BIO – My name is Bill Laird and I’m running for the South Dakota State House in District 25. I live in Sioux Falls. I was born in South Dakota and have lived in South Dakota almost all of my life. I graduated form Washington High in Sioux Falls and from SDSU with a major in Foreign Languages and a major in Political Science. I am a veteran. I worked at Citibank in Sioux Falls for 17 years before I retired in March of 2010.
If you had to choose between public education funding or tax breaks and refunds to corporations interested in doing business in South Dakota, which would you cut first?
Tax breaks and refunds to corporations should be cut in favor of more revenue to public education.
Do you support a one penny sales tax increase to fund education and Medicaid? If so, why or why not?
I personally support the one-penny sales tax increase but I understand why some are not in favor of it. The most important aspect of this proposed tax increase, if it passes, is to ensure that it is used only for education and health care as intended and that no future legislature usurps it for other purposes.
What is the number one (1) issue the state legislature should focus on in the 2013 legislative session?
The number one focus for the next legislature, or any future legislature, is education… giving education the policies and funding it needs is the most important function of any state government.
Since the state has a surplus this year of $50 million, do you think they should start funding public education better, reduce taxes or allocate those funds to something else?
When the state found the 47 million dollar surplus this year it should have immediately been used to replace the cuts made from education earlier this year.
Do you support citizen driven initiative like the current snowgates petition that is circulating?
I would always support citizens’ rights to initiatives… I may not always agree with the particular issue, but I like the snow gates. I’ll be 66 soon and I’ve shoveled out the ends of driveways in the cold and dark for fifty plus years. I, and many of my fellow boomers, are ready for a break.
Bonus Question: If you were King or Queen for a day in Pierre, what would you change about the legislative session (ex: rules, procedures and time frames)?
As far as changes in Pierre, what I feel needs to be changed more than anything is legislative balance… the legislature needs input from liberal, conservative and ALL viewpoints in between… then quality legislation will follow.