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NELSON: Legislature, gov increased spending, size of SD’s government

By Rep. Stace Nelson

My dear fellow South Dakotans: For the third year in a row, the Legislature and the governor increased spending and the size of South Dakota’s government. The general appropriations bill SB 187 for this year increased spending from last session’s HB 1185 general appropriations bill by about $169 million and 124 new full time state employees.

There are several problems with the passage of SB 187:

  • It exceeds the amount of money the governor’s office projects will be available by more than $7 million. This means the budget, as passed, returns to the deficit-spending ways that occurred during the Rounds administration, which created the accumulation of the $127 million deficit that forced the Legislature to make cuts that so adversely affected education in South Dakota. I believe the passage of SB 187 violates Article 12, Section 7, which prohibits spending more money than what is anticipated in revenue, by the Legislature and governor.
  • As passed, this bill directs tens of millions of dollars to the “Build SD,” Futures Fund and Governor’s Office of Economic Development programs. Voters rejected putting more money into such programs that promote crony capitalism in 2012, by an overwhelming majority of the voters. This also comes on the heels of the major corruption scandals still being investigated by the U.S. attorney into corruption that occurred in the Rounds administration economic development programs, where taxpayers’ dollars were lost.
  • With those monies being directed toward crony capitalism programs, it takes away much-needed monies from making education whole in South Dakota, and from desperate infrastructure needs to roads, bridges and support of local counties. For these reasons, and more, I spoke against the bill and voted “nay” for its passage.

Next week, I’ll provide a recap of session. God bless, and semper fidelis. Respectfully, your public servant.

--- Stace Nelson represents District 19 (Douglas, Hanson, Hutchinson, McCook and eastern Bon Homme counties) in the state House of Representatives.