves to creating a new and better home.”

Considering where our state is today, I think that’s true. There’s no better place to live, work and raise a family. In fact, Site Selection named South Dakota as the number one state for achieving the American dream. With our low tax burden and reasonable regulatory environment, you can make a good living in South Dakota and you can rest assured that your tax dollars are being well managed. We have balanced the budget every year since statehood and our sound financial practices are affirmed by all three credit rating agencies, which have awarded us with AAA status. We also have a high quality of life: an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities, safe communities, good schools and post-secondary opportunities, and clean air and water.

More than anything though, our state is made up of good people. South Dakotans are friendly, humble and hardworking. Here, we still hold open doors, say hello to passing strangers and shovel our neighbors’ driveways. For these things and for the individuals who made South Dakota what it is today, we have reason to be very, very thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving, South Dakota.

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Dusty Johnson Announces Record $500K Raised for Congressional Bid

Dusty Johnson Announces Record $500K Raised for Congressional Bid

MITCHELL, SD – The Dusty Johnson for Congress campaign announced raising a record breaking $500,000 in South Dakota’s Republican primary. The sum is more than has been raised by any non-incumbent at this stage in a congressional primary.

This announcement comes after Dusty Johnson received national recognition as “On The Radar” by the National Republican Congressional Committee as a part of their Young Guns program. The program identifies competitive campaigns based on certain performance metrics including fundraising.

“Thanksgiving has come early this year,” said Dusty Johnson. “We have been working hard to spread my positive message about improving our communities and infrastructure, taking power back from DC for South Dakota families, and finding a way to end the dysfunction in Washington. The level of investment that we have received thus far is proof that South Dakotans know that only I have the experience to make sure that Washington gets back to work for South Dakotans.”

Dusty Johnson grew up in a working-class family in Central South Dakota and graduated from USD Vermillion. A former policy staff member for Governor Mike Rounds, Dusty learned early on he had a passion for public service. After serving on the Public Utilities Commission, Dusty became Governor Daugaard’s Chief of Staff and helped lead the state out of a $127 million deficit. Dusty currently works as Vice President at Vantage Point Solutions in Mitchell where he helps telecommunications companies deploy fiber and broadband into rural communities.

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With Noem’s Leadership, House Passes Tax Reform Proposal

With Noem’s Leadership, House Passes Tax Reform Proposal

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. House of Representatives today passed a landmark tax reform proposal, drafted in part by Rep. Kristi Noem. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, which has found support from many South Dakotans, is expected to increase wages by 3.1 percent, add nearly 1 million jobs, and raise after-tax incomes by thousands of dollars, according to the non-partisan Tax Foundation. Meanwhile, the Joint Committee on Taxation found there would be “a tax benefit to all income categories.”

“I have worked hours going line by line through this legislation to make sure the policies contained in it are going to work for families, that they’ll increase wages for folks, and create more opportunity in America,” said Noem.

On the House Ways & Means Committee, which has primary jurisdiction over tax reform, Noem has championed many of the bill’s family-centered policies. Noem was vocal about the need to significantly expand the Child Tax Credit and led efforts to ensure the Child Care Credit and flexible spending benefits remained in the House proposal.

“I am extremely proud of the steps we’ve taken to strengthen families in this bill,” continued Noem. “South Dakota has the highest rate of working moms in the nation. Parents are already stretched thin, so the provisions in this bill are designed to help them – help them pay their bills, take care of their kids, go to work, and maybe at the end of the day, take a weekend where they can go and do something fun with their kids. That’s important to South Dakota.”

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act also includes a handful of provisions Noem has previously introduced as stand-alone legislation. More specifically, the House tax reform proposal fully and permanently repeals the Death Tax by 2025, based on Noem’s Death Tax Repeal Act. Additionally, the bill excludes the Indian Health Service’s Student Loan Repayment program from tax, a provision that was pulled from Noem’s 2016 HEALTTH Act. Moreover, as one of the only members of the House Ways & Means Committee with a background in agriculture, Noem championed efforts to give farmers, ranchers, and small businesses better expensing tools and drive down the tax rate for small businesses.

“If we’re going to keep kids in South Dakota, we need to create opportunities in South Dakota,” Noem explained. “This tax reform package protects family farms from one generation to the next and makes it easier for South Dakota’s hardworking job creators to thrive.”

The Senate continues to debate their version of tax reform. Once passed, the House and Senate will go to Conference to merge the two documents before both chambers take a final vote and put the legislation on the president’s desk.

VIDEO STATEMENT

POLICY HIGHLIGHTS

Simplifies the tax code so an individual or family can file their taxes on a form as simple as a postcard.

Significantly lowers individual tax rates to Zero, 12%, 25% and 35%, while also nearly doubling the standard deduction to $24,000 for married couples and $12,000 for single filers. High-income Americans will maintain the 39.6% rate.

  • 0%: Married couples making less than $24,000 / Single filers making less than $12,000 (the increased standard deduction protects these families from taxation)
  • 12%: Married couples making $24,000-$90,000 / Single filers making $12,000-$45,000
  • 25%: Married couples making $90,000-$260,000 / Single filers making $45,000-$200,000
  • 35%: Married couples making $260,000-$1,000,000 / Single filers making $200,000-$500,000
  • 39.6%: Married couples making more than $1,000,000 / Single filers making more than $500,000

Provides unprecedented support for families after strong leadership from Noem on the issue:

  • Increases the Child Tax Credit to $1,600 per child (60% larger than under current policy).
  • Eliminates the “marriage penalty.”
  • Creates a new Family Flexibility Credit, which provides a credit of $300 for each parent and non-child dependent.
  • Preserves the Child and Dependent Care Tax Credit (also known as the Child Care Credit) to better support working parents.
  • Allows unborn children to be named beneficiaries of 529 education savings plans

Phases in full and permanent Death Tax Repeal by doubling the Death Tax exemption levels for the first seven years and then fully repealing the Death Tax by 2025. The provision is based on Noem’s Death Tax Repeal Act of 2017.

Preserves and strengthens the Earned Income Tax Credit with provisions to stop widely reported fraud. 

Gives support at important milestones in life:

  • Preserves the Home Mortgage Interest Deduction for existing mortgages and maintains the home mortgage interest deduction for newly purchased homes up to $500,000.
  • Retains popular retirement savings options, such as the 401(k)s and IRAs.
  • Streamlines higher-education benefits.

Excludes the Indian Health Service’s Student Loan Repayment program from tax to help in recruiting. It’s based on Noem’s HEALTTH Act. 

Continues the deduction for charitable contributions.

Allows businesses to immediately write off the full cost of new equipment, which is critical for South Dakota’s agriculture community and was a priority Noem made known during Ways & Means Committee debates.

Creates opportunities to create more jobs and raise wages.

  • Creates a separate and historically low small business tax rate.
  • Lowers the corporate tax rate to a globally competitive 20%.

No, nothing is wrong. Just some website chores….

If you are seeing a couple of errors here and there on the website, I’d just ask you for your patience.

Nothing is wrong, but I’m doing some long overdue chores on the back-end of SDWC to coincide with the latest WordPress update that came out today.  A plug-in stopped talking to the server, and I’m trying to fix a mobile app that talks to the website for posting thats been broken for a while. I’ve been putting it off, but I’m making another run at troubleshooting.

Noem Pushes for Tax Reform Passage ahead of House Vote

Noem Pushes for Tax Reform Passage ahead of House Vote

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Kristi Noem spoke on the House floor this evening, urging her colleagues to vote in favor of the House tax reform package she helped draft. Noem pointed to key provisions she’s helped champion, including lower tax rates, a dramatically expanded Child Tax Credit, the Child Care Credit, and the repeal of the Death Tax. The House is expected to vote on the legislation Thursday.