[CAH]: Where would he have found the $71 million dollars to plug this year's state budget shortfall without accepting federal stimulus dollars? How does he suggest we reduce the state budget so we can send our share of spirit-sapping federal stimulus dollars back in FY2011? And what actions does Candidate Munsterman propose to fill the fiscal chasm that will yawn open again during the first year of the next gubernatorial administration when the stimulus runs out?
[Munsterman, with my emphasis]: All of these questions strike to the core issue – where do we go from here to correct our budget problem? It is time we brought our budget back to zero and prioritize our role for state government. Where would I have found the money to fill the hole last year, this year and for 2011? Within the operation of state government. Fiscal Leadership sets boundaries to the budget. We have significantly expanded the size of state government while not experiencing the same increase in the level of service. In a Munsterman administration the state budget will be based upon realistic revenue projections and the return of fiscal discipline to expenditures. As Governor I will veto any budget that use reserves to fund ongoing programs and which do not coincide with our core goals to move this state forward in a responsible manner. The state has experienced mission drift. We have significant problems funding basic services while at the same time we are expanding services offered. We need to move the state back to a position of financial strength where we adequately fund necessary productive programs, cut the waste in programs that are not producing, and keep taxes low to stimulate economic growth. This is essential in positioning the state for future success. This is established by:
- Set a realistic revenue projection for the state. I would have begun with 2007 actual revenue numbers for the 2009 budgeted projections.
- Set a policy regarding one time use of funds. Reserves cannot be used towards ongoing expense in operations. This is absolutely fundamental and essential to budgeting.
- Develop benchmarks and measure performance of departments and their programs. We need to be able to make good decisions based upon good data.
- Expenses must be brought into line with budgeted revenue.
- The rate of growth of government must not exceed the rate of growth of the economy.
- Here is a history of our expenditure in the Department of Executive Management (for example):
Jobs in Governor's Office and Bureaus of Finance and Management, Administration, Information and Telecommunications, and Personnel 2006–2009
|Full Time Employee Growth||FTE||% increase|
|Total Increase in FTEs||34.5||5.27%|
|South Dakota State Budget|
|% Increase||Total||B of Admin||B of Inf/Tech|
|2006||$ 110,144,926||$ 34,633,874||$ 43,968,915|
|0.54%||2007||$ 110,735,613||$ 35,230,020||$ 44,913,335|
|4.88%||2008||$ 116,135,177||$ 36,809,115||$ 45,738,479|
|16.26%||2009||$ 135,020,308||$ 39,494,251||$ 60,990,737|
[Note: all dollar values come from Scott Munsterman; I refigured percentage calculations on my spreadsheet. Rows were misaligned in the spreadsheet Munsterman sent me, so final numbers may vary from those distributed by Munsterman in other communications.]
Our state government has grown close to 1400 jobs in the last 7 years. Some of those are research related and in my opinion necessary for economic development. And yet it is hard to justify the growth in light of the small growth in our overall population. State programs/departments would get a close review of performance. Develop strategies to lower expenses. Do a full review of government programs using a performance based system instead of spending all the money we have and all of the reserves. We need to focus on results and developing “best practices” within programs and department functions. Cuts will have to be made based upon priorities. Not all of these cuts will be popular, but we need to place our resources in programs that work.
I am the only candidate who has a track record to make this happen. Please read my Budget chapter in A Vision for South Dakota. Thanks again! [Scott Munsterman, e-mail to Madville Times, 2009.08.30]
I'm brewing my own commentary, but what do you think? How well did candidate Munsterman answer the question and offer a roadmap for fiscal independence from Uncle Sam?