Governor-Elect Dennis Daugaard is leading by example: he announced yesterday that he will cut his own pay ten percent when he takes office next month. He plans to impose the same cut on the top earners on his staff and state department chiefs.
Also dropping 10%: hits on the transition team's résumé-submission webpage.
Cutting salaries for elected officials doesn't usually fire me up much. These cuts probably won't reduce the state deficit by even 1% (though I'll be happy to be proven wrong by a full list of cuts). Pay-cut promises are usually political stunts to win votes from a cranky electorate. I'm just as inclined to say to a budget-cutting politician, "Don't bother cutting your salary; just work your keester off to earn every penny we pay you."
But Daugaard's pay cut doesn't sound like a political stunt. We usually hear paycut promises during the campaign, not after. I don't recall his hooting from the hustings his honcho-haircut plan. And if you accept Mr. Rosenthal's optimistic analysis, Daugaard will be no passive caretaker like his predecessor, Governor M. Michael Rounds. Rosenthal sees Daugaard planning the kind of CEO governorship that will earn its old pay and then some. (Wait a minute: did all you Republicans really vote for an activist governor?)
In homage to Mr. Rosenthal, I offer an Endbar:
Evidently Dennis Daugaard isn't worried about crashing the economy by cutting income for a few people at the top. So why can't he call Senator Thune and his Republican pals in Washington and tell them to apply the same thinking to repealing the Bush tax cuts?
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