As I review the various cuts Governor Rounds has proposed, I am reminded that, for all the anti-government rhetoric we like to engage in, the state of South Dakota runs a pretty tight ship. When we come up $58.7 million (this year) or $$83.8 million (next year) short, we don't have a lot of fat in the budget to cut. The state does a lot of good on a lean tax structure (and a lean tax base from our low wages).
So I'm wondering: why cut at all? Instead of all the doom and gloom from Pierre, why not take the fiscal stimulus route that Washington plans and plow right through this recession at full strength?
But we don't have the money, says Governor Rounds.
Yes we do. $698 million in the state trust funds [see November 2008 report]. Crack those funds open, and we could cover every cut the governor has proposed, this year and next, put no state employee out of work or increase taxes on any South Dakotan during a recession.
I think I've heard Governor Rounds say this year's state revenue situation is the worst he's ever seen. Doesn't that mean we have just the rainy day our trust funds have been waiting for?
Don't play Herbert Hoover, South Dakota. Face the recession boldly. Stand out among other states by saying "Yes We Can!" preserve state services.
Guest column: Bob Mercer’s important role in Pierre - This guest column was written by Noel Hamiel, a retired editor and publisher of numerous South Dakota newspapers, including Yankton and Mitchell newspapers...
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