Wailing, gnashing and now possibly a lawsuit

I’m pretty sure everyone knew balancing the state budget wouldn’t be easy…..it’s flat hard work with a dose of discomfort.  So predictably, the wailing and hyperbole began Wednesday while the Governor was still addressing the legislature.  Big words like “devastating, substantial, negligent”.  The Senate Democratic leader even suggested we’d see a rise in juvenile delinquents if we cut the general fund allocation to education.

Now comes word that the Judiciary may challenge their requested 10% cut on their home court saying the language in the law might not give the Governor authority to request the budget cut.

Read the RCJ story

As someone who has had to deal with budget cuts on a personal level — I can understand the dismay…..but what would we do when the money is not there at all…..how would a budget cut of 20%, 40%, 50% or even more feel?  What about when the next rainy day comes and we’ve spent all our reserves.  Then I think it would be fair to use words like tragic.  Not dealing with this now only pushes it off to another day with deeper cuts needed to achieve living within our means.

The Dems are releasing an alternative budget today — it’d be nice if it contained some practical alternatives…..and not just more rhetoric like we heard from Ben Nesselhuf, State Dem Chair and Exec Director, in a statement:

“The message will be that state government is run by the tea party, and it doesn’t believe in public education and health care. Those two areas are the most important components of our quality of life.”

Really — if the Dems can’t do better than that….don’t look for the party to resurge any time soon.

12 Replies to “Wailing, gnashing and now possibly a lawsuit”

  1. caheidelberger

    No, the hyperbole began with the Governor’s extremist budget that assumes the only possible solution is a truly destructive 10% budget cut to education and social services that focuses the pain on those who can take it least rather than a modest tax increase spread out across all South Dakotans. Think about it: $126 million shortfall spread out across 800,000 South Dakotans: that’s about $150 per person. What’s worse: ask every South Dakotan to pay that much more in taxes per year, or fire several hundred teachers and professors and permanently hobble K-12, universities, and Medicaid?

      1. Rhetoric

        Kristi,
        You notice that he doesn’t mention the dean salaries across our great state? Cap those at $100 K and it would be a great start. Love to hear the rhetoric that we would have a hard time drawing such stellar candidates as which drain the public coffers now. Maybe we would get more of the right side of America, you know the ones that do their job for the sake of service like the thousands of brilliant people who serve in our military and know how to run much larger staff on much less pay.

        Ask the young liberal to add up the average amount spent per student by China, Vietnam, Japan, and then compare their results with our mess.

  2. Holy Cow!

    Holy Cow! The TeaPublicans and the Governor were elected to “starve the beast”……… and if that means someone has to fire several hundred teachers and professors and permanently hobble K-12, universities, and Medicaid, so be it!

    We TeaPublicans have said since day one that we “want to take our country back” and by God we are going to do it!

  3. ferber

    Cory, you are assuming that 800,000 SDan’s would pay that $150 tax, which is of course unrealistic. First you have to subtract all the kids, all the poor who of course wouldn’t be expected to pay it, maybe seniors on fixed incomes that couldn’t afford it supposedly, and who would be left? Then per two tax-paying adults in a family that would be $300 per year if we don’t cut the gov’t spending back at all.

    And Nesseluf’s statement that Reps/tea party people don’t believe in education or health care is ridiculous on its face and a prime example of why he lost the election. First of all, the tea party doesn’t run the state Rep party. Second of all, Reps believe in education and health care, they just realize that we can’t spend more than we take in and it’s time to address that issue or there won’t be anything left at all to fund those two major items of the budget.

  4. ferber

    I need to restate the sentence above “Then per two tax-paying adults in a family that would be $300 per year if we don?t cut the gov?t spending back at all. ” That would be fact if all 800,000 people paid the extra tax. But if we only count those who would actually pay the tax, $300 per family would be a drop in the bucket; it would be much, much higher.

  5. wow

    I don’t know if teachers need to be fired, but they could be utilized in better ways. Does a small school really need elective classes with 3 and 4 in them? (4 times a day) or could it be one elective class of 12 instead? Does it warrant having a teacher draw 40,000.00 a year to teach those 4 elective classes of 3 or 4 plus have a study hall of 12? This is happening over and over across the state. Schools may need to have a minimum number in an elective class or not offer it. Superintendents also need to dig out teacher certificates and LOOK to see what other classes their teachers are qualified to teach besides just consumer science, or just ag, etc. Also during these times it may be a good idea to encourage teachers of retirement age to take it. Experienced teachers in a system are good but when schools of 200 (k-12) or less are struggling, can these schools really keep on a staff 10 of 16 teachers who are drawing over 40,000 or more? Just asking. Does it make sense to run five or six buses several, several miles a day to pick up 12-15 kids in each bus (fewer than that are going home on the bus due to activities). These are just a few areas the need to be addressed. I can also think of several others. One last thing..when the Dems unveil their plan, I am guessing it will mean a proposal for a state income tax…not necessary because we cannot keep spending and collecting to then spend some more.

  6. SDMike

    What does Nusselhuf and his Baracktards not understand about money – if there is NOT enough income there is not enough money to spend. Plus based on my memory there was a whole lot of money spenders (both Republicans and Democrats) that were voted out, because the MAJORITY had enough of the spending sprees and increase of taxes. Everyone needs to step upto the plate a take a big old bite of that crap sandwich again. You might notice that there is not alot of new developments being built, becasue of this economy. I noticed that California and Illinois is doing real well with their budgets – the problem with them is that they don’t have leaders that are willing to cut government programs and actually balance a budget based off of income and not desired warm fuzzy feelings.

  7. ymous

    Cory-
    If local districts want to maintain the teacher ratios they can answer too their school boards at LOCAL levels. Why does the state have to collect then re-distribute the money. Local control and local taxation is the answer. I know for a fact there ag ground in those districts isnt valued properly. If they paid taxes based on the value of the ground they would have enough money. Sioux Falls is much better at a level playing field then rural SD.

  8. Lee

    Inarguably, the Governor’s drive to balance the budget is good. We’ve seen just the opposite in Washington where our government has taken a bad situation and made it worse as the Obama administration took a bad budget situation and exploded spending. A poor decision and I support a truly balanced budget.
    I would also argue, that the magnitude of these cuts will do real harm. Like it or not our schools, state government, Medicaid providers and universities all will be cutting many employees (or not filling many positions) and reducing operating expenditures. Those actions will result in fewer services, higher tuition, and fewer jobs. There will be fewer people buying homes and paying taxes. The breadth of our state will be negatively affected and there will be unintended consequences I?m sure.
    The question then is ? are we doing more harm than good with this approach. I think so. Let?s balance the budget and let?s do it in a balanced way. Absolutely we need some cuts, but also use some reserves and some temporary tax revenues. SD will then be positioned to grow from a position of strength as revenues return.

  9. Rod Goeman

    Lee, you are on target. Trying to ram a ten year problem into a 12-month solution is as disruptive as a state can get. If we’re going to get buy-in, let each state office, each school and medical provider give input to their legislators, then bring them together to hammer out a blend of solutions that allows cuts, small short-term fee or sales tax increases and minimal reserves over a three-year period, allowing economic growth to play a part in the structural deficit reduction plan.

  10. Voter

    Cutting teaching jobs is NOT a bad thing. Those teachers will teach in other places. They will no longer be paid by with tax payer dollars but with private dollars. If we cut after school programs then private after school programs will rise up! If we cut school sports then private sports groups will rise up! It is time to have some changes. Smaller schools, closer to home, with a more basic education. with a more combined approach where older students help younger students. It has worked well in the past and can work again now.