Home > South Dakota > Just a couple issues with Daugaard’s State of the State Address

Just a couple issues with Daugaard’s State of the State Address

January 15, 2014

500px-Flag_of_South_Dakota.svgYesterday Governor Daugaard gave his State of the State address before the South Dakota legislature. The video of this address is available on the SDPB website. In his address Gov Daugaard made the case that the state of the State of South Dakota is strong. Overall I would have to agree. As he stated, South Dakota has weathered the recession better than most states. Daugaard mentioned a long list of topics showing that South Dakota has been doing good, among them the fact that South Dakota has the second lowest unemployment rate in the US. To further back this claim the Mercatus Center at George Mason University released a study (PDF) showing South Dakota has the second-best fiscal health in the US.

That is the good from his speech. Now I would like to briefly highlight some issues I have with Daugaards address.

When talking about the budget Daugaard said he is proud South Dakota has had balanced budgets without using any ‘gimmicks’. That is debatable for the proposed FY2015 budget. Daugaard uses a sudden surge of one-time funds to pay down certain liabilities and pre-fund Building South Dakota. The approach he took doing this is ‘interesting’, and could be called a gimmick. Much of this one-time money comes from a change made in the Unclaimed Property fund. It must be realized that the Unclaimed Property money is not technically the states money. It is possible some of this money will be claimed in the next couple of years. If enough of that money is claimed it could fiscally hurt the state because we chose to spend that money. I don’t think that is an overly-likely scenario, but it is possible and I don’t feel it was fully addressed in his budget speech last month.

Sticking with the budget. Daugaard proposed using $30,000,000 from those one-time funds to pre-fund Building South Dakota. I find it unwise to prefund any program handled by the Governors Office of Economic Development (GOED) at a time when that very department is under financial audits and forensic investigations. Daugaard downplayed any concerns by mentioning three investigations that should provide answers by the end of the month. Yet his approach shows that he thinks nothing has been done wrong by GOED. A more conservative approach would have been to fund GOED at its bare minimal requirements. In the future if GOED is found to be working efficiently and without any improper accounting then the debate can be had whether to increase funding to any GOED programs. Instead Daugaard is pushing to prefund Building South Dakota now. The Governor actually said Building South Dakota should be “first in line” for any excess funds found. I would ask Daugaard if he believes Building South Dakota should be a priority to lose funds in the future if the state finds itself in an unexpected deficit situation?

To his credit Daugaard did mention Common Core. I expected him to avoid this topic. Daugaard acknowledged the many problems people have with Common Core. But he did say he believe education standards are important and supports the goals of Common Core. I won’t go into this topic very much right now (mostly because I have more posts coming up on the topic). However I would like to point out that one of the “Author’s” of the Common Core standards is the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices. That fact would appear to back up the claim that the standards are state designed and an effort led by the Governors around the US. But, it cannot be overlooked that the National Governors Association (NGA) is NOT simply a place where Governors meet and come up with keen ideas. It is actually a way for special interest groups (including the Federal government and corporations) to lobby laws and regulations directly with state Governors. In fact this comes directly from the NGA website about corporate sponsors in the NGA:

With an annual contribution of $20,000, companies that participate as Corporate Fellows invest in finding solutions to tomorrow’s public policy challenges.

I’ll leave the topic of Common Core for now. Just thought it was worth pointing out that the NGA is not the type of organization it is portrayed to be…

Overall I agree with most of what Daugaard said during his speech. The main points of contention I have involved GOED and Common Core. Both issues I have problems with are also expected to be big topics during the 2014 legislative session. It will be interesting to see if the South Dakota legislature follows Daugaards plan, or decides the state needs to go down a different path for economic development and school standards.

  1. Merlyn Schutterle
    January 15, 2014 at 11:34 am

    I don’t know how economic development is working anywhere else, but in district 23 it is a joke. Well, it does provide a job and for expenses. I think that job is for 50 grand a year.

    I remember when I was working on construction and we were putting up the new economic development building next to Cronin’s John Deere shop and we joked that Cronins were gong to be able to buy it for cents on the dollar. That is exactly what happened.

    Then we have Dravland who is double dipping. He retired from the SDHP and got the job of Homeland Security officer. He is the one who twisted my arm behind my back and forced me out of the Capitol Building because the secretary didn’t want me there. I guess he is guarding Mount Rushmore from all those terrorists now.

  1. May 29, 2014 at 5:25 pm
  2. December 2, 2014 at 9:18 am
  3. December 2, 2014 at 9:42 am
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