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Friday, January 9, 2009

Rounds on SD Budget: Back to Drawing Board

Remember Governor Rounds's December budget proposal for FY2010? Scratch that. SDPB just opened its noon newscast with a report that the governor will be redoing the budget to reflect worse than expected sales tax revenues. December sales tax alone brought in five million dollars less than the $86 million the state was predicting when the governor gave his address at the beginning of the month.

Wow—was Madison the only community in the state that managed to sell more in 2008? Of course, even our bastion of booming business is seeing a China-like slowdown: our 2008 sales tax growth of 9.2% was down from the 12.7% pace we set for the state fiscal year that ended June 30. And check out these growth rates:

Sales Tax Revenue Growth Rates
July–November, 2008
Month Madison South Dakota
Jul 20.2% 8.3%
Aug 37.6% 7.4%
Sep 14.6% 9.6%
Oct 15.1% 9.4%
Nov 17.6% 3.8%
Source: South Dakota Department of Revenue and Regulation

If the state is short on money, you can't blame Madison for not trying. And even the state's growth rate for much of the year, between 7% and 9% doesn't look that bad.

But if we're broke, we're broke. Let's see if Governor Rounds and Senator Knudson are ready to take Senator Heidepriem up on his suggestion to undo some of the growth in state government.


  1. Maybe it's time to bring a Janklow mentality to state government and start across the board cuts to all of the budgets.

    We need our government to start thinking like we used to on the farm: making do with what we have and using a $100 fix to solve a $1000 problem rather than wasting millions studying an idea...again and again and again.

  2. State Government needs to look in their own backyard before asking taxpayers for more fees and higher taxes.

    One small example is the state's move to lighten the Division of Insurance office workload by hiring an outside vendor, Sircon, to handle all license renewals and continuing education credit filings for insurance agents and financial advisors.

    In the past, South Dakota agents filed directly with the DOI in Pierre. Now, all agents are charged higher additional fees for filing their license renewals and CE credits with Sircon, part of a new state-mandated tax to relieve workload at the DOI. Sircon now does the work and the State gets the money.

    The result is much higher costs and absolutely no reduction in staff at the DOI. We have the same number of state employees doing less work and no layoffs or RIF notices to save the taxpayers money.

    Governor Rounds needs to bring in a committee of outsiders to objectively look at how we can eliminate outdated and unnecessary programs, agencies and staffing before taxpayers are tapped further to compensate for unchecked, unbridled State Government growth.

    Governor Rounds, look in the mirror before looking out the window.

  3. Hey Anon 6:36, we could out source everything to India, cut a huge number of state positions by eliminating everything but absolute essential services. That would save some money.

    Maybe we could sell off some of those unnecessary state parks and access areas to developers and then get some much needed tax revenues. Do you realize how much lake lots go for these days? Custer State Park has got to be worth some humungous bucks.

  4. pennypincher1/10/2009 7:51 PM

    I just hope they don't cut back on Winter Maintenance of the roads. I don't know what's going on but HWY 34 has been terrible, and with the accidents on Friday, do I even have to say it? If the state counts on revenues to pay for the budget, people need to be sure they can make it safely to and from work.

  5. I wonder if those big tax collection increases in July and August were the result of the locals shopping locally rather than in Sioux Falls because of the then $4/gal gas. Maybe families were taking a "staycation" at the lake instead of a vacation at some more exotic locale.


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