Entries Tagged 'State Funding' ↓

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

Weekly Tidbits

CORY & SD VOICE WILL WIN THEIR CASE

Let’s just chalk it up to another failure in state government;

To refresh your memories, I am challenging two main points of state petition law: first, 2019 House Bill 1094, Rep. Jon Hansen’s (R-25/Dell Rapids) circulator badge and registry scheme now mostly encapsulated in SDCL 2-1-1.3–2.1.1.9, and the state’s requirement that initiative petitions be submitted a full year before the election at which you would get to vote on them.

There are so many constitutional issues with the legislation, I don’t even know where to start. If I had to make a bet on this, I would put $1K down in the first Aberdeen telephone booth video lottery casino I could find that they will win, and win huge.

I sometimes wonder if SD State Legislators take there pocket US Constitutions (if they have ever had one) and burn it before the first day of session.

MINNEHAHA COUNTY COMMISSION SAYS ONE EMT IS A-OK

I still have not figured out why they decided to go for this in the biggest county in the state;

AMBULANCE ORDINANCE HEARING
Mr. Gearman gave a briefing on the proposed amendments as follows: Article 2, Section 6 updating language to align with South Dakota law and administrative rule; Article 6 to remove the requirement of consent and a written agreement between two licensees for special events; and Article 14 updating language to align with South Dakota law and administrative rule regarding minimum personnel requirements Other minor changes were made for the purposes of consistency and formatting. Speaking in favor of the amendments, Dr. Jeff Luther, Rural Ambulance Quality Assurance Director, explained that he believes reducing the requirement from two emergency medical technicians (EMT) to one EMT would not cause a decrease in quality. Tim Haight, 3403 W 93rd Street, Sioux Falls, inquired about the proposed amendment to Article 6. Maggie Gillespie, Senior Deputy State’s Attorney, responded to Mr. Haight’s question explaining that he would need to contact his own legal counsel if he had legal questions, and that the change to Article 6 only removes the requirement to obtain consent from the existing service area ambulance service for a special event. Jay Masur, 25968 476th Ave, Sioux Falls, Med-Star Paramedic Ambulance President & CEO, spoke in opposition to lowering the number of EMTs. Dr. Luther responded to the concerns brought forward by Mr. Masur explaining that smaller ambulance services struggle to find enough people to serve. Therefore, the requirement of two EMTs made it hard to operate. Additionally, many Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Deputies are trained EMTs with impressive response times. Mr. Gearman explained that the ordinance is a minimum standard. Ambulance services may choose to set their standards at any level they want as long as the minimum is met. MOTION by Karsky, seconded by Barth, to approve Ordinance MC31-6-19, the 2019 Ground Ambulance Licensing Ordinance. By roll call vote: 5 ayes. The entire Ordinance is on file and available for inspection at the County Auditor’s Office.

I think it is a cost saving measure for the for profit ambulance services. It will be interesting to see how staffing changes.

SOUTH DAKOTA DEMOCRATIC PARTY FINALLY GETS THEIR SH*T TOGETHER

So this was pretty cool;

The state party’s Central Committee elected Randy Seiler to serve as the chair on Saturday, according to a party announcement. Seiler, the party’s vice chair, has been serving as the interim chair since Paula Hawks resigned as chair in September. SDDP Executive Director Stacey Burnette jointly resigned with Hawks.

Isn’t it crazy that stuff is not so bad with the Dem party in SD?  I kind of wonder what kind of BS has been concocted over the past couple of years. I hope in the name of transparency the party tells us what has been going on and how they are going to fix it. This could be a great moment for them rooting out the corruption. As an Indy, I have never liked the party system. It just seems like a system that needs to go away and make government on all levels non-partisan. I had a friend tell me once that he doesn’t belong to ‘clubs’ because they seem to ‘clubby’ with lots of rules and other stupid crap. It always made me laugh, because I agree.

CITY SHUTS OFF EMERGENCY SIRENS FOR THE WINTER

I just think this is weird. Why wouldn’t you want to make sure they work all year long? There are other ‘disasters’ you might want to warn citizens about in the winter besides tornados. I almost wonder if this has to do with the embarrassment of the tornado warning system failing this summer and they are trying to minimize the failure. Hey, McFly, that is over and done with, time to move on and make sure they work moving forward. Don’t people learn from their mistakes anymore?

WHO IS BEHIND THE STACE NELSON CASE

The rumor mill has been on full cycle that the SD GOP is behind going after Nelson about blocking people of FB. They have been wanting to get Stace for his big mouth for years, and I think they want to bury him with this Federal case. I think it is funny how the SD GOP is concerned about the 1st Amendment when they want to hurt someone, but the rest of the time they are the most secretive party of all time. And corrupt. If you want to apply these rules to Nelson, which I think that is a good thing, you also have to follow them to. So if you want to make sure politicians are not blocking people on FB, maybe in the next session you should pass sweeping open meeting transparency laws . . . wait, maybe that is why Stace in trouble, he told us about the warts of the GOP.

Half-Penny Sales tax increase was a bad idea from the get go

Noem keeps up with the tradition of past Republican Governors in our state, telling us how poor we are right before the legislative session, then once it is over they start spending money on pet projects (mostly corporate handouts). Oldest trick in the book. This even comes after added revenue from online sales and the half penny increase;

Noem announced her budget plans Tuesday, which urged state departments to tighten their belts as they head into a difficult financial year. That plan included not having any discretionary inflation increases for overall K-12 education, Medicaid providers and state employees.

But that means there will be no change between target teacher salaries from 2020 to 2021, making it the third year the state has fallen behind on its promise to keep teacher pay competitive if the budget passes

I said it was a bad idea to raise taxes because I knew this would happen, the money went straight into the general fund for the Governor and legislature to waste. Even after several years, it still makes me livid that the legislature didn’t find the money elsewhere (that they have in investment funds) to pay teachers more. Now we are back to square one, and an unneeded tax increase to boot. Don’t get me started. Our State government has been inept for decades, and gets worse by the day.

The Myth about State Vendors

Believe it or not, not all services the state requires can be accomplished by private businesses located in our state. I know that may come as a shock to you, but that is just the way it is. Even if the state is purchasing a product or service from a state owned business, there is usually no requirements that business has to purchase other materials needed to complete the project in state. Just like private business, the state has to use the best resources available at the most reasonable price.

You may disagree with the state using a Minnesota firm for their idiotic meth campaign, but it likely went through proper channels. I have worked in printing for over 25 years, and the government, whether that is Federal, State or even local (like county, school and city) buys mountains of products out of state. I have bid on and won jobs from Minnesota, California, Colorado, Florida, Missouri, New York, and many more out of state agencies and cities including Portland and San Francisco. Even state private non-profit agencies like the Chamber and other trade organizations buy products from out of state.

While it is disheartening to many people, this ‘national’ commerce actually saves taxpayers money (or it should) because you are getting the best product for it’s value in a timely manner. That is NOT always the case (like the meth campaign), but most of the time. Simply saying we have to use a local firm could end up costing us a lot more in the end. Look at the administration building and Midco aquatic center, very expensive and both with issues, we used local contractors.

Just Sayin’

While most South Dakotans barely scrape by, $355 Billion sits here in tax free trust havens

How much is $355 Billion? It is 710 times the City of Sioux Falls yearly budget. Yeah, it’s a lot of dough, and most South Dakotans don’t have a clue our legislators are allowing this while our benefit to the state coffers is virtually ZERO;

In recent years, countries outside the US have been cracking down on offshore wealth. But according to an official in a traditional tax haven, who has watched as wealth has fled that country’s coffers for the US, the protections offered by states such as South Dakota are undermining global attempts to control tax dodging, kleptocracy and money-laundering. “One of the core issues in fighting a guerrilla war is that if the guerrillas have a safe harbour, you can’t win,” the official told me. “Well, the US is giving financial criminals a safe harbour, and a really effective safe harbour – far more effective than anything they ever had in Jersey or the Bahamas or wherever.”

That means legislators are nodding through bills that they do not understand, at the behest of an industry that is sucking in ever-greater volumes of money from all over the world. If this was happening on a Caribbean island, or a European micro-principality, it would not be surprising, but this is the US. Aren’t ordinary South Dakotans concerned about what their state is enabling?

“The voters don’t have a clue what this means. They’ve never seen a feudal society, they don’t have a clue what they’re enabling,” Wismer said. “I don’t think there are 100 people in this state who understand the ramifications of what we’ve done.”

That’s what we get with ONE party rule in South Dakota (and it doesn’t even matter which party). If we could even implement a teeny-tiny tax on this wealth, it would help us out tremendously in education, road funding and healthcare as well as many other things. We could eliminate video lottery, the food tax, reduce property taxes and help address our drug crisis in the state. But we continue to elect the greedy and the stupid (who are one in the same).

Egyptian Delegation Press Conference

Isn’t it amazing what ONE Democratic Legislator can accomplish.

Sioux Falls City Council does not need to raise property taxes

Besides the fact that the county and school district are going opt-out crazy (even though the SFSD has a $11 Billion in valuations and we are looking at another record year in building permits) the city council gets to vote on property tax increases at the end of September (historically).  The state allows between 2%-3%. Last year the council voted 7-1 to increase it by 2.1% (Stehly was the lone NO vote).

Yesterday during the city council meeting, councilor Pat Starr pointed out that while the city only needs a 25% reserve fund they have around 38%.

There really is NO viable reason the city needs to vote for this increase. It will be interesting to see how the city council votes on this increase since I can’t remember the last time it has ever been voted down. I think it has passed every single year for at least the last decade.

We all know that the RS5 rarely votes for the citizens, so it will be fun to listen to their reasons why they need to vote for this unneeded increase. I have often argued with record growth in our city (and valuations) we shouldn’t have to increase the percentage the city taxes.