Entries Tagged 'Heidepriem' ↓

We have nine state airplanes because?

Casino boss buddies Heidepreim and Abdallah are finally offering some sensible legislation;

“With the budget crunch and economy, why do we need (nine)?” he asked. “If everybody has to tighten their belt, we should get rid of our air force.”

The state owns nine planes and one helicopter.

But as usual a state bureaucrat comes to the State’s (Rounds) defense.

Larry Nelson, state Aeronautics Commission chairman from Rapid City, disagreed with the senators’ proposal, saying various departments pay to use DOT planes.

“We have good planes now in the fleet. We have good, safe planes,” Nelson said. “The department is self-sufficient.”

How is a airplane fleet self-sufficient? Does it run on the bullshit coming from your mouth?

Joe Kafka, press secretary for Gov. Mike Rounds, declined to comment Wednesday night.

Surprise! Surprise!

Maybe Heidepreim should propose this to tie in with the Casino legislation – betcha he could get Jerstad to co-sponsor

SD Legislators really need to grow a brain

It’s Alive! More stupid legislation.

My favorite (and only qualified journalist in Sioux Falls) Ellis wrote an article today about a new brainchild(?) legislators Heidepreim and Abdallah are cooking up. They want to change the state constitution so we can become (more dependent) on gambling.

Faced with the threat of a large-scale casino resort opening just across the Iowa border, two Sioux Falls lawmakers are proposing a simple but controversial solution: Clear the way for a casino of our own.

A Las Vegas-style gaming casino in or near Sioux Falls would stymie a similar development in nearby Larchwood, Iowa, that officials long have feared will take money out of South Dakota’s pockets.

But the proposal first must overcome a series of obstacles, including a change to the South Dakota Constitution.

Though I do understand their revenue concerns, changing the state constitution to allow more harmful social ills is the wrong move.

Sioux Falls lawyer Brian J. Bauer said he suggested an effort be made to change the state Constitution, an idea that Heidepriem agreed with. Bauer said he doesn’t want to see the Sioux Falls economy hurt by a resort in Iowa.

Study, after study has proven gambling costs taxpayers more than we gain from it, in criminal and social costs. But hey, look who is proposing the change – lawyers – go figure, the very people who suck from the criminal sow’s tit. I’m sure video lottery laoyyists had a hand in this to. This isn’t about keeping the state’s $111 million dollar cut, it’s about keeping their cut, even though, they would like you to think differently though;

He proposes that revenues from the facility be put in a “lockbox” to be used specifically for education.

LMFAO! Lockbox, smockbox. They use this bullshit argument everytime and it is starting to get old. can’t they get more creative and say the money will be used to buy Hoverounds for all Senior citizens that can’t afford them or FREE icecream for kids under six on Sundays?! Cut the crap!

If approved, it could open the door for a significant expansion of gaming in South Dakota.

Bauer realizes the proposal is likely to draw fire.

“Bottom line is, it’s coming to this region anyway,” he said. “You might as well have it on the South Dakota side rather than the Iowa side of the border.”

Enough already. Instead of expanding gaming, start taxing people based on their income, that’s a no-brainer of a plan I would be willing to put a bet on.

SD education funding three ring circus

Once again Mike Rounds refuses to cut his do nothing-big government programs in Pierre to help fund education;

Democrats have said they want to cut elsewhere in state government to find money for aid to schools. Senate Democratic Leader Scott Heidepriem of Sioux Falls said state government in previous years has forced agencies to cut spending by a certain percentage, and that approach could work again.

“It’s so simple it’s amazing to me,” Heidepriem said, adding that he doesn’t believe the Republican governor is willing to control the size of state government.

It doesn’t surprise me one bit. Even when the economy was good, Rounds refused to properly fund education, now he has an excuse and he is going to run with it.

While more than 90 percent of Democrats said they wanted to boost state aid to schools by more than the 3 percent recommended by Rounds, only about a quarter of Republicans said they believed state aid should increase by more than that.

Even if the legislature gets a super-majority to be veto proof on an education bill (which I don’t see) Rounds will still find a way to overstep the legislators, just like he did with the blender pump tax and laptops (how did that work out for yah, Mike). He simply doesn’t like to be told what to do. This will be a true test for the legislators. Will the typical Republican cheerleaders like Krebs cave to their favorite state Republican? Will the Dems do more then mouth off to the media and internets about how much of a brat Mike is? (seriously, that’s my job, not yours.)

It’s time to show Rounds that he has been extremely ineffective as a governor and quite possibly, unethical (another thing legislators are too chicken-shit to do something about).

POVERTY HAS AN EFFECT ON EDUCATION FUNDING

One has to wonder though, maybe education funding is sufficient in South Dakota. Student test scores are always pretty decent, but high school dropout rates are high. One reason may be the growing problem of poverty in our state.

A couple weeks back a SF School district representative gave a presentation to the city council about poverty in Sioux Falls. Some scary stuff, here are a few highlights.

– 40% of caucasion children in the SF school district are on FREE or reduced lunches, and that number is as high as 75% in minority community.

– Supt. Dr. Homan doesn’t like to have late starts with bad weather because she wants to make sure these kids get something to eat for breakfast.

Some of the other numbers are hard to swallow to. A lot of these kids also have little winter clothing to wear, and often go hungry on the weekends. The amazing part about it is, it is not discussed much by our local or statewide politicians, it is kind of a ‘silent problem’. After the presentation, one councilor even had this to say, “Thank you for the presentation, but what is this council supposed to do with this information?” And maybe this is the problem. I think politicians think if at least 51% of people in the community are doing OKAY, we can ignore the minority. I find it ironic that Sioux Falls spends more per year on mowing an acre of parkland then they do educating a child. Who knew grass was more important than a decent education? Nice priorities, Huh? I also wonder how much money in education funding is going towards feeding, counseling and healthcare for some of these kids? Something that parents should be responsible for, that is, if they can afford it. The problem isn’t just funding education properly, it is also about creating a business atmosphere in SD that creates more living wage jobs. Government can’t create higher paying jobs, but they can help attract those kinds of businesses. Just imagine if we spent half the money we do on tourism for business development, what kind of impact that would have on the state? (of course than Lawrence and Schiller would have to go out and find real clients).

It’s time for our legislators (it’s too late for the governor) to realize the root problem of education funding – Poverty and low wages.

Competitive Bidding could save SD taxpayers millions, but how could King Rounds pay back his campaign contributors?

Woster writes an article on competitive bids;

South Dakota’s state government has hundreds of active contracts worth millions of dollars for professional services ranging from legal work to health care to advertising, and most are provided by private sector businesses and individuals who are awarded the jobs without going through a competitive bid process.

There are 1,800 of these contracts currently active and on file with the South Dakota auditor. But nobody — including Gov. Mike Rounds, his budget director Jason Dilges or contract manager Rob Swanson in the auditor’s office — knows exactly how many of the 1,800 were awarded without bids or competitive proposal.

Mike just can’t figure out where we could make cuts in the state budget?

“I think it’s very important that we learn the nature of all these contracts,” Senate Democratic leader Scott Heidepriem of Sioux Falls said. “The taxpayers have a right to know how their dollars are spent. If there’s a good reason to avoid requests for competitive proposals, then say so. Then the taxpayers will either agree with you, or they won’t.”

I think it’s time Scott and other Democrats and Republicans who actually care how our tax money is being spent give Mike a good thumping and don’t let him spin them in a corner.

“Look, it’s your money,” said Jay Stewart, executive director of the Chicago-based Better Government Association. “If they don’t know how it’s being spent, does that give you confidence? At a bare minimum, it’s reasonable to expect our public servants to know where the money went.”

Mike knows exactly where it went – scratching backs.

Gosh, this is just way too secretive,” Heidepriem said. “It’s clearly simpler for the governor’s office to operate that way, and it allows them to favor who they want with taxpayers’ dollars.”

I truly believe that Scott wants to fix the system – but we had known for years how Rounds operates his office, in a cloak of secrecy. I think it has gotten so bad that the only solution is impeachment. You can slap his hands with a ruler all you want, but once a spoiled brat – always a spoiled brat.

Woster also touches on the ‘amazing job’ Louser and Shister does for the SD tourism department;

The 32-year-old agency currently holds exclusive contracts with the South Dakota Department of Tourism and State Development worth more than $7 million. And since Gov. Mike Rounds took office in January of 2003, Lawrence & Schiller has been awarded more than $23 million in state contracts, most with tourism, and virtually all without competitive bids or alternative proposals from other firms.

During that time, Rounds received thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from Lawrence & Schiller officials, something that critics say poses ethical issues that need to be addressed in state law.

I would hope pay-to-play is not taking place here,” said state government reform activist Lee Breard of Pierre. “But I will let the taxpayers of South Dakota draw their own conclusions.”

Nah . . . Mike would never ‘repay’ his campaign contributors, that is above him to use state resources for his own benefit (choke, cough, spit). All aboard Rounds Airlines!

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.

Q & A with District 13 Senator Scott Heidepriem

I feel if government uses common sense in solving problems they often are solved faster and correctly. Are there any common sense solutions to big problems facing the legislative session this year.

I agree with your premise.  To me, using common sense is the same as street sense, it is what we all possess.  Unfortunately, when some folks get to Pierre they see their role as a partisan in a political process.  That means leaving your street sense behind, and pretending to be like the folks in Washington.  That is unfortunate…there are plenty of opportunities to disagree, what we need to focus on are the opportunities to agree.  My view of the legislative process is probably a little different: I don’t care what party you are a member of, if you have demonstrated that you are trustworthy, and that your heart is in the right place, and you feel passionately about a subject on which I am otherwise indifferent, I will be inclined to support your efforts.  The only way progress occurs is when people put aside petty bickering and look for common ground.

What is your number one priority in this year’s legislative session?

The highest priority this session has got to be education funding.  Before April 10, 2001, SD was last in teacher pay, last in state effort to fund K-12 education, etc.  Then the people went to the polls on that date and approved the Education Enhancement Trust Fund, which now holds nearly $400 million available to revolutionize our education system.  But guess what?  We are still last in teacher pay and state effort to fund K-12.  The only difference is that we now have $400 million in the bank to do something about it.  We simply lack the political will to take the resources and apply them to the problem.

If you become the senate majority leader this year it will obviously give you more leverage in brokering deals with the governor. Do you think he’ll work with you easily or do you think it is going to be an uphill battle? Perhaps a cage match will be in order?

Finally, you mention my being majority leader.  I don’t know that we will take the majority, though I hope so, but I also have to tell you that there are many members of the Democratic caucus who would be exceptional leaders.  No one is indispensable to this process.

I think many citizens of South Dakota were confused about the ethanol blender tax that Governor Rounds proposed. I’m not going to ask you to explain the details of the tax, but I want your view on the issue and what you would have done differently if you were in Mike’s shoes?

The Governor asked the legislature last session to change the law to allow him to charge a tax based on the blend of ethanol.  As things stand now, the blender gets the benefit of the E-85 rate as a part of the blend.  The legislature said “no”.  The Governor said “ok, I’ll do it anyway”.  And that is what he did.  This is one of those areas where I really don’t understand Mike.  The amount of revenue was much less significant than the precedent he has set and reinforced in terms of his relationship with the legislature.

Recently Governor Rounds introduced the open government website, something he vetoed in the last legislative session. Do you think he did this as a ploy to minimize the importance of passing Measure 10? Or do you really believe he supports open government? It just seems to me it was a political move, especially from one of our most secretive governors in the country. Your thoughts?

I won’t doubt the Governor’s motives in the new website, I am just glad to see him do it.  It is clearly a small step in the right direction, and we have to build from there.  Senator Turbak-Berry’s bill from last year provides the best blue print for open government.

Why did you switch your party affiliation? Did you feel sorry for the Democrats in South Dakota?

I changed parties because I felt the GOP, and the right wing, had become indistinguishable. I knew what they were against, I just wasn’t sure what they were for.  That is not to say that the Democratic Party is a model of clarity…it is a party, especially in our state, where the agenda is evolving, and is open to new ideas.  The GOP, in my view, gets more and more closed as time goes by.  I did not like the litmus tests the Republicans applied on social issues and I did not like the attacks on the civil justice system that came mostly from Washington.

Do you think that the rest of the state especially West River think people in Sioux Falls are uppity? What do you see and hear in Pierre? Does Sioux Falls have too much clout in Pierre or do you think we are treated equally? Do you just think they are jealous that we have one the few original duplicates of the Statue of David?

I spent most of my life in Miller, having been born and raised there, educated at USD, then back to Miller to practice law with my Dad for 12 years.  Anyone who knows me knows that I loved my time there.  I honestly do not think folks in towns like Miller think of Sioux Falls people as uppity.  People throughout South Dakota are proud of the progress Sioux Falls has made, and frankly feel like part of the credit is theirs.  The legislature will change profoundly, in my opinion, after the 2010 census.  The folks taking the oath in January of 2013 will be the first urban-dominated legislature in South Dakota’s history.

I find it ironic that Governor Rounds continues to oppose funding education properly but ‘found’ money for the laptop program because he said it was ‘important’. Do you think this was about the ‘kids’ or about making sure a state contract continues with the laptop’s servicer?

Your point about laptops confirms Mike’s view of the legislature, similar to the Blender Pump Tax.  If we don’t conform to his agenda, he simply goes around us.  I do believe the Republicans’ appetite for simply complying with the Governor will be lessened as Governor Rounds enters a lame dock period.

If the abortion ban passes do you think there will be an effort by the more conservative legislators, like Roger Hunt, to strip the exceptions from the law in the legislative session?

I don’t know if Roger will try to strip out the exceptions.

Though I disagree with Senator Gene Abdallah 99.9% of time I did agree that public safety (highway patrol) should be properly funded. Why weren’t Republican lawmakers able to work with the governor on the shortfall of that funding? What happened? What’s your solution? Will we have to read more silly quotes from Gene in the newspaper?

I agreed with Gene completely.

I would also like to remind any other candidates (from any party) running for state office to contact me and I will send you the same list of questions I sent Scott.

Challenge Met – Scott stopped by

I would like to thank Scott for stopping by and talking with me and he did clarify that he does not wear Italian Loafers – Ha, Ha! We had a good talk and Scott seemed confident that the Dems will have the majority in the State Senate this year – good news, lets keep our fingers crossed!

I will also give him credit because it is hard to find my house, ask any of my friends. I live on a street that is only 4 blocks long and dead end on either side so it’s not easy to find.

I applauded Scott for meeting with a political satirist blogger, I think I said “Most politicians are afraid of me, just ask the mayor.”

Bravo.