There have been significant concerns and questions expressed by voters in our district, by other legislators, and even KELO’s Angela Kennecke in a news story, regarding our district Rep. Kyle Schoenfish’s reported involvement in the auditing of certain entities at the center of this scandal. On Jan. 31, I officially forwarded those questions to Rep. Schoenfish. He responded on Feb. 4 stating the questions were “..fairly easy to address.” Despite that statement, to date he has refused to provide answers to those questions asked by Kennecke and others. Additionally, Rep. Schoenfish failed to show up for two of our district’s five cracker barrels (legislative forums), one in Corsica on Feb. 16, and the other in his hometown of Scotland on March 11. He now claims repeatedly in his articles to our local papers that he has been “attacked” by “dishonest politicians and people” and claims to be a victim of “meritless political attacks.”
Rep. Schoenfish is being “attacked” by his own record and the ugly appearance that comes from avoiding answering questions that the public has a right to have answered. In regards to his missing or avoiding cracker barrels, if I as a husband, daddy, grandfather, small Sioux Falls business manager, hobby farmer and busted-up old Marine can make time to meet my obligations and drive several hours to attend the voters’ cracker barrels to be answerable to you, I expect a young, single man living at home and working for his father to make time for the responsibilities he knowingly signed on to (and got paid for), or to resign if he is unwilling to do so.
As I have said, it is purely ignorant to raise regressive sales taxes for teacher pay when the money is already there (heck, probably sitting in reserves). This is about presenting intelligent plans to raise teacher pay, not knee jerk reactions. People want this increase SO bad, they are willing to fall back on fiscally irresponsible and ignorant taxation plans to get it. That my friends is called GREED.
They went on to pass it anyone. And guess what, they could not have done it without the help of the Democratic legislators (and as Pam Nelson has pointed out, maybe a reason why they failed so bad this past election season). The worst part about it is they had a better plan, but didn’t present it, instead they went along with the Republican Governor’s plan, and guess where that got us? Exactly where I knew this would end up!
The House of Representatives on Tuesday night approved Senate Bill 35, which strikes the specifications for how the half-cent sales tax are used. Appropriators on Wednesday morning said that given the strained state economy and lower than expected revenues, education funding would remain flat.
Only one year later and the Governor (who cooked up the sales tax increase to begin with) already wants to rob the pot. ONLY ONE YEAR LATER! And once it happens, there is NO going back. The tax will NEVER be repealed and the teachers will never fully receive the money.
Some accuse me of being too cynical. But it is my cynism that sees this crap a mile away. When crooks are in power for the past 40 years, you don’t just wake up one morning in 2016 and say, “Let’s trust them this time, it’s for the teachers.”
Can you hear that sound . . . it gets louder the closer you are to Pierre.
I was going to do a couple of full-fledged posts on these two issues, but with the nice weather and all, I really don’t want to waste too much time farting around blogging.
Mark ‘Gigantic, Enormous, Forked Tongue, Hypocrite’ Mickelson
Last week, State Legislator and I think the head dude in Pierre, Mark Mickelson wrote a guest column in the AL decrying all the dark money coming in the state for initiatives. Call a whaaabulance Mark. He then began to chastise the groups and voters for not being aware of such darkness. Not once did he mention all the out-of-state donations the SD GOP has received over the years to fund state legislative candidates. Actually, just a few years ago when Jason Gant was tasked with those efforts, he dispersed over $90K to legislative candidates all over the state.
I’m sure Mark’s next letter will be about all the dark out-of-state money Kristi Noem received while serving in Congress that she has now swiftly moved to her governor’s campaign fund (over $1 million). Hypocrisy at it’s finest, and dark on both sides. Why shouldn’t we elect his wife to the SF School Board?
Sept. 23 – South Dakota’s tactic of stopping Canadian trucks to protest what it sees as unfair trade practices with Canada is spreading to other states.
A week ago, South Dakota Gov. Bill Janklow ordered state troopers to stop and inspect shipments of Canadian grain and livestock coming into the state. The action was intended to send a message urging U.S. officials to ensure fair trade between the two countries. Several trucks were turned away at the state’s borders for not having paperwork required by the state.
It seems Dennis not only has a short memory, but a tinge of hypocrisy when it comes to protest rules. Or maybe he is just taking a page from his dear old buddy Uncle Bill? Now that I think about it, it is too bad we didn’t block Janklow from driving on the roads in SD, probably be a lot more people alive today.
We’ve talked about Mr. Schoenfish in the past, he has been the mayor’s favorite nephew for quite awhile. Kyle received campaign donations from Uncle Mike when he first ran for the legislature as a Democrat, and after losing that race, he realized putting an ‘R’ behind his name was the winning ticket, Uncle High Crimes slipped him some more money that time to. Ironically, Mike left the Democratic party to, it’s a family thing I guess, when the going gets tough . . . the tough switches parties. I wonder if the ‘R’ behind Kyle’s name will be enough to save him this time?
The Co-op, which is now defunct, is pointing fingers at its accounting firm which performed yearly audits for more than a decade.
It’s the accounting firm of a current lawmaker, Kyle Schoenfish. Schoenfish is a Republican representative from Scotland, SD.
It is also no secret that Kyle has been looked at from the beginning on the Gear Up investigation;
We looked at Schoenfish’s audit report on Mid Central from July of 2013 to 2014, right before the South Dakota Legislative audit found problems with GEAR UP.
Schoenfish said, “We identified certain deficiencies in internal control that we consider to be material weaknesses. It did find that over an eight year period “errors and omissions were noted in the annual finance statements prepared by cooperative officials.” Mid Central promised to be more “accurate and complete” when preparing financial statements.
KELOLAND News tried to reach Kyle Schoenfish Tuesday for comment. We’ll let you know when we hear back from him.
This isn’t the first time the accounting firm of Schoenfish & Company has been under scrutiny over not catching the misuse of GEAR UP funds.
An independent group of citizens has prepared a list of ten questions it would like lawmaker Kyle Schoenfish to answer and has submitted them to the South Dakota Auditor General.
They specifically ask about discrepancies in Mid Central’s balances and if Schoenfish ever reported them to anyone outside of Mid Central. We’ve posted those ten questions online on this story if you’d like to read them.
Maybe Stormland should be calling MMM, see what he knows? Too bad you couldn’t keep those audits secret like the Events Center siding settlement. I wonder if Uncle Hubris will come to the rescue of his favorite nephew if he is charged and faces jail time? Get Fiddle Faddle on it!
We have a foreign exchange student staying with us from Venezuela. Recently, her class went to Pierre to see democracy in action. She came home stunned.
The students were to listen and take notes on debates about issues they had studied including Initiated Measure 22. The Majority Whip, called to speak several times, was absent. He wandered in with a “huge” burger, then visited with friends during testimony. When votes were called, my friend observed that all the lawmakers she could see were on social media. Several looked around and voted the way their peers voted.
“I don’t think they even knew which bill they were voting on. I don’t think they cared!” She shook a paper at me. “Look,” she said, pointing at a paragraph. “It says, carefully … lawmakers will carefully consider all the information and then vote.”
Later, the class went to committee to witness citizens give testimony. “They were so rude!” my friend exclaimed. “They could have at least said, ‘Thank you for coming.’ They didn’t even pretend to listen.” A final insult, “They didn’t even take notes. What are they doing?”
It’s time for us voters to lay some tile in Pierre.
No surprise, every year this comes up, and every year their desire to stick it to the poor (and frankly anyone who eats food) is maintained;
The House Taxation Committee voted 11-3 Tuesday to defeat the bill. It would have increased the state’s 4.5 percent sales tax rate on other goods and services to remove the tax on food for home consumption.
Long a popular idea among Democratic lawmakers, such food sales tax bills have failed in the past. Democratic Rep. Ray Ring, the bill’s main sponsor, says the measure would help make South Dakota’s tax structure less regressive.
Business organizations, Republican lawmakers and the executive branch opposed the bill.
It is estimated that those on the lowest level of the income bracket in our state pay between 16- 20% of their income towards taxes, and the working class isn’t much better.
I’m against sales taxes to begin with, a horrible and regressive way to fund government, but taxing food and exempting stuff like advertising makes no sense at all. If we are going to tax food at the full 4.5% state tax rate, we should tax EVERYTHING at that rate, no exemptions.
The SD GOP proves once again what they think about the working stiffs of this state, you are dirt, oh, and please stop voting for measures that make us do our job ethically.
Look for the pauses, blank looks, dumb stares and empty comments at the first 2017 Legislative Coffee in Sioux Falls on February 4 at the Ramada Inn. Wow, some of the answers to good questions were less than stellar. Granted it was less than 24 hours since the close of bill submission but why does everyone have to go to their computers to even know what had been submitted?
The next coffee is in one week, let’s see how quick the next group is when answering questions. This Sioux Falls area group hails from Districts 6, 9 and 11, all Republicans.
District 6 attendees: Isaac Latterell, Herman Otten, Ernie Otten
District 9 attendees: Michael Clark, Wayne Steinhauer
District 11 attendees: Chris Karr, Jim Stalzer, Mark Willadsen
Oh Isaak says some funny things sometimes or is it always? We were looking forward to a boring SD Legislative cracker barrel to finish up when we finally got our morsel of funny. Rep Isaac Latterell didn’t disappoint us. The end is always near when a starry-eyed follower of something decides to drive home a point about non-believers.
IM22 and the ethics of South Dakota are a hot topic this year. Somehow the legislative players are always right and never hoodwinked by power players, only the majority of South Dakota voters. In 2016 an out of state ethics group with an idea decided to follow the example of other out of state no-ethics groups to bring a measure for us to vote on. South Dakota voters thought about the shenanigans of the powerful and decided IM22 was better than the nothing we had.
Isaac decided to get the crowd going home on a boisterous high by calling out the voters as uneducated? Uninformed? Stupid for using an idea from an east coast group? What about being hoodwink attempt by the Georgia high interest credit group? How about the expensive and worrisome west coast amendment set to destroy our rights called Marsy’s law?
There is a reason South Dakota ranks so low in ethics laws, because of the way Isaac was talking. Oh brother…
Put aside the corruption issue. It’s a matter of good government. And good government is about understanding who the boss is. And the boss is you, the taxpayer.
YOU pay the money that gets secretly negotiated away in these confidential settlements to who knows who for who knows what. It’s YOU, the taxpayer, who pays the salaries of the public officials who negotiated the confidential settlements. They work for YOU, not the other way around. And besides the potential for abuse, confidential settlements also allow government officials to hide their incompetence from you, the employer. What if the government is negligent in some matter? They can hide it from the taxpayer with a confidential settlement.
You can bet that when Jamison’s bill gets its hearing, the defenders of this practice will argue that confidential settlements give local governments leverage to negotiate better deals. That they save taxpayer money.
They can say it all they want. But you know what they can’t do? Prove it.
That has been my argument for ages. They tell us it must be secret, but they can’t tell us why. Because if they did, a lot of them would be in jail.
The son of a man charged with making a terrorist threat at an anti-Islam event earlier this month says he and his father have lost everything over charges that amount to political fearmongering by a gubernatorial candidate.
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