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Monday, August 23, 2010

Rounds Replaces State Ed Money with Stimulus; Where's Noem?

Would someone please untie the knot of Republican contradictions for me?

Governor M. Michael Rounds has accepted $26.3 million in federal stimulus dollars to fund South Dakota's K-12 schools. The insult and injury of Republican politics on this issue is a double whammy: not only is Governor Rounds happily bellying us up to the bar of the very federal spending that Republicans tell us is a reason to vote against our incumbent Democratic Congresswoman, but the governor is technically increasing our narcotic-like addiction to federal money by using the money to replace, not supplement, state education dollars.

Just curious, Governor Rounds: are you deliberately trying to sabotage the stimulus? The idea of this federal aid is to create more jobs and put more money in workers' pockets to spend. You could take this $26 million and give each of our 10,000 K-12 teachers a $2600 bonus and sustaining the committed funding levels for everything else. Even if you can't sustain that pay level next year, I don't think anyone, from the teachers on down to the merchants on Main Street, will mind teachers having $26 million to pump right back into our local economy.

I would love to learn (as would the Herseth Sandlin campaign) where GOP House candidate Kristi Noem stands on this issue. Republicans keep wanting to forget that Kristi Noem voted for depending on Uncle Sam's stimulus dollars to save South Dakota from fiscal disaster (i.e., from having to raise taxes on rich corporations to pay our own way).

Kristi Noem wants you to forget that Congress and Stephanie Herseth Sandlin have saved South Dakota's fiscal butt time and time again. Any Republican who thinks a vote for Noem is a vote for more principled fiscal conservatism is blowing smoke. Noem would go to Congress and vote for just as many earmarks for Ellsworth and highways and other popular prairie pork as our current delegation. Noem offers nothing different, just a slightly louder No never to be realized in actual policy. South Dakota depends on federal money. Federal money does good for our state. Noem's talking points on the stimulus and other federal money doesn't match our economic reality.


  1. Wasn't this "stimulus" money supposed to "save" X amount of teacher jobs? That is what SHS said at the last debates in her defense of her vote on this. How does using the money for a bonus save any jobs? It seems the more prudent thing to do would be to take the money to replace state money (remember SD has a deficit looming and are in dire financial straits according to Heidepriem)and free that state money to reduce our deficit.

    And why should any specific job field be awarded that bonus at taxpayer expense when all workers in SD are underpaid compared to other states? Teachers at least had a raise in the last years. State workers did not. Some state workers with four year degrees make less than teachers and work 12 months a year. Compare almost any job with other states and SD earns less.

    Basically, the stimulus was just to buy votes and just drives our federal deficit further into the red. Of couse, the fed can just print more money so no problem, right?!


  2. Well, Linda, how does using the federal money to replace state dollars create any jobs? The state is not making proper use of the cash.

    Sure, everybody could use a raise. But teachers aren't paid a decent wage for their work. This money is targeted for education. We If the state isn't going to wise up and hire more people to educate our kids properly, it might as well give some extra pay to those already going above and beyond to do that job right.

    Even if the state can't figure out how to make direct job gains with the money, giving 10,000 workers more spending power will do a lot of good for local economies.

  3. It might not create jobs, but that wasn't the real reason for this last bailout anyway. It at least helps balance the SD state budget next year. As I stated, teachers are no more underpaid than other jobs in SD. Per your reasoning, give part of that money to every worker in SD, not just teachers.


  4. Well, Linda, if they had handed out general workforce stimulus, I'd be happy to hand every underpaid worker in South Dakota a bonus. Alas, this money is for education, so we have to spend it on education... and should.

    And we really need to get beyond the "I'm not getting ahead, so no one else deserves to get ahead, either" mentality. Teachers are worth more than what we pay them. We should pay them more. That logic stands regardless of how much other professions are making.


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