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Monday, February 9, 2009

Rounds Won't Cut Madison Break on Stimulus, Highway 34

You'd think Governor Mike Rounds would show Madison some love. We throw a swanky Capital for the Day. We flip a Senate seat for his former patronage beneficiary Russ Olson. We pump over $14K into the campaign of the man I suspect Rounds would prefer succeed him.

So when our city fathers ask the Governor to consider sharing with us some of that coming stimulus money (not even the Governor's money, but free money from Obama!), you'd think Governor Rounds would say, "Okie doke! We'll keep a place at the trough for you," right?

Wrong. The Madison Daily Leader reports that the city commission will gather tonight to grit their teeth at the governor's underwhelming response to our suggestions on how Madison could use the stimulus money. The governor's Feb. 4 letter addresses the city's contention that adding two lanes to Highway 34 would be a really good use of stimulus money:

Thank you also for your suggested Highway 34/Interstate 29 project. It was passed on to the Department of Transportation (DOT), which is currently soliciting local government entitites across the state for their lists of projects for economic stimulus funds, should such funds become available. At this time, it appears projects eligible for economic stimulus funding will be limited to those that are ready to let to contract in 90-180 days so construction can commence immediately. Once the funds are ultimately made available and the "rules" known, the Department of Transportation will assess all the projects in the state eleigible for economic stimulus funding, in an effort to assure the funds are utilized on the highest priority projects across the state. We view this as a tremendous opportunity to preserve and enhance South Dakota's transportation system [Governor M. Michael Rounds, letter to Madison City Commission, 2009.02.04, archived in Madison City Commission agenda packet, 2009.02.09 meeting, pp. 3-4].

In other words: four lanes for Highway 34? Not interested.

The governor's letter also puts the kabosh on directing stimulus money toward upgrading the city water system and fixing the creek walls. The only Madison project the governor offers any stimulus hopes for is the Lewis and Clark water project.

Oh well. That's o.k. None of Madison's leading Republican lights want government handouts anyway... do they?


  1. I suggest that we look to Chuck Kludt as a great candidate for our next Governor.

    Check him out Cory. He's a DSU alum.

  2. To defend Rounds, the purpose of the package was to get those projects that are already planned and ready to start immediately. As useful as the 4 lanes might be for Madison, the project is not at the right stage of deployment. jh

  3. Maybe any stimulus package for Madison would be better aimed at preserving the jobs we have left vs adding two lanes to a road. Why are jobs leaving Madison? I don't think we can blame lack of a 4-lane to the interstate.

  4. What "Free Money"? Corey there is no such thing except in the fairy tales you're reading your child at night.

    We're in for higher taxes just like FDR wanted. Check your history. He wanted to tax people at 100% if you made over $25,000. Congress compromised and agreed on 90%. That's something to look forward to.

    South Dakota ought to stand up and say "we don't want your bailout we can make it alone".

  5. FACTS:
    1. There is no free money.
    2. There is NO money!
    3. When there is no money, mandates mean zip. Get rid of them.
    4. Foster personal responsibility, not reliance on gov't programs.

  6. Of all the stupid, hair-brained four-lane road-to-my-mother's-house projects in this crony-capitalist state -- the 14 miles from Madison to I-29 makes sense. It's the only project supported by actual use metrics. It's ridiculous to waste millions rebuilding the same stretches and exits on I-90 that remain in great shape (we still safely travel at 75 mph on them), while this project goes wanting. It's ridiculous to contend that these fourteen miles could not be quickly designed and engineered. Look at how quickly they designed, engineered and built a far more complicated bridge in Minneapolis.

    Oh the life of living with the little state government that can't.

  7. I doubt Lewis and Clark water will ever make it to Madison.

    Maybe we can get the feds to pay for the restriping of Hiwy 34.

  8. I think the Governor understands the importance of a wider, safer Highway 34 from I-29 to Madison, but it isn't on the immediate list. Here's a thought. The few projects that do get funded from stimulus money will move 4-for-34 closer to reality.

  9. Keep dreaming....34 will never become a 4 lane road. Waste all the time and energy you want. It will never happen in this decaded or the next. Maybe in 2025 right before we all use flying cars or tela-transporters.

    I would be just happy if Highway 34 east of the Interstate 29 bridge was driveable. That road is almost to the point it needs to be graveled and its designation as a state highway should be pulled. That road is a disgrace of a state road.

  10. Anon 9:10 says,

    We're in for higher taxes just like FDR wanted. Check your history. He wanted to tax people at 100% if you made over $25,000. Congress compromised and agreed on 90%. That's something to look forward to.

    Corrected for inflation, maybe that would be $500,000 today. Might not be such a bad idea. Certainly better than a national sales tax or value-added tax, which strike hardest at the poor.

    Yes, Anon, you are right: We face burdensome taxation in the not-too-distant future. The question is: Will the burden be fairly distributed?

  11. FYI, you can plug numbers in to on line inflation calculators. $25K in 1942 is about $330,000 in today's dollars. I think FDR was looking for the wealthier people to pay for the war.

  12. Fairly distributed to some people is that the lower income pay nothing and get rebates back (i.e. O's plan). Fairly distributed to me is that all pay into the system, that tax breaks only go to people who pay actual income taxes, and that we go to the flat tax.

  13. Fellow Comrade's...From each according to his ability to each according to his need....Shall now be printed on all of our deflated devalued money......

  14. "We throw a swanky...We flip a Senate seat...We pump over $14K into the campaign..."

    What is this "WE" stuff, Mr., "I used to be a Republican, now I blindly follow crack pot or is it "pot" crack, Gerry Lange?"

    Did you donate to Russell's campaign? Did you participate in Madison Hosts the Legislature? Did you endorse Russell for his Senate seat?

    There is no "we" in politics, although I'm sure Russ doesn't hold a grudge for all your criticism. If Jerry Johnson had kept his personal life clean, Gerry Lange wouldn't have been back in Pierre and we wouldn't have had another two years of political embarassment.

    Put that in Gerry's bong and smoke it!

  15. Dudes...chill out...you're going to hurt yourself getting out of control stoked up for no reason.

    Take time to smell the flowers man. Anger is such a downer.

  16. Corey, what's with your neighbor's idea to spend $25,000 promoting tourism in Mexico?
    Don't we have enough illegals her already?
    I'd rather advertise in Canada, at least they're more likely to go back home later.

  17. A little bit off topic but here goes. Thune proposed an amendment to the stimulus bill which makes sense to me at least. Get rid of the stimulus and give the money to those that need it. The tax payers.

    The costs of most everything including fuel, groceries and health care to name a few items has elevated. A lot of South Dakotans are barely sliding by month to month on their budgets.

    As Nancy Hansen of T-N Tax service in Aberdeen publicly stated her clients need their tax "refunds just to pay for necessities such as electric or heat bills rather than a new couch or down payment."

    South Dakota's December unemployment rate was 3.9%. What this number tells me that even though some individuals have been unfortunate to lose their jobs due to the economy, the overwhelming number of South Dakotan's continue to work. Not to mention that from my most recent look at the jobs available in the South Dakota career center listings, there are plenty of jobs available even if these jobs would be temporary until something better comes

    Or take the example of one 50 something aged lady who lost her long time job with May & Scofield when they moved to Mexico. She went back to college got a different degree and now works in a different field. People can find work.

    I understand Senator Johnson's argument that the stimulus package would create jobs, even though I am skeptical. The history of the most recent stimulus to the banks was disastrous and wasteful. I challenge our Senators to tell me what jobs would be created in SD, based upon this stimulus. Cities, Counties and States across this fine nation are trying to get their ducks in a row and are even pushing up budgeted items in order to take advantage of this federal stimulus. I have been told that some law enforcement agencies in the nation (not in SD) wish to take the stimulus money to purchase in car computers, who will benefit from this? I am not against law enforcement at all, actually I think all patrol vehicles should have this capability, but that is the local government's duty to budget for these items. Secondly, we talk about providing jobs for infrastructure work. In SD this is only an 8 or 9 month time span for workers to complete roads/bridges and large buildings. Then the workers go back on un-employment until the next construction season. Most of these construction companies are having no problem finding work in SD. In any event, even if the stimulus package is approved there will be a bid process and it appears the same companies always get the bids anyway.

    I guess what I am trying to say is that I believe that Senator Thune is more in tune with South Dakotan's on this particular issue. I agree with Senator Thune that instead of government waste, lets give the money to the taxpayers who are hurting.

    Even though I believe that the federal stimulus package will be passed but not in favor of Thune’s amendment. I hope that those congress people that vote for this bill that I don't see pet pork projects that are being funded by the federal government. For example a proposed frisbee golf park....to generate jobs???????


  18. hellifino: what frisbee golf course?

    Your argument that things for the most part are just fine in South Dakota (majority still employed, plenty of jobs to choose from, etc.) seems to say we don't need Thune's idea to hand out checks to everyone. If most of us are just fine, we should focus our money on the folks who need help. Government contracts for specific projects will create more jobs now than the hoped-for trickle-down effect of throwing money at consumers who aren't in a spending mood. Thune is just playing the loyal opposition and positioning himself to challenge President Obama (and Sarah Palin) in 2012, not offering a plan that will pass or work.

  19. O's plan probably won't work either and will burden all our kids and future generations to come with excessive taxes, and if they have to pay horrendous taxes, how are they going to keep stimulating the economy when they have left only enough to pay for necssities?

    Also, look for people to quit paying their taxes at some point. Why pay taxes for stupid gov't handouts to others who don't pay any taxes, who are here illegally, and for socialist programs when we believe in capitalism? Believe me, there will be a limit to what taxpayers will stand for, and there will be another Boston tea party of sorts.

    The dems have to realize, and some reps too, that the well is dry, gov't can't continue to grow and expect people to pay for it, that we have to don a cloak of personal responsibility instead of the welfare/socialist mentality so prevalant today. And I think some of are fed up enough that it won't take much more.

  20. Cory, quite the contrary. What I am saying is that most South Dakotan's are currenlty employed and working and are having a difficult time paying the bills. My wife is receiving a 9$ raise for 2009, after the rise in health care. Is this 9$ going to pay for the rise in costs at are markets or pumps. I don't think so.

    The stimulus package will not bring down gas prices. It may put "some" people to work and I used that lightly. However, back to my point, South Dakotans are working and having a difficult time making any ends meet. Thune understands this and wants to help those that are doing thier best to keep afloat. That is my point!

    Things are not hunky dory here in SD, but things certainly can and maybe will get worse for those already employed.


  21. oops, sorry

    at "our" markets



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