First Team Daugaard puts out an ad so doggedly designed to deny reality that even mild-mannered journalist Bob Mercer, not the most obviously liberal journalist in the state, felt obliged to point out that the ad outright lies when it claims we balanced our state budget without raising taxes. Mercer catalogs a few tax and fee increases propping up our state budget; contact your local county commission and school board to learn the tax hikes they've had to pile onto your local assessment to make up for the state's budgetary neglect.
Then Daugaard tells nursing homes that they probably won't get the $21 million in medicaid stimulus Washington sent them. "We need to guard against the increasing tendency to look for the government to save us," Daugaard lectured the nursing home workers' convention in Sioux Falls Wednesday, even as he defended Pierre's pouring that stimulus money into the general fund to save our budget. That's the same shell game Daugaard and his boss are playing with the $26.3 million in education stimulus approved in August, diverting it from its intended purpose and guaranteeing it won't have the stimuluative effect lawmakers intended.
Now Daugaard skips a great opportunity to defend his record and his plans on a major state policy issue. Tonight's Inside KELOLand (10:30 p.m. CST) will discuss the recent Zogby poll, sponsored by the Associated School Boards of South Dakota, on South Dakota voters' views of K-12 education. Democrat Scott Heidepriem will be there. So will an ASBSD official. Daugaard was invited, but he won't be there. Team Heidepriem is telling supporters that Daugaard said he doesn't want to debate this issue with Heidepriem. Maybe Daugaard, like fellow Republican Kristi Noem, is just getting tired of having his indefensible claims challenged and thinks he can coast to victory in November with fluffy ads and nice hair.
Whatever Daugaard's reason for skipping this discussion, Heidepriem gets free shots for a half hour on the highest-rated TV station in the state. And what will those free shots include? Paraphrasing the latest Team Heidepriem e-mail, Heidepriem will likely cite various expenditures the state has incurred even while breaking its promise to schools and shorted K-12 education this year:
- Rounds and Daugaard happily sent TransCanada an extra $10.5 million in tax refunds to incentivize a pipeline TransCanada had already built through our state.
- The current administration has given over $533,000 dollars in pay raises to their top 19 executive branch staffers... who have turned around and given Daugaard over $62,000 in campaign contributions.
- They've refused to sell any of the state airplanes.
- They closed the Black Hills Playhouse while spending over $200K to renovate "Valhalla," the historic Peter Norbeck cabin just up the trail that Governor Rounds has turned into his personal playground.