Entries Tagged 'State Funding' ↓

The liquor license dilemma

Our daily paper has an intriguing story about liquor licenses. Mostly a bunch of people whining about the process. If I was in the state legislature I would present what they do in most states and have a yearly licensing fee for selling liquor.  I think it is ok to separate beer and wine from selling full on liquor, but I would combine the those two licenses into one and double that fee.

So how would it work?

• First I would eliminate who could have them, no waiting lists, etc. As long as your establishment was of a certain size and you could prove you were opening a viable business you could have one. Obviously free market competition would stop us from having a liquor bar on every corner.

• I would charge a yearly licensing fee. In larger markets like SF it would be much higher and based on population (like it kind of is now). For example the fee in SF would be $10K a year while in Baltic it would be much lower.

• Grandfathering license holders. This wouldn’t be for eternity, but I would set a time limit for phasing them out. How would that work? First, once a yearly fee is determined you would assess the value of the license you currently own. Each town would be the same within that town. Right now a new license is worth around $190K in Sioux Falls. So if the new licensing fee was $10K a year and you owned one of these licenses in SF you wouldn’t have to pay the fee for 19 years. But I would cap it at 20 years. In other words in 20 years after the new law takes place all of the old style of licenses would be null and void.

• The old licenses would NOT be transferable to another location but could be to a new owner at the same location with the same business model.

• I would give the option of selling the old license back to the municipality at 50% of the value if you wanted to get out of the bar business. I think this change alone would eliminate a lot of the old licenses. The new licensing fees would easily cover these costs for the cities.

Everyone who owns a license now complains they would lose there investment, but I think a plan like I suggested would still give value to that license. I also think that a ‘license’ shouldn’t be considered an investment anyway. It’s a frickin’ license. I think the way the system is set up now, you have a lot of the big guys hoarding the licenses, and that’s not fair. This would even the playing field and would actually produce better establishments based on service instead of how much money you have or the value of your liquor license. Think about it, what other license in SD is forever? There isn’t one that I can think of. Even your driver’s license has to be renewed every couple of years.

Is our state legislature brave enough to take such steps? Nope. They are more worried about protecting a certain class of people instead of fostering entrepreneurship. Besides, they are more concerned about God, Guns and Abortion.

Pre-K education is part of the ‘socialist’ agenda?

Not only would PRE-K education save families millions in daycare it would also better prepare young students for K-12. One of the complaints I have heard from kindergarten and even 1st grade teachers in Sioux Falls is they spend half their time teaching life skills (like wiping kids behinds) that the parents ‘should have’ thought these kids before enrolling them in regular school. All the other arguments aside, I had to laugh about the ‘socialist’ agenda argument.

In case you haven’t noticed our fore fathers based our Republic on a socialist platform. Besides regular public education (K-12) being a socialist program, the US Military is one of the biggest socialist programs we have. Add to that the interstate highway system, the VA, Social Security, Medicare, SNAP, Public Libraries and even locally snow removal and our parks system, the list goes on. We all pay taxes to promote the social welfare of the majority while protecting the rights of the minority, I know that is hard to swallow, but that’s socialism folks.

I had to laugh when recently I heard a local radio host say he was shocked about openly Socialist lawmakers in Washington like Bernie Sanders. Those lawmakers get it, we have been a socialist democracy since almost day one. This is not something NEW that would be ‘snuck’ in on Pre-K education. Let’s admit it, most lawmakers in Pierre hate public education, that’s why they try to starve it every year. They believe only the wealthy deserve to be educated. These same lawmakers also don’t want an educated work force, because they will demand higher pay. We are only shooting ourselves in the foot when we refuse to fund these programs, it hurts the state economically. Who knew that our ‘socialism’ actually benefits our ‘capitalism’.

Rep. Haugaard hates the petition/initiative process because he says ‘Direct Democracy’ doesn’t work.

Haugaard said this, this morning during the legislative coffee; “Direct democracy doesn’t work.” I about fell out of my chair laughing. Once again, another state legislator makes a ridiculous statement NOT based on facts.

First, let’s look to direct democracy in our state. Many of the greatest changes in state law have occurred due to initiatives, some of the worst changes in state law have occurred in the state legislature. I could go thru a long list of examples, but you know what I am talking about.

As for internationally, the Swiss people have had ‘Direct Democracy’ for decades and it works and is very popular. The Swiss people vote on laws 4 times a year and voter turnout is around 50% over the past 30 years (Americans are around 50% over the same time period in national elections). A recent poll shows 65% of Swiss people are satisfied with their government (Americans are at about 58% but another 61% want to see ‘significant changes’). On top of that the Swiss people have one of the highest standard of living in the world. Switzerland rates #2 in the world for per capita wealth.

I challenge Mr. Haugaard to tell a Swiss citizen that “Direct democracy doesn’t work.” They would certainly disagree. Not only does it work, it lifts people up in more ways then you can even imagine. Leave the petition/initiative process alone, it’s not broken and it works extremely well. Our state legislature, not so much.

Legislative Coffee • Sioux Falls • Feb 2, 2019

I guess not all of our legislature is Whacky. It seems (most of) this delegation supports having a Spanish driver’s license test, legalizing industrial hemp, studying making ingestion a misdemenor. But they want to change absentee voting from 45 days to ‘something else’. I don’t agree, leave it as is. As Representative Sullivan said, “I started campaigning and knocking on doors in August.” She also added we need to make it easier for people to vote. 100% Agreed!

I do however think that absentees should be mailed to the SD address, NOT snowbird address. I think if you travel for business and are out of state quite a bit that should be an exception, but if you don’t actually physically live here at least 95% of the time, you shouldn’t be able to vote. A great example is a certain individual who is extremely wealthy who has a SF address, and constantly is nosing around in city government but lives most of the time in California. I don’t agree with this. If you want to participate in state and municipal government, great, but you also have to live here. It is obvious you are keeping your SD address for tax shelter purposes (another law that should change).

Majority of Legislature and Governor must think we are going to be attacked by Canada

As you probably heard, permit-less concealed carry passed the legislature and Donita Trump said she will sign the bill. If you do any REAL research on the 2nd Amendment, you will know that it’s main purpose was to create a ‘regulated militia’ in parts of the country that didn’t have one (We have the SD National Guard) and so slave owners could control their slaves. There of course was killing critters for food. Other than that, there is really absolutely NO reason anyone needs to own a gun. But since it is legal to own a lethal weapon, the permit process is NOT broken and works fine (well, it really should be stricter by requiring owners to get an operator’s license and carry liability insurance on every firearm they own). Why are we going backwards on gun safety? I can’t answer that, even after a large majority of gun owners and non gun owners just recently polled said they are OK with the permitting process.

As we all know, this will open up a whole new market of people buying guns privately and carrying without a permit. Not all of these people could pass a background check. This will only make law enforcement’s job harder, a lot harder. It will also give a free pass to anyone who couldn’t get a gun before. It is complete insanity, and anyone who voted for this needs to have their head examined.

Besides the possible increase in crime, it could also affect tourism in our state, in fact I was surprised that the Chamber, Retailers Association and the Department of Tourism did not oppose such an ignorant bill.

It also proves that our legislature wastes a lot of time on bills that are not only not needed but harmful to the citizenry as a whole.

Once again, they have done nothing to ensure;

More open government.

Eliminating food taxes (and taxes on other necessities like clothing, utilities and hygiene products)

Expanding Medicare to assist with nursing home residents (and frankly help the economy)

Funding ALL education better (Pre-K, Higher Learning, Technical and K-12)

Giving counties more revenue through realigning alcohol taxes.

Cutting the Half-Penny tax due to the new internet sales tax revenue.

Our State Legislature is a black hole of nothingness, it has been horrible for a very long time, and this year will go down in history as one of the worst. In fact, one of the key members went to Texas for 3 days to attend a Mini-Golf concessions conference (Al Norstrup). Will his pay be cut for missing several crucial votes?

It’s time to clean house in the next couple of election cycles.

Government Secrecy costs A LOT of money!

Well, you know the old cliché, Lawyers are professional liars. They brought those talents to Pierre to try to get an open settlements law killed in committee;

“Transparency is a good thing, but at what cost?” said Sioux Falls lawyer Steve Siegel, who represented the trial lawyers. Siegel noted that parties in lawsuits use confidential agreements to keep embarrassing information out of the public, and he noted that the South Dakota Newspaper Association was in favor of the bill.

I guess we only have a right to information if it isn’t embarrassing? Only a lawyer would come up with such a ridiculous excuse. He also apparently tried to peg the SDNA as a tabloid and gossip rag organization. Hey Steve, they represent NEWS organizations, not the National Enquirer.

They also tried to use the tired old excuse that keeping things secret saves money. LOL. How would we know if the settlements are kept secret?;

David Bordewyk, the executive director of the South Dakota Newspaper Association, pointed to the secret settlement that Sioux Falls negotiated with contractors over flawed exterior panels on the Denny Sanford Premier Center. That settlement only became public because a lawsuit had not been filed. The settlement agreement showed that Sioux Falls officials mislead the public about receiving $1 million in cash from the contractors.

That settlement, in which we got $1 million of our own money back, cost taxpayers well over $100,000 to defend it’s secrecy in court. In fact, the Federal government forbids secret settlements because government secrecy tends to cost them billions of dollars a year.

This isn’t about saving money (a lie) but it is probably about embarrassment. We had a mayor who probably signed off on bad siding, and in order to cover it up he lied about a supposed settlement. And even after the city lost the Supreme Court case, the shame and embarrassment didn’t seem to bother him at all, in fact, in true Trump style he doubled down on the lies and to this day has refused to admit if he singed off on the Shi**y siding.

Opening up these settlements will save taxpayers in South Dakota millions of dollars, and maybe the ‘public embarrassment’ will keep these settlements to a bare minimum, if they are not truly deserving. But I don’t think the recipients are the ones that will be embarrassed, it will be the corrupt politicians who got our tit in a wringer to begin with, and to that I say OPEN THE BOOKS!

UPDATE: Sioux Falls City Councilor Starr comments on the Municipal League suit

UPDATE: I guess the hearing has been called off, and Taylor is NO LONGER banned. Still waiting to hear more details. I wonder if our AG stopped eating cookies for a couple of minutes and read the constitution instead.

Pat called into the B-N-B show this morning (towards end) and expresses his feelings on the issue;

“I’m concerned as a taxpayer,” Starr told The Greg Belfrage Show this morning. “It’s a great group for the municipalities to come together across the state. This just distracts from the organization that does this for us.”

Starr said it, unfortunately, the parties have had to go to federal court to determine for what he calls “a personality conflict.”

“I think you expect professional decorum on both sides,” Starr said. “I’m disappointed.”

But he said he needed to back Taylor, as she has free speech rights and works for “his” organization.

“To ban someone indefinitely is overreaching and probably one of the reasons she used to for the terminology,” Starr said.

I think both Taylor and Haugaard were out of line, they should just make up and move on. But instead, it’s going to cost taxpayers coming and going;

So, win, lose, or draw, South Dakota taxpayers will be paying indirectly for the two sides’ attorneys.

If we had an AG’s office with at least a half a brain that actually understood the Constitution, they would have sent a polite letter to Haugaard telling him his actions were unconstitutional and that he had no right to ban Taylor. Then send a letter to Taylor telling her she was no longer banned. Pretty simple. The postage may have cost the taxpayers a couple of bucks, but problem solved. So now we have two publicly funded institutions fighting it out in Federal court over a clear violation of 1st Amendment rights. Not only is it ‘Whacky’ it’s down right stupid. I think our state house is not only full of ‘Whackies’ but it also is full of the mentally challenged, mentally ill and just down right ignorant. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Steve.

SD State Legislature won’t fund education properly but want schools to buy plaques that violate church and state

God, Guns, and Abortion, that is all the legislature seems to be concerned about. Now they want schools to violate separation of church and state, yet provide NO funding mechanism;

FOR AN ACT ENTITLED, An Act to require 1 the national motto of the United States to be

2 displayed in public schools.

3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA:

4 Section 1. That chapter 13-24 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read:

5 Beginning in the 2019-2020 school year, the national motto of the United States, “In God

6 We Trust,” shall be displayed in each public school. The display shall be located in a prominent

7 location within each public school. The display may take the form of a mounted plaque, student

8 artwork, or any other appropriate form as determined by the school principal.

9 For the purposes of this section, a prominent location is a school entryway, cafeteria, or

10 other common area where students are most likely to see the national motto display.

While some may argue that the term ‘GOD’ doesn’t talk about a specific religion, I still think it borders on violation of the separation clause. What’s even worse is that the legislature wants schools to apparently fund this on their own without providing a funding mechanism. A sign or plaque that is prominently displayed could cost anywhere from $75 to $750 dollars. This is a waste of educational dollars. If I was one of these schools I would take a highlighter to a dollar bill and put it in a frame and hang that up. In America, we only have one true God, and it is green.

Cory does 30 policies in 60 seconds!

And believe it or not, I agree with every single one!

Rex Rolfing, still delusional

I have been waiting for Rex to return from the Orange Juice state to actually campaign in person (still haven’t seen him). He is is relying on the ‘R’ behind his name, a few yard signs and this recent mailer to put him over the top.

Got a really good chuckle out of his ‘VISION’

Just go to sfmeetings.org and type in Rex Rolfing, and see his voting record for yourself.

Fiscally responsible. WOW! In the 8 years (2008-16) Rex served on the city council he voted for EVERY single fee and tax increase. He also voted for millions in TIFs and bonding, including the Indoor Pool, Huether Tennis Center ($500K), Administration building that we did not need and the The Denty that has never paid it’s mortgage EVER through revenue.

Rex wouldn’t know what fiscal responsibility was if it hit him like a Jesus snow plow.

He also did ZERO to improve workforce while he served on the council, except voting for an expenditure to put billboards of the former mayor’s face all over Minneapolis.

He also followed the marching orders of his former boss and police chief by ignoring our drug and crime issues for 8 years.

Besides the glaring hypocrisy of Rex’s vision, we also forget that;

• He trumped up false ethics violations towards councilor Stehly, in which he had a freak out session where the puck under the gavel went flying thru the air. He even made light of it later by pretending the bone above he is chewing on in the picture was a gavel and started rapping it on the table like a gavel after covering the end in tin foil.

• Rex said publicly he doesn’t want his contact information on mailings even though his city owned council email address and phone number are public information.

• Lastly, his only (non)accomplishment on the council was passing a silly ordinance about having a majority instead of a plurality in council races, which only makes elections more expensive for both taxpayers and candidates (hopefully the city council will overturn this soon, but I see they are waiting until after the election so they won’t make him look bad-chickensh*ts).

Let’s face it. Rex is NOT fiscally responsible, he is NOT ethical, he does NOT believe in government transparency and he is willing to throw anyone under the bus he doesn’t agree with.

There is whole host of other things I could say about this VOID of leadership, but I won’t. I will leave you with a paragraph from a postcard I also got today from his competitor, Kelly Sullivan;

She pretty much sums up Rex Rolfing and his ilk in one sentence. Living in a bouncy house.

Do as I did as a D13 voter, fill only one box out for the House Race. Kelly Sullivan.