Does no one in state government know how to put on his budget war face?
So imagine you're in charge of the South Dakota State Fair. You've just been told the governor wants to axe all of the Fair's state support, 40% of your budget. Just a few months ago, you were making the case that your event requires permanent legislative funding. As the head of this specific program, what's your proper response?
Fight like hell, right? Tell the Legislature the Fair will die without state support, right?
Evidently not if you are Agriculture Secretary Bill Even. Instead of staking out a negotiating position from which he might be able to win back some portion of the $800K the governor wanted to give him last December, Secretary Even has said the Fair will go on, even without a penny of state subsidy.
Bill Even just acted like a novice debate team that hears the Affirmative plan, takes the podium, and says, "O.K. We've got nothing. Do the plan, nothing bad will happen."
Life is not a debate round, but I see nothing wrong with the man in charge of the State Fair taking a bit more aggressive role in being the chief defender of his program. Even though I'd vote to cut the subsidy (remember: other state fairs get along fine without taxpayer support), I still want to hear someone make the opposing case so everyone can weigh the pros and cons in full and make an informed decision.
But if even Secretary Even agrees that the subsidy isn't necessary, well, he's saved us some work. The state just saved $800K. Next issue.
Update: Oops! Looks like not everyone in the Ag Department is on the same page. Deputy Ag Secretary George Williams tells that Sioux Falls paper, "If the full amount of the funding that was proposed was removed from the fair, the operational dollars would not be there to host a fair - at least similar to anything we've seen.... It would be pretty difficult to host any kind of fair." And don't get Ron Volesky started!
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