OTHER VIEW: Less government is betterThis year, Gov. Dennis Daugaard's administration is proposing removing 650 sections and more than 78,000 words from the South Dakota Codified Laws.
By: Editorial board, The Rapid City Journal
There are many benefits to smaller government, not the least of which are efficiency and less expense to taxpayers. It’s too much to hope that Washington, D.C., will ever get the message, but our local and state leaders are doing their part to pare down the size of government.
At a Jan. 10 press conference, Rapid City Mayor Sam Kooiker announced that he had consolidated about half of the city’s committees, boards and task forces. The city council began the process in October when it agreed to eliminate 37 boards that Kooiker called unnecessary.
The mayor said the city had so many boards his staff had trouble keeping track of them all. “We tried to pin that number down, and we finally just settled with 80-plus, because it seemed every time we seemed to get a number we discovered another board,” Kooiker said.
By eliminating the committees and boards, it will save staff time and resources that consume an estimated 1,350 staff hours per year.
Meanwhile, Gov. Dennis Daugaard made it a point in his recent State of the State address to call attention to his administration’s efforts to streamline state government.
Daugaard quoted Gov. Robert S. Vessey, who in his 1913 State of the State address called for fewer laws: “It is my conviction, and in it I am not alone, that the tendency of very many legislative bodies is toward too many rather than too few new laws.”
The governor called on the South Dakota Legislature to “push back” against creating too many new laws.
Daugaard said his Better Government initiative last year eliminated 177 sections and over 26,000 words from state statutes and administrative rules. This year, his administration is proposing removing 650 sections and more than 78,000 words from the South Dakota Codified Laws, the comprehensive listing of state statutes.
In addition, Gov. Daugaard said he would be rescinding 100 executive orders, some dating back to the 1960s.
Daugaard often credits less regulation in South Dakota as one of the reasons the state’s economy is performing better than in most other states. He took the occasion to remind lawmakers that the Small Business and Entrepreneurship Council ranks South Dakota No. 1 on its Business Policy Index, and the Barron’s weekly named South Dakota as the “Best Run” state in America.
We applaud the efforts of Gov. Daugaard and Mayor Kooiker to streamline South Dakota and Rapid City governments, respectively.
Just as there are times when more government is needed, there are times when less government is helpful.