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NOEM: Low unemployment numbers proof that SD works

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opinion Mitchell,South Dakota 57301
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NOEM: Low unemployment numbers proof that SD works
Mitchell South Dakota 120 South Lawler 57301

South Dakota has a unique problem: We have “Help Wanted” signs up all over the state.

Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D.While most areas of the country are struggling to attract enough jobs to keep their citizens employed, South Dakota is working to attract more workers to fill the many jobs we have available.

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The Rushmore State is one of just 15 states that has already fully recovered all the jobs lost during the recession. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports we have the second lowest unemployment rate in the country at 3.7 percent and the U.S. Census Bureau explains we are one of the fastest-growing states in the nation.

Part of our success is due to the South Dakota workforce. Ask almost any employer who has hired a South Dakotan and they’ll tell you we are the hardest-working people our country has to offer.

Our success is also a result of the state government largely getting out of the way of business. We’ve kept our taxes low, our fiscal house in order and our regulations at a minimum. That’s the South Dakota way. And it works.

As South Dakota’s lone Representative in the House, I’ve worked hard to bring the South Dakota way to the halls of Congress.

This January, I helped pass a budget that reduces discretionary spending by more than $21 billion from last year’s levels. Those cuts represent the fourth year in a row when spending has been reduced. That hasn’t happened since the Korean War.

Even with the savings, many provisions important to South Dakota were prioritized, including funding for Lewis & Clark in the southeastern part of the state and the Sanford Underground Research Facility in Lead. In the long run, we need to have enough spending reductions to balance the budget, but this is a small step in the right direction.

Like Gov. Dennis Daugaard is doing is South Dakota, I’ve also worked to put a greater focus on job training. In early 2013, I helped the House pass the SKILLS Act. Millions of Americans are unemployed, yet the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports millions of job openings remain unfilled, including many in South Dakota. One reason is a broken workforce development system.

Taxpayers invest billions of dollars annually in federal job training programs. Often times, workers looking to gain the skills necessary to fill in-demand jobs enter into these programs and then have to go through a lengthy process that includes resume assistance and career counseling — even if all they really need is training. The SKILLS Act would help workers access job training immediately, rather than forcing them to wade through an unnecessarily drawn-out process that includes steps they don’t need to take. Unfortunately, this bill is stuck in the Senate.

I have also tried to reduce regulations through legislation like the REINS Act. Over the last few years, more than 60 regulations that cost over $100 million have been implemented annually. That’s a lot of money being taken out of our economy to pay for bureaucracy. The REINS Act would require Congress to approve any regulation that would cost $100 million or more in order to help keep regulators in check. Like many South Dakotans, I’m always going to put more faith in a representative government than I will in a Washington, D.C., bureaucrat. This bill was also passed in the House, but the Senate has yet to vote on it.

These reforms don’t come out of left field. They come out of South Dakota and they have proven to spark job creation and support a strong economy. Now is the time to stop doing things the Washington way and start doing them the South Dakota way.

After all, our way works.

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