Letters to the EditorNew funding key to developing resources
To the Editor: Recently, USDA secretary Tom Vilsack announced a long-anticipated round of funding, designed to spur economic development in rural areas while providing a much-needed upgrade to dated electric transmission infrastructure. A total of $376 million will be divided among 10 rural electric cooperatives and utilities in states such as South Dakota, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri and New Mexico.
New funding key to developing resources
To the Editor:
Recently, USDA secretary Tom Vilsack announced a long-anticipated round of funding, designed to spur economic development in rural areas while providing a much-needed upgrade to dated electric transmission infrastructure.
A total of $376 million will be divided among 10 rural electric cooperatives and utilities in states such as South Dakota, Alabama, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Missouri and New Mexico. The program, managed by the USDA Rural Development program, will benefit up to 20,000 rural homes and businesses.
This investment is important as many of our renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar, are most abundant in remote regions that aren’t well connected to the existing transmission network. Up to 300,000 MW of wind projects, enough to meet 20 percent of our annual electricity demand, are lying dormant due to inadequate transmission capacity.
To utilize the tremendous potential associated with the development of renewable energy, it’s critical we find a way to connect these projects to the existing grid network.
By explicitly requiring that these funds be used for building or expanding existing transmission lines, our rural communities are able to take a significant step forward in an effort to better develop the resources at our disposal.
Because the health of our rural communities depends on our ability to translate our clean energy resources into economic opportunity, providing entrepreneurs the tools necessary to develop the resources right in our back yard moves us one step closer to making our clean energy future a reality.
Johnathan Hladik, Center for Rural Affairs, Lyons, Neb.
Noem wrong to lend support to Ryan plan
To the Editor:
Rep. Kristi Noem’s April 16 letter to the editor stated that her position is clear on federal spending cuts.
But again, she doesn’t list what specific cuts she wants to make. She mentions making cuts to high-speed rail and the EPA, which won’t make a dent in the deficit.
With her vote for Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan, Noem shows what she supports.
Noem wants to give the rich a bigger tax cut than they already received — from 35 percent to 25 percent.
Second, Noem supports eliminating Medicare and Medicaid. She wants to issue vouchers instead and make seniors choose what insurance plan to pick. It is a great idea for the insurance companies. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office has stated Ryan’s plan will more than double the cost of health care for people over 65.
For Medicaid, the CBO report similarly reveals that the Medicaid block grant amounts would grow each year only with inflation and U.S. population growth, which is roughly 4 percentage points less than current projected annual growth in Medicaid (and also well below the annual adjustment level in the Ryan-Rivlin plan). CBO finds that federal funding for Medicaid would fall 35 percent by 2022 — and 49 percent by 2030 — below the levels the federal government now is projected to provide. (This does not count the loss under the Ryan plan of the additional resources that the federal government would spend for Medicaid to cover more of the uninsured under the health-reform law).
The CBO report makes clear that unless states made up the difference, the measures they would have to take as a result of this large loss of funding would include cuts in eligibility (leading to more uninsured low-income people), cuts in covered services (leading to more underinsured low-income people), and/or cuts in already-low payment rates to health-care providers (causing doctors, hospitals and nursing homes to withdraw from Medicaid and thereby reduce beneficiaries’ access to care).
By supporting Ryan’s plan, Noem shows which cuts she wants to make. Once people understand what’s going to happen, Noem’s stay in the House will be short.
Owen Reitzel, Alexandria
Huron chief right to start immigration talk
To the Editor:
Concerning Huron Police Chief Doug Schmitt:
Wondering why Schmitt was put on administrative leave. He mentioned that he thought two businesses in the Huron area were employing illegal immigrants. Now he has stepped down from his job, maybe or maybe not by choice.
Can’t a man speak his piece? He only said what everyone already knows, there are people working in this state, probably in Huron, Alpena and more than likely right here in Mitchell, that are illegal immigrants. This country better straighten up and listen to somebody. Our country is being whittled away and sent back across the border piece by piece and across the ocean.
I am not prejudiced. I firmly believe there is only one race —the human race — but as my pastor said when told that we are all immigrants in this country, “when our forefathers came to this country, they came to be Americans.” That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. I feel it’s come and get it, send it home and more will come.
I don’t need to tell you of the atrocious amount of money spent on health care and welfare for those who do not belong. Now that he is unemployed, I wonder if Schmitt will be showered with government money, along with state aid, free health care and such.
Some ask when will it stop, I ask when will it start. Schmitt tried to get it started. You can’t fix something until you realize it’s broke. This man lost his job trying to fix something. If he ever runs for office, he’s got my vote.
I have wondered why Spanish was put on cereal boxes upwards of 30 years ago. Now I know. We just didn’t want to offend the people who want to lap up all that America has to give, and in return give back nothing.
There is a big difference in humanism and humanitarianism. America doesn’t have to be afraid to step on a few toes. After all, it is our country, not theirs. Yet.
Brad Croucher, Mitchell
Repeal would put SD at mercy of the feds
To the Editor:
Recently, the paperwork was filed to start gathering petitions to refer two bills that my office sponsored. I want to present factual information on the bills, explaining why I sponsored and approved them. My intent is not to advocate, but to educate.
The two bills in question, SB38 and SB43, prevent the federal government from directly regulating and overseeing our health insurance system. The bills create mechanisms within our state government to put South Dakota into minimum compliance with some provisions of the new federal health-care law. Without these two bills, the federal Department of Health and Human Services would be able to enforce their programs with no input from South Dakotans.
One example is a portion of SB43 that establishes a state review whenever an insurance company wishes to increase health insurance rates on small employers. If a state fails to meet minimum federal standards, those rate increases are reviewed by the federal government. SB43 therefore provides for a review to be conducted within the state of South Dakota to determine whether the rate increase was necessary. Without the bill, such a review would be done in Washington, D.C., by federal officials who do not understand the circumstances or values of South Dakotans.
I have publicly stated my opposition to the federal health-care reform law. The state is challenging its constitutionality. When my office drafted SB43, we included a “suicide clause” that repeals the bill immediately if the health-care reform law is found unconstitutional. In addition, I have joined with a group of governors in working to repeal or improve the health-care law.
I sponsored and approved SB38 and SB43 in order to keep the federal government out of South Dakota’s health-care systems as much as possible. If the two laws are removed, federal law will pre-empt state law and the federal Department of Health and Human Services will directly regulate health care here in South Dakota. My intent in sponsoring and signing these laws was to ensure that South Dakotans governed the programs that affected South Dakotans, not the federal government.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard, Pierre
Cuts to agricultural research must stop
To the Editor:
Sometimes we must choose between the unpalatable and the disastrous. The Legislature seems to have forced South Dakota State University’s administration to choose both. When the Legislature made the choice to cut state spending by 10 percent, the effects were far greater than that at SDSU’s College of Agriculture. State budget cuts the previous two years for the Cooperative Extension Service and the Agricultural Research Service, compounded with federal cuts, means that the budget for agricultural research and Extension has been cut by over 20 percent.
While the cuts to the Cooperative Extension Service may be unpalatable, they will eventually result in a better use of technology and a more nimble delivery of services. However, the governor and Legislature must find a way to stop making annual cuts to these two areas before we permanently injure the development of agricultural research and cripple the U.S. capacity to produce. Every consumer in the country benefits from the phenomenal success of American agriculture, thanks to the research done at land grant universities, including SDSU.
As we face the need to feed a growing world population and maintain environmental stewardship for the future, this research will become even more critical.
Mary Duval, Pierre
As school year ends, be careful of buses
To the Editor:
Please keep our children safe.
With this school year coming to an end, we would like to remind you that school bus lights mean the same thing as traffic lights.
Yellow flashing lights mean caution, prepare to stop.
Red flashing lights along with an extended stop sign means stop, children are boarding or exiting the bus.
It is a Class 2 misdemeanor to pass or overtake a school bus while it is displaying flashing red lights.
Please be alert. Stop on red.
The life you save may be that of a child.
Ernest Scheetz, B-J School Buses Inc., Parkston
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