Home > South Dakota > Notes from the Aberdeen 2013 pre-legislative luncheon

Notes from the Aberdeen 2013 pre-legislative luncheon

December 10, 2013

agone_NotesToday the Aberdeen Chamber of Commerce hosted their 2013 pre-legislative luncheon. In attendance were various local politicians and business-people, with Governor Daugaard as the guest speaker. This post is a summary of some notes I took at the meeting.

Before Daugaard spoke each of the local legislators were allowed to make two-minute comments; so they didn’t have time to say very much. All of the Legislators from Districts 1, 2, 3, and 23 were invited. Here are my brief notes from the five who were in attendance:

  • Representative Susan Wismer (D-1).
    • Stated her focus has been and will continue to be on appropriations.
    •  Mentioned the funding problems Brown County has for the country roads. (side-note, this is an issue I agree needs more attention, but not necessarily at the state level).
    • Mentioned the Governor’s budget, and specifically Daugaard’s choice not to expand Medicaid in South Dakota.
  • Representative David Novstrup (R-3).
    • Stated his focus has been State Affairs and Taxation.
  • Representative Charlie Hoffman (R-23).
    • Wants to see the beef plant in Aberdeen used in the future.
    • Mentioned fixing how property tax is not based upon use. This discourages farmers from using good conservation practices (side-note, I agree with him on this issue and hope to do further posts on the topic).
    • Also mentioned how successful he thought the Pheasant Habitat Summit in Huron went.
  • Representative Justin Cronin (R-23).
    • Mentioned Medicaid expansion and that you never want the “new version” of anything. Said it would be better looking at how it goes in other states before stepping into such an expansion.
    • Made the case against a special legislative investigation of the beef plant situation. Says the legislature doesn’t have the time or resources to conduct a proper investigation. Also said to let the current ongoing investigation finish before taking any further actions. (side-note, isn’t it the legislature that supposedly controls how the check book is to be used? they could easily adjust Daugaard’s budget to fund an investigation).
  • Senator Chuck Welke (D-2).
    • Said the use of unclaimed property in Governor Daugaard’s budget was “interesting”.
    • Spent the summer on a study looking at education funding. Says the schools in South Dakota are “strapped”.
    • Mentioned expanding Medicaid in South Dakota was the  morally right thing to do.

After the legislators spoke it was Daugaard’s time to speak. He did a mini-version of his budgetary address from last week. The only thing that really jumped out at me during his presentation was the same thing that I found “interesting” during his proposal a week ago: 30 million dollars for the Building South Dakota program. I’ve mentioned before I don’t think it is good conservative policy for a Republican governor to try intervening in the free market. I just don’t think $30,000,000 should be set aside for a department that has questionable conservative roots and parts of which may be under federal investigation. All of Daugaards ally’s in Pierre are stuck on the “let the current investigations finish” for the GOED/Benda/EB-5 scandal. I say they are right. Let’s suspend all funding to Building South Dakota and GOED until that investigation is completed!

One thing I did like that Governor Daugaard said was that the South Dakota legislature should continue avoiding adding new laws that will burden small business owners. He is proud of the fact South Dakota gets very few bills passed and there has been a lot of old burdensome codified law eliminated by the legislature the last few years. I completely agree with the idea of what he is saying. I just wish he would also realize that choosing market winners and losers via GOED has the same impact to free markets as burdensome laws and regulations.

Daugaard was asked about the GOED investigation. He gave about the same answer as he has been giving for the last couple of months. The noticeable thing though is he kept citing Benda’s name. I guess if he says the name enough he thinks the investigation will stop there? Going forward he believes a new policy for expense reports that applies to all state agencies will prevent misuse of those funds in the future (Benda appears to have double-billed $5.5k during the Rounds administration).

Daugaard also mentioned he wants to have an outside look at all economic programs; some of which should go beyond a normal audit. I agree with that. But, I would add that more transparency is the true answer! A more transparent statehouse is less likely to have scandals of this type.

The Governor was then asked what he thinks about the White Oak purchase of the Aberdeen Beef Plant. Daugaard truly thinks the plant will be saved by White Oak. He mentioned that since the inception of the Beef Plant idea he believed it is crazy South Dakota does not have its own beef processing plant. This confirmed his stance that government intervention into big business is OK by him. I really hope Hubbel makes an issue of this stance in the 2014 Republican Governors race. Let the voters decide if they want their own Government Motors in South Dakota.

Finally Daugaard was asked about why he chose not to expand Medicaid in South Dakota. He has touched on this topic many times. All I will say is that I agree with Daugaard when he says we should not be giving incentives to keep people below the poverty line. I would disagree however when he says those at 100% of the poverty level should utilize the ACA exchanges. Daugaard actually seemed to be supporting Obamacare during part of his answer; while at the same time trying to make it look like he was against it. It was quite odd.

  1. Merlyn Schutterle
    December 10, 2013 at 10:50 pm

    I see my legislators from district 23 were there. Both of them supported the bureaucracies over their constituent when I was trying to get straight answers from my government. I never could corner Cronin. Cronin has never accomplished anything on his won. He is living off the money his granddad and dad made. Cronins own about 5 John Deere dealerships and pay their employees as little as possible. They have a lot of turnover.

    As for Hoffman, when I was angry when the DCI violated my rights he suggested I get anger management therapy. That was the laugh of the week for me.

    Then there is Cory Brown. When I told him I wanted to know what he was doing in Pierre he said, “I’ll keep you informed.” That was a year and a half ago and I still haven’t heard from him. He blocked my email.

    Unfortunately, Pierre is loaded with these lame brains who want power but won’t use it to get hold of the bureaucrats. The bureaucrats run our government. And even more unfortunate, nobody ever runs against them in district 23. I already ran two or three times myself as an Independent, so you know where that went in Republican 23. All you need to win is be a Republican.

    • December 11, 2013 at 9:44 am

      That is not good to hear when elected officials will not keep communication open with constituents. It really adds to the perception that politicians think they are better than and above the people they are serving.

  1. December 16, 2013 at 2:11 pm
Comments are closed.
%d bloggers like this: