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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Rounds: Raises for State Employees "Not a Possibility"

More "No We Can't" from Pierre: This e-mail from my "Fellow State Employee" Governor Mike Rounds plinkos down through the system to my inbox. The short version: forget that raise.

Fellow State Employee,

As we all discuss the challenges we face in this budget year and next, I want you to know how much I appreciate the work you do each day for everyone in the state of South Dakota. Throughout this ongoing budget process, it is my goal to make choices that will be the least painful for all of state government and all our citizens.

I know there are many concerns about funding the ongoing operation of our state government. While I can tell you I would like to offer salary policy and enhancements for FY 2010, I do not see this as a possibility. At a time when our unemployment rate is rising and job losses are increasing on a weekly basis in the private sector, we must be sensitive to tax increases, as good as the intentions may be.

I appreciate your understanding as we work together during these difficult times. I will do my best to keep you informed as we move through the budget process.

Mike Rounds

Well, kids, cancel that Wal-Mart trip: looks like I'll be wearing the same pants to teach in next year. I guess I'll be happy if I still have my job!


  1. Does this include teachers in local schools?

    I watched Statehouse last night, and there were two requests for more state money that passed out of committee overwhelmingly. Will be watching these when they progress thru the process. One was vocational centers also wanting to offer some academic classes, and one was for more Native American scholarships. So is the state short of money or not? Why are requests like these being passed out of committee and not denied immediately?

  2. Cory:

    We need a five or ten year plan when it comes to a budget...and we need someone who can do realistic revenue projections not based on overly-optimistic growth forecasts.

    We need to be talking about deep salary cuts...starting with the Governor.

  3. Do we even really need a governor? What has Rounds done in his years in office? We could make it like jury duty and randomly pick registered voters for 2 weeks of service pay them 40 bucks per day plus expenses.

    I was not a big fan of Janklow but he got stuff done, good or bad and he earned his paycheck. This guy fights the releasing of public information every step of the way. Disregards his parole boards requests. Over uses the state plane so we have to pass laws forbidding his family from flying on them. Cuts funding from the Highway Patrol and then gives it back a year later.
    I would really love to hear some positive things he has done. I am open and ready to hear them.

    I also say sell the state planes and take the bus. If you are truly a fiscal conservative that is how one would travel. Remember South Dakota is like 48 or 49th in pay for its people. Well that is how the bottom 5 percent has to travel.

  4. Need a governor? Yeah, unfortunately. But do we need a bicameral legislature? Absolutely not. The current legislative clowns, even those on transportation committees, have no idea how many planes the state owns. Adopting a unicameral legislature would be one structural change that would increase state efficiency and save money.

    It will be interesting whether the governor's budget makes any structural changes or merely tinkers. Cutting fewer than 1% of the state's employees is indicative of tinkering-let's hope he has more to his recommendations.

  5. Governor Mike is 50 minutes into his budget - its a whole lotta' tinkerin' and virtually no systemic, structural changes to government service delivery.
    -no efficiencies gained in higher ed delivery;
    -no efficiencies gained in delivering services to counties;
    -no efficiencies gained in workforce through changing retirement ages, retirement Classes, or barring double dipping;
    -no efficiencies gained through bidding all significant state contracts;
    -no efficiencies gained through the legislature;
    -no efficiencies gained through DOT efficiencies;
    -and he's OPTIMISTICALLY planning a 2011 budget that will already be > $30 million in the hole, what a guy.

  6. Here's the summary, er tinkering.



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