Entries Tagged 'Hunhoff' ↓

Hunhoff slams Daily Republic for praising the governor for budget surplus

From SD Alliance for Progress;

By Representative Bernie Hunhoff

A recent Daily Republic editorial proclaimed “good news” that our state finished the fiscal year with a $47 million surplus. Yes, $47 million is good, but there’s no news there.

We’ve balanced our budgets in South Dakota since statehood. That’s 123 straight years. And in recent years we haven’t even come close to being in the red. State government is awash in cash. We now have $134 million in official reserves, plus another $725 million in trust funds and as of right now it looks like we could see millions more in surplus for the current fiscal year.

Remember, news happens when a man bites a dog. News is when we don’t balance the budget. Our state constitution requires it.

The real news is this latest confirmation that we unnecessarily slashed school spending by $52 million, and when the federal government sent $26 million the Pierre bureaucracy kept that in their own coffers. Then we slashed spending for children’s health programs, nursing homes and hospitals.

Frugality is a virtue. But we’ve taken it to the extreme in South Dakota. At some point it becomes a vice — like a well-to-do father who won’t buy shoes for his kids.

Despite a guise of frugality, the current administration has started a litany of new programs — many of them for big corporations. One example is the Manpower program that will spend $5 million to help a few companies recruit

workers from out-of-state. That’s what often happens with exorbitant surpluses: they are reclassified as one-time monies and then spent in areas that are low priority, if necessary at all. Thus, frugality turns into waste.

Meanwhile, state government’s share of education spending has dropped precipitously over the last decade, and is now the lowest in the nation in relation to local spending from property taxes. The 49 other state governments contribute an average of 43 percent of their schools’ budgets. In South Dakota, the state’s share has dropped below 30 percent — lowest in the nation — yet we have hundreds of millions in trust funds, excess cash accounts and reserves.

The age-old line from the Pierre bureaucracy is that we dare not risk an adequate investment in education because disaster could be lurking — a flood, a forest fire, beetles, drought or recession. But our penny-pinching has caused a disaster for schools, for property taxpayers in South Dakota and for many community health care facilities.

Your editorial board accused me of playing politics with the “good” budget news this week. I suppose anything can be construed as politics — giving your wife flowers on her birthday, for example. But the only reason many of us are even involved in politics is because we want to improve the lives of South Dakotans.

Is your life better because the state salted away tens of millions of your tax dollars rather than making smart investments in health care and education and keeping property taxes down?

Bernie Hunhoff, a Democrat from Yankton, is the state House minority leader.

 

Ouch!

Democrat for Governor in 2010?

It seems ever since rumors of Stephanie Herseth-Sandals Vacation might be running for governor, the fact that the Republicans got their asses handed to them on a national level, and our current governor is turning out to be a big crooked joke, the state GOP is rolling out their candidates for governor in 2010. But who is running on the Democratic side? Good question. I’ve done my poking around but all you ever here is Steffy, Steffy, Steffy. I’m finding that hard to believe, considering she is now a Washingtonian. Hard to shake that town from your soul once you’ve worked there.

So what are Democrat’s options? Though Heidepreim would make a fine candidate, I don’t think his big city attorney image would sell over west river ranchers and east river farmers. Is he capable? Sure. Is he sellable? Nope.

I think Hunhoff should run again. Last time around he ran against a SD Lion, and stood his ground. I’m also starting to think his latest reappearance in Pierre is a sign that he may throw his hat in the ring.

What do I know? Well nothing.

But I do know that Bernie knows our state inside and out and he is intelligent and capable. He is also for low taxes and small government. More importantly Bernie has something that our current governor does not; Humility and Compassion.

Go Bernie!

The Governor needs to take the wax out of his ears

After reading the budget address story in the Gargoyle Leader, I dove into a tiny little article buried on page 9A and not available online (that’s where the Liberal media puts their important stories I guess) the article detailed how Dems have been after Marion M. Rounds for three years about limiting the growth of State Government (you know, all those unneeded no-bid contracts to friends and family he has secretly deguised as FTE’s), but as usual, Mike refuses to listen to anyone but his inner greed and arrogance;

For three years, Democrats have tried to hold state government to the 3 percent budget increases allowed schools and counties, and we couldn’t get support,” said Dem Ben Nesselhuf of Vermillion, “If we’d been doing that for three years, maybe we’d have money.”

Democratic Rep. Bernie Hunhuff of Yankton also voiced concern about the property tax increase;

It could sow the seeds for another property tax revolt, and we don’t want that.

Get out the pitchforks and torches I guess.

I think Minority leader Scott Heidepriem of Sioux Falls, District 13, where I live, said it best when he called the governor’s budget “Cynical”

I guess I wouldn’t have had a problem with expanding state government if government services have become better, in fact they are either the same or worse since Rounds has taken office. Just look at the vehicle registration fiasco. So where did the millions go? This is about helping friends out, and now that he has broken the bank, he continues his state of denial and promises more cuts to education, salaries and road construction while failing to put his hand out to our new president who vows to ramp up infrastructure and domestic spending. Once again SD Republican leaders have proven the best way to fix problems is to tax and spend instead of making cuts.