Entries Tagged 'State Funding' ↓

South Dakota Trust Companies don’t benefit us One Iota

With the story about Pandora Papers coming out yesterday, the one thing that has often frustrated me about the trust companies in South Dakota is that having all that money parked here doesn’t benefit the state coffers one bit.

Even if we had a simple state finance charge or a transaction fee that was incredibly tiny, we could rake in millions for education and infrastructure.

The first problem with that is the ones that hold onto the trusts could no longer be secret.

I ask our legislators, why are we allowing them to be here if they serve no public good? You know like PO box RVers, sales tax on food and video lottery.

Nevermind.

South Dakota State Legislature Update

Hello, Advocates, Cathy Brechtelsbauer for the Advocacy Project

   I hope you are all being careful to be/stay well.

   Legislators have begun a 3-day weekend. They’ll be back on Monday.

Weekend advocacy. You can help make contacts on these, or ask about them in emails or at a crackerbarrel. Try to use your own words, or better yet, make up a different question.:

SB 77, SB 86, HJR 5003,  all interfere with citizens’ rights to initiatives.

Question: Isn’t it difficult enough for citizen to exercise our right to initiative and referendum already? Why are legislators trying to add more complications and difficulties?

HB 1126  Says the secretary of state may not mail an application for an absentee ballot unless the voter has requested it. (probably Senate State Affairs)

Question: Shouldn’t the legislature be promoting voting, rather than putting limits on the Secretary of State to use his judgment in assisting voters?

SB24  provides for voter registration online. The current version allows updates, etc, but not actual registration. (probably House State Affairs)

Question: How about putting online voter registration back into the bill that was introduced to allow online voter registration?

HB 1125 takes away discretion of county auditors in conducting vote counting. If so many ballots mean a 2-day count is needed, county auditors should have discretion to call rests if needed. (Senate Local Government)

Question: If your mother were helping out as a ballot counter, should she have to stay up all night?

SB 146 allows eligibility for parole after age 50 for lifers whose crime was committed age 25 or before. (House Judiciary)

Question: Wouldn’t it make sense to allow lifers to at least request parole after age 50, if their crimes were committee over 25 years before?

HB1013  funds the tax refund program for elderly persons and persons with a disability. (in Senate Taxation committee)

Question: Will you support this small tax relief program for these certain extremely poor South Dakotans?

SB 171 needs-based scholarship funds.  (Appropriations)

Question: Do you support putting some more funds into needs-based scholarships?

HB 1194  authorize the review of certain executive orders issued by the President of the United States. (in House State Affairs)

Question: Should states get to ignore Presidential executive orders?

(FYI- These topics are mentioned in the bill: pandemic or other public health emergency, natural resources, agriculture, land use, the financial sector, guns)

Updates:

HB 1136, a proposal to rein counties and municipalities in so they don’t do more to protect public health than the state Department of Health. Happy to report, it failed in committee today   5-7-1, so it’s done.

We can thank these seven No votes:  Deutsch, Miskimins, Perry, St. John, Davis, Rehfeldt,and Keintz

SB 52, Sorry to say, it passed the House floor now, and it’s off to the governor.  Now polluters will get 10-year permits. No reviews at 5-year intervals.   

We can thank these for their opposition: Bordeaux, Cwach, Duba, Fitzgerald, Healy, Keintz, Lesmeister, Mills, Odenbach, Ernie Otten, Pourier, Jamie Smith, St. John,  Stevens

HJR 5003, to ask voters to approve a supermajority requirement for our own initiatives that involve over $10 million. It’s another way they are trying to the thumb on our ability to do initiatives.

Sorry to say, it passed on the House floor. But we can thank these rep’s for their opposition: Bordeaux, Cwach, Derby, Duba, Healy, Keintz, Lesmeister, Olson, Pourier, Reed, Jamie Smith,  Tidemann

Note: This one is not done!  Not scheduled yet, but we can be asking Senate State Affairs committee to Oppose.

2-19-21  AP,  Useful info

Advocates,

Here’s info you can use:

1. Crackerbarrels. The only info I have.

2. Reasoning on HJR 5003. Why ballot votes are different from legislators’ votes

3. Info on Medicaid expansion. A handy reference

4. ACA Insurance sign-up. How you can help. 

Here we go.

1. Crackerbarrels. The only info I have is this, but surely there are more elsewhere.

   SIOUX FALLS

#2: Sat. Feb.20,10:00-11:45am (Districts 10, 12 and 14)

#3: Sat.Feb.27,10:00-11:45am (Districts 11, 15 and 25)

Where: the Hub at Southeast Technical College (2001 N Career Ave). You can watch on Facebook Live through Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page or the Argus Leader’s Facebook page, or through www.argusleader.com . Submit questions to siouxfallslwv@gmail.com  

   DEADWOOD & all LAWRENCE CO : Sat.Feb.20, 10am. Deadwood Mountain Grand, a large space to accommodate social distancing.  For more information, Melissa at the Spearfish Chamber 605-642-2626 or Ingrid at the Deadwood Chamber 605-578-1876.

2.  HJR 5003 attempts to require a supermajority (60%) for ballot initiatives. (Last weekend, I made a mess of trying to explain this. Maybe this helps.)

a. HJR 5003 is a thinly disguised plan to stop many citizen ballot initiatives.

b. Sponsor Rep.Hansen says it fits with SD’s fiscal conservatism. We agree SD is fiscally conservative, and we’re fiscally conservative enough already. In fact, it would be hard to balance the budget these days without certain past statewide ballot votes, such as the state lottery and video lottery, both of which passed with less than 60%.

c. Supporters point to legislators’ 2/3 requirement on certain fiscal matters and say the ballot votes should require a supermajority too. So why not?  [My thanks to Cory Heidelberger for help explaining this.]

   There’s a big difference. In the legislature, deliberation on bills is limited. With only 40 days (or 37 this year), bills can be rushed, even hoghoused near the end. Public scrutiny can be avoided is multiple ways. The 2/3 threshold may prevent ill-advised bills from rushing through.

    But citizen ballot measures have a long process. It starts long before the vote, even 2 years. People are out with petitions for over a year before the vote. Opponents have over a year to campaign against the initiative. Already there are a number of hurdles to overcome – large numbers of signatures, legal scrutiny before and after the election, besides winning a statewide vote. These hurdles are much harder to overcome than a 2/3 vote in the legislature.

    The citizen initiative system has enough guardrails already. We do not need more.

3.  Medicaid expansion. Of course, we should keep asking for it. This legislature could adopt it and it would start this year — much simpler and quicker than a ballot initiative.

Questions for crackerbarrels: When can we get Medicaid expansion? How hard is it to see that SD needs Medicaid expansion now? If we can’t get Medicaid expansion during a pandemic, when can we get it?

Info about Medicaid expansion is one of the sections on BFW-SD’s website: www.BreadSD.org

4. ACA Insurance Sign-Up

The Biden administration has opened up an extra sign-up period, because so many people may have missed the opportunity to get this highly subsidized health coverage. If you can help spread the word, some currently uninsured people might get covered now – this year. (The info is the same for people in most other states.) The income needed to qualify is what’s expected for 2021, so it obviously may take guesswork. My understanding is that reasonable estimates are accepted.

   There’s a section on this at www.BreadSD.org with info and a half-page handout to share. Might your local food pantry share the handout? Can you post it on a public bulletin board? Can you get it to agencies in your town? Thanks for your help.

Thanks for keeping up. The legislature will move very fast now.

South Dakota State Legislature, House Bill 1026; Authorizes the State to build a National Guard Readiness Center in Sioux Falls

What makes this even more odd is that it is declared an Emergency?!
Am I missing something here?!

HB-1018

 Introduced by: The Committee on Appropriations at the request of the Department of the Military Catchlines are not law. (§ 2-16-13.1) Underscores indicate new language. Overstrikes indicate deleted language. 


1 An Act to authorize the construction of a National Guard Readiness Center in Sioux 2 Falls, to make an appropriation therefor, and to declare an emergency. 3 BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA: 4 Section 1. The Department of the Military may contract for the planning, site preparation, 5 construction, furnishing, and equipping of the construction of a National Guard Readiness 6 Center, together with furnishings and equipment, including heating, air conditioning, 7 plumbing, water, sewer, electric facilities, sidewalks, parking, landscaping, architectural and 8 engineering services, and such other services or actions as may be required to accomplish 9 the project, for an estimated cost of twenty million dollars, subject to permitted adjustments 10 pursuant to section 3 of this Act. 11 Section 2. There is hereby appropriated from the general fund the sum of $500,000, and 12 the sum of $1,500,000 in federal fund expenditure authority to the Department of the Military, 13 for purposes of design and construction of a National Guard Readiness Center in Sioux Falls. 14 Section 3. The Department of the Military may adjust the cost estimates to reflect inflation 15 as measured by the Building Cost Index reported by the Engineering News Record, additional 16 expenditures required to comply with regulations adopted after the effective date of this Act, 17 or additional sums received pursuant to section 4 of this Act. However, any adjustments to 18 construction cost estimates for the project may not exceed one hundred twenty-five percent 19 of the estimated project construction cost stated in section 1 of this Act. 20 Section 4. In addition to the amounts appropriated in section 2 of this Act, the Department 21 of the Military may accept and expend for the purpose of this Act any funds obtained from 22 gifts, contributions, or any other source if the acceptance and expenditure is approved in 23 accordance with § 4-8B-10. 21.297.13 2 400 Catchlines are not law. (§ 2-16-13.1) Underscores indicate new language. Overstrikes indicate deleted language. 1 Section 5. The design and construction of this project shall be under the general charge and 2 supervision of the Department of the Military. The adjutant general of the Department of the 3 Military or the state engineer shall approve vouchers and the state auditor shall draw warrants 4 to pay expenditures authorized by this Act. 5 Section 6. Any amounts appropriated in this Act not lawfully expended or obligated shall 6 revert in accordance with the procedures prescribed in chapter 4-8. 7 Section 7. Whereas, this Act is necessary for the support of the state government and its 8 existing public institutions, an emergency is hereby declared to exist, and this Act shall be in 9 full force and effect from and after its passage and approval.  

South Dakota State Legislature could easily meet remotely

Well you know what they say, once an Authoritarian Ignoramus, always an Authoritarian Ignoramus. It seems Steve Haugaard’s Covid death dance wasn’t enough for him to change his mind;

But attending a session remotely would require a change in the rules, something Haugaard doesn’t support.


“Life has risks. I think we need to move forward and get our job done. If you’re expecting entire session to be problematic, you’ve got to consider, do I resign my position and let somebody actually get out there who can fill the role,” Haugaard said.


This has always been my strongest argument against conservatism. It’s not their stone-age views on race, sexuality, women, gun safety laws or abortion it’s their incredible incapability of excepting change, even if that change is easy, doable, economically sound and beneficial. Essentially Steve is saying, “Hey, this is how we have always done things, so tough sh*t, either Linda can show up and face possibly getting a life-threatening virus or resign.”

Sure, as bewildering as Haugaard sounds, trust me, I’m no fan of Linda Duba either. She has tried to pull the puppet strings of the South Dakota Democratic party and has tried some vindictive tricks on members of her own party (I was asked to NOT blog about it -oops, I guess I did anyway). Either way, Duba or any legislator has the right to work from home, because quite honestly, it’s pretty easy to do.

The main argument floating around is that legislators need to be in Pierre to talk to lobbyists. That is the biggest problem with Pierre, the lobbyists. They should be banned from the Capital grounds, in fact the entire city during the legislative session. If the legislators need to talk to them, they can do via Zoom, phone or email. This also includes all the dinners and drinky sessions the lobbyists throw for the legislators. Also, not necessary, and in fact should be in state law that they are banned.

Legislators MAIN engagement should be with constituents, via phone, email, etc. and anybody can testify via zoom or phone during the committee meetings and hearings, even legislators. Sessions and voting should also be no different.

A former legislator admitted to me that being in Pierre is the optimal place to legislate, but it could be done remotely with little inconvenience.

In fact moving forward I think that legislative sessions should be remote (or partially remote). There is no reason for legislators to drive to middle of nowhere in the middle of winter to talk about legislation next to each other in person. It’s actually a very primitive concept considering they don’t really pass anything until the last couple of days of session. We could save taxpayers thousands of dollars NOT paying per diem for travel and lodging. It would also give the opportunity for people to run who are NOT self-employed with more flexibility to serve. You only have to turn on your laptop when it is time to participate in discussion and debate and voting instead blowing 40 full days in the barren land of Pierre.

Like I said above, the more we re-elect and elect conservatives, the farther behind we become as state. Let legislators participate from the safety of their homes and stop acting like a cavemen.

Is Lt. Governor Rhoden getting out of the ranching business?

Don’t quote me on this, it’s what Larry said on a hot microphone to state legislator, Steve Haugaard before Noem’s budget address just moments ago.

I have often warned elected officials across the state and locally to watch what you ramble in proximity of a microphone before a public meeting, it could be recording.

The conversation between Steve and Larry started out dry, literally, Steve asked if he needed to fill a glass of water for Kristi, which made me laugh, because it is further proof that all these guys do is carry water for her 🙂 Larry told Steve not to worry about it because Maggie will take care of it, and as we both know, she carries a lot of water for Kristi in attacking the fake news.

Then after a long uncomfortable period Steve asked Larry what he has been up to? Larry said, “I’m getting out of the ranching business . . . selling my cattle next spring.” Then he talked about his plan to sell the herd to a young rancher who has been “renting grass from him.”

While this probably isn’t earth shaking news, it may explain why Rhoden all of sudden became a full-time employee for Kristi.

Kristi and her ilk have been government welfare recipients for decades, and it seems to continue as governor when Rhoden needs to get out of the ranching business. And why not, it’s a lot more lucrative warming a chair in Pierre on the taxpayer’s dime.

UPDATE: It was also interesting to watch Stormland-TV pan the camera across the floor and focusing on those wearing and not wearing masks. My rough estimate is that about 33% of legislators were wearing masks, and it was a good mix of Republicans and Democrats (NO Democrats were unmasked). What surprised me was there was several Republican legislators from the Sioux Falls area not wearing masks.

South Dakotans knew exactly what they were voting for in Amendment ‘A’

I only got one prediction correct this election season, that Amendment ‘A’ for Recreational Mary would pass with 52-54% of the vote. Before Tuesday many asked me what I based that number on. It was simple. Amendment A has been polling since July at around 51%. I figured since that polling number stayed consistent over that many months it would pass. I added the extra percentage points because some people tend to lie about voting for making drugs legal. I know, weird!

What I want to remind legislators, unlike their argument for repealing IM22, South Dakotans knew what they were voting for with Rec Mary. It is a drug that used to be legal in this country about 80 years ago Federally. It is also a plant that has been used for thousands of years throughout the world. Trust me, when South Dakotans said they want this, they want it, it should not be misconstrued. Every state so far that has moved towards legalization has NOT overturned their position, there is a reason for that.

I have no doubt the Fascist Republican Party that now has an overwhelming majority in the State Legislature will regulate the piss out of it virtually making it unavailable in a dispensary, but the good news is you will still be able to possess it, use it and grow it. I expect the only retail to cash in on legalization will be hardware stores, since many people will be gardening from home.

I think it is foolish for the state or local entities to deny dispensaries because they will be missing out on the sales tax revenue. I also think this will just drive people to buy from the black market (these folks don’t pay taxes).

It is hard to understand how South Dakotans can do something so smart as legalize a pretty harmless drug, but continue to vote for legislators who want to take away our other rights. But if our lawmakers try to F’ck with Amendment ‘A’ like they did with IM22, there will be Hell to pay.

The Legislative Research Council should be rejecting bills before they make it to Committee

At the Legislative Coffee today, Representative Barthel (Former SF Police Chief) said this;

“In spite of what you hear on the news about a lot of the controversial bills, and things that are introduced, frankly a lot that stuff never even makes it the Governor’s desk. But a key part of that is because of the feed back that we get from the constituents and people we work for that’s how a lot of that stuff dies. And sometimes without that input we may not know what the feelings are of the people of the state.”

First off, maybe you would know what people actually want you to do if you hold some coffees, forums and townhalls BEFORE session instead of in the middle of session. Of maybe knocking on doors and talking to constituents face to face in the off season when the weather is nice.

While it is nice to know that Doug actually listens to constituents, these bills should never be written to begin with, and if they are, the LRC should be rejecting them based on the unconstitutional nature of them. Isn’t that their job? To ‘research’ the viability of these bills? To make sure they are ‘legal’?

Secondly to Barthel’s comment, everyday people have to take time out of their busy lives to drive to the barren wasteland of Pierre and testify against these ridiculous bills in committee hearings, wasting valuable time, energy and personal capital. If the legislature and LRC were doing their jobs, these bills wouldn’t see the light of day. So yes Doug, we do criticize the legislature for these moronic proposals, even if some of them are killed.

UPDATE II: The FIX is in on property taxes

UPDATE II: I went and talked to the equalization department today. After reviewing the increase, they explained to me that 90% of the increase is land value, in which is formulated different now. We also calculated that my taxes will probably go up $250 dollars next year, which is NOT $2 a month, just for the record.

UPDATE: I decided to go back and look at the records I could find

From 2008-2009 the value of my home went up 1.8%

From 2009-2012  the value of my home went up 0%

From 2012-2016  the value of my home went up 10% (aprox 2.5% per year)

From 2016-2017  the value of my home went up 1.8%

From 2017-2018  the value of my home went up 1.8%

From 2018-2019  the value of my home went up 2.3%

From 2019-2020  the value of my home went up 21.9%

As I predicted and warned people, the school bond, the new county jail and the multiple TIFs we hand out are going to catch up with us. The $2 a month boloney they pitched us was a farce, because I knew they were going to make hay with the assessments. And sure enough they did.

My increased assessments year after year have been steady, but reasonable. I have owned my home for 17+ years and my property taxes have doubled in that time.

I have done little upgrades to my home, except replacing windows, doors, adding new rain gutters a privacy fence and re-shingling after storm damage. I have done NO upgrades to the interior of my house.

So imagine my surprise when I got this in the mail yesterday;

Well, I was NOT surprised, I saw this coming like a freight train. We can’t keep borrowing money in Sioux Falls and not have a way to pay those bonds, so they bleed it out of us through back door tricks like assessments. Can I afford a 21.9% increase in my assessed value? I suppose, but it also means a lot less money in my pocket.

It was interesting listening to the State Legislators talk yesterday at the legislative coffee about state funding of education. Two Republicans made great points;

• The state gives the districts money and the districts decide how that money is spent (salaries, etc.).

• Administrator pay in SD ranks at 15th while teacher pay is at 49th. I haven’t checked that stat, but I know at one time in was around 22nd. There is a obvious disparity.

• Low voter turnout at school elections. The past school bond and school board elections both had around a 4% turnout. Basically the legislator was saying, if you want to have a say on how your local district is being funded, maybe you should show up and vote in these elections. AMEN Brother! But I also have to add their is voter suppression when you use super precincts, no precincts in the northern part of our city and have district finance department employees ‘hand count’ votes, while the business director puts those counts into the system without oversight.

Who knew that owning a house that was built in 1889 could increase in value by almost 22% in one year? Not bad for a home that is 131 years old. What a joke.

Fuzzy Math on Education?

FF this video to 30:00

After watching this presentation on school funding, I came away even more confused. The comparison to funding on what is spent per student, and showing the average salaries of teachers while avoiding what we pay administrators actually muddies the waters even more. I’m not sure who is showing us the actual numbers – maybe both are wrong.

Maybe some of my readers can make sense of it, because it was all Greek to me.

In a quick search today I found that school principal pay in South Dakota ranks 25th in the nation. Administrators as a whole we rank around 39th (this is support and office staff). They danced around these numbers in the above presentation. I’m not sure why it is so difficult to just show what the SFSD is paying administrators, compare it to statewide statistics and national statistics. It’s similar to when I have tried to find the total SFSD debt. I ran in circles for about an hour and eventually gave up.

On a more positive note, this bill is currently going through the state legislature;

House Bill 1177 moves to the House floor of the South Dakota Legislature today.  

The bill would move school board elections to the November general election ballot.

Finally some common sense in Pierre. I fully support this, and I think municipal elections should also be held at the same time. The biggest beef I have had with school elections is that they seem to be organized around voter suppression. Often held by themselves with questionable super precinct locations and hand counted by district employees. I hope this bill passes.

While funding of education, my ever rising property taxes, the disparity in teacher pay to administrator pay and voter suppression are concerns I have, my biggest concern when it comes to the SFSD is the lack of openness and transparency, it is the core rot that leads to my mistrust of the district.

South Dakota State Legislature Coffee, Feb 8, 2020