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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

State Affairs: Yes Birth to 3, No Pipeline Tax

Whew! Our man Russell Olson (R-8/Madison) and the Senate State Affairs committee had a busy Wednesday! Let's review the votes:
  1. Birth to 3 victory! Russ joined the committee in blowing a unanimous raspberry at the governor and approving SB 203, a bill to fully fund the Birth to 3 Connections program. No quarrel there—that's a program worth paying for.
  2. National Guard: guns before butter? Russ joined the slim 5–4 majority of the committee who voted to kill SB 166, a measure that sought to limit the National Guard's ability to relocate and deactivate its units in South Dakota. I'm with the Republicans on this one: the bill seemed to put economic considerations above the Guard's best judgment on readiness and resource use.
  3. Piepline tax still too taxing: Things go downhill from here. Russ helped kill SB 171, the two-cent-per-barrell pipeline tax. So again, to be clear: Russ thinks local businessmen can survive a new 4% tax on their service, but thinks a multi-billion-dollar foreign oil corporation can't bear a 0.05% tax on its product. I'm still waiting for someone to clear that up for me.
  4. Stimulus: Do we even have a Plan A yet? Russ may also be viewed as the deciding vote in killing SB 197, which would have created a commission to figure what the heck to do with all that federal stimulus money. O.K., maybe we don't need another commission. But I assume somebody in Pierre is working on the stimulus money... right? Couldn't the legislature assert its proper fiscal perogative on this one instead of waiting for the governor to call a special session?
Lots of substantive bills to deal with yet... and we haven't even seen the budget yet. Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. #2. "War is too important to be left to the generals."

    Legislatures, and executives, should never ever totally capitulate to the military - who serves whom, here? The military (National Guard) may well not fully appreciate the political need for stationing some units it what appears to be a remote station - until an emergency (tornado, blizzard) strikes.

    On the other hand, the military justification to hang on to and man FT Riley dried up with the frontier over 100 years ago. The military justification to hang onto most northern plains air bases dried up in 1989 with the implosion of the Warsaw Pact.


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