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Posts Tagged ‘2015 SD Legislative Session’

Legislative Planning Committee Meeting on Dec 7

December 5, 2015 Comments off

Business-Meeting-300pxOn Monday, December 7, the Legislative Planning Committee will hold its fourth and final meeting on the South Dakota legislative interim session in Pierre. The last meeting was held on October 22.

The minutes from the October 22 meeting can be viewed here. Also, the documents from that meeting can be viewed here. This includes a presentation from the DOH. The only problem I have with the statistics in the presentation, is to wonder why so much of that data needs to be collected. South Dakota is definitely not conservative with its policies about collecting data on citizens.

The agenda for the December 7 meeting can be found here. Since it is a relatively short agenda I’ll also publish it here:

  • 1:00 p.m. Call to Order
    Determination of Quorum
    Approval of Minutes – October 22nd meeting
    Opening Remarks
  • 1:15 p.m. Efforts to enhance educational opportunities for adult inmates
    • Jennifer Stanwick-Klimek, Deputy Warden, Mike Durfee State Prison
    • Tiffany Sanderson, Director, Division of Career and Technical Education, SD Department of Education
  • 1:45 p.m. Wrap-up on benchmarks and performance measures for postsecondary career and technical education
    • Tiffany Sanderson
  • 2:00 p.m. Review of benchmarks and performance measures for the SD Department of Health
    • Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary, SD Department of Health
  • 2:45 p.m. Public Testimony
    Interim Wrap-up
  • 3:15 p.m. Adjourn

Executive Board meeting on Monday, Nov 16

November 13, 2015 Comments off
SD House Votes display. Apparently I never took a pic of the other display. Photo by Ken Santema

SD House Votes display. Apparently I never took a pic of the other display. Photo by Ken Santema

On Monday, November 16, the SD Legislative Executive Board will meet in Pierre. At the end of the meeting the board will adjourn and gavel back in as the Bonding Committee. The Executive Board agenda can be viewed here and the Bonding Committee agenda can be viewed here.

Here are some areas of interest going into the meetings:

New House Display Screen Demo (House Chambers)

I’ve heard this item come up a few times in committee meetings this interim session. At the Aug 24 Exec meeting it was reported the display was installed, but there was some work to be done for it to be fully functional. By this time it should be ready to go.

Back in April 27 the Exec committee approved the new display for the House. It was chosen not to get a display for the Senate, but that is an option for the future. The new display for the House, along with new voting software, is supposed to “provide more accurate information more quickly to the Legislators and to the general public using the internet. ” Personally I’m looking forward to seeing how that will assist what I do as a blogger during the 2016 legislative session.

Legislative Ethics Seminar

Rep Lee Schoenbeck (R, Dist 5) will give a report on a recent ethics presentation he attended in Minneapolis. Bob Mercer has a story on Schoenbeck giving his presentation to the board. I think it is great when I see a legislator sharing knowledge gained at seminars, especially on such an important topic…

Interim Committee Reports

This is probably the main reason I will be listening to this meeting. I have mostly kept up with other committees, but this will hopefully provide a good summary of what has transpired during the legislative summer vacation.

Bonding Reports

The Bonding Committee will receive annual reports on the following bonds:

  • South Dakota Housing Development Authority
  • South Dakota Conservancy District
  • South Dakota Value Added Finance Authority
  • South Dakota Economic Development Finance Authority
  • South Dakota Building Authority
  • South Dakota Health and Educational Facilities Authority

County Government Interim Committee meeting on Oct 28, previous meetings recap

October 27, 2015 2 comments
1892 map of South Dakota Counties provided by LRC Audit presentation.

1892 map of South Dakota Counties provided by LRC Audit presentation.

On October 28 the County Government Interim Committee will meet in Pierre. This committee has had two two-day meetings previously. I spoke with committee member  Rep Dennis Feickert (D, Dist 1) just before the first meeting. At that time I felt it unlikely anything meaningful will come out of the meeting; mostly because focus in the 2016 session will be on education funding. I still feel that way, and find it ironic because county funding and education funding are almost symbiotic at this point.

The meetings documents from these meetings can read at the links below:

8/19/15 – 8/20/15 docs

9/16/15 – 9/17/15 docs

Before looking at the agenda meeting for Oct 28 it might be worth looking at a few highlights from the previous meetings. There was a LOT going on at these meetings, so this only calls out a very small fraction of the meetings.

8/19/15 – 8/20/15 Meeting 

This first meeting was meant to be information gathering. There is a good presentation from Legislative Audit explaining county revenues and expenditures. But I think a slide towards the end of the presentation summed up the biggest issue this committee will run into when trying to pass legislation:

Most counties have budget issues; however, each county’s budget issues are unique and influenced by many factors.

A one-size-fits-all solution will not work, and will likely not get enough votes to pass.

Over the last few years I have heard many county officials around the state complain about the State pushing more costs to the counties. That was reflected multiple times in this meeting:

From Ms. Cindy Heiberger, Minnehaha County Commissioner:

Ms. Heiberger said changes in the state statutes affect law enforcement at the local level and when law enforcement is mandated to take care of things, the county needs additional revenue. The county is looking at building a new jail and the county will probably fund it with property taxes. Ms. Muller said next year they may be looking at renting jail beds. Public safety, including law enforcement, is 53% of the Minnehaha County budget.

From Ms. Janet Sayler, Pennington County Treasurer

Ms. Sayler listed the duties according to statute of the county treasurer’s office (Document #8). She said the legislature is always quick to add more responsibilities, but it never allows for the county to get paid for all of the extra work they are forced to do for everyone else. She said when laws are changed; the county is forced to update its computer systems to implement the law, usually at a significant expense to the county.

Ms. Cathy Powell, Clay County Treasurer

Ms. Powell thinks HB 1228 will adversely affect the treasurer’s office. She asked how people can do business if they can’t license their vehicles. She said county treasurers are tax collectors; if a resident doesn’t pay their taxes; the county takes property away; a time-consuming process; in Clay County they deal with 10 to 12 tax deeds per year.

HB 1228 (SoDakLiberty Posts) is also mentioned by Ms. Janet Sayler, Pennington County Treasurer, earlier in the meeting. It does not appear to be popular with the counties. HB 1228 is the new debt collection agency created by the SD Legislature in 2015. It has the Orwellian name Obligation Recovery Center, and I still can’t find anyone outside of the Republicans in the legislature that think it was a good idea.

There are many more examples from the meeting. But I think the above portions show that counties believe the state is pushing more responsibilities on them. Personally I do feel most government should be closer to the people. Yet in this case it appears mandates from the state are being substituted for local control. In particular I noticed rising costs of county jails, which is a direct result of legislative measures taken in the last few years.

Along those lines. This from Ms. Staci Ackerman, Executive Director of the SD Sheriffs Association:

Changes in statutes have resulted in more arrests and increased court cases; there are more sex crime investigations, new crimes on the internet. More and more fingerprinting is required by legislation, this is the responsibility of sheriffs. Court and parole services increasingly requests sheriffs to check on clients or to provide urinalysis. When presentence investigations are ordered, the client remains in jail until completed, a cost to the county.

A number of Sheriff’s testified to give specific examples. One example came from Sheriff Ray Clements, Jackson County:

Sheriff Clements said he didn’t realize the impact of SB 70 until he saw the increase in the jail budget and the state reimbursements were not covering it. He said he has currently $76,000 in jail bills, with an annual budget of $56,000. He says the number of calls for services have gone up. Sheriff Clements said now, people are being sentenced to the penitentiary, suspended, and given 180 days county jail time. This is at county expense.

The bill referred to was SB 70, the  Public Safety Improvement Act (PSIA) passed for Governor Daugaard by the legislature in 2013. Daugaard and Attorney General Marty Jackley have been quite proud of this legislation. SB 70 was mentioned by a lot of the law enforcement representatives in attendance. Personally I think the results from the program are mixed at best; and have caused more problems than it was meant to solve. Perhaps looking at reducing victim-less crimes will actually create fewer criminals, and thus put less stress on the counties…

9/16/15 – 9/17/15 Meeting

In the second meeting there was a presentation answering questions from the first meeting.  This tidbit from Mr. Russ Olson, Local Government Audit Manager, Legislative Audit, is interesting:

The charts found in the document show that roughly 89% of the counties’ all government funds are for statutory functions

That seems to back the counties feeling they are being piled on by the state.

In this meeting there were a lot of mentions from counties to get additional revenue from a new sales tax or increasing liquor taxes.

The LRC issued a series of draft legislation for the upcoming session. But more interesting was the draft legislation submitted by Sen Mike Vehle (R, Dist 20). Vehle was the architect of the massive tax and fee increases in 2015 via SB 1 (SoDakLiberty Posts). It appears this time Vehle is offering legislation to “impose a county sales and use tax that would apply to sales that do not occur within a municipality thus not being subject to city sales and use tax.”

The Attorney General, Marty Jackley, had a presentation. He acknowledges costs that goes to the county. An example:

Mr. Jackley went through the growing number of criminal cases that are heard each year. The bulk of these cases are prosecuted by the county prosecutors, with the Attorney General’s (AG) office stepping in for various reasons. With very few exceptions, the costs for these cases are paid by the counties, even if the AG’s office prosecutes the case. One exception is if the crime takes place in the state prison, then the state is responsible for the cost because of where the crime occurred.

Rep Elizabeth May (R, Dist 27)brought up 2013’s SB 70 as a question for Jackley:

Representative May asked about the increased costs to the counties due to the passage of SB70. Mr. Jackley explained that the county is responsible for any costs attributed to anyone detained in the jail and the state is responsible for anyone held in the state penitentiary. SB70 established more probation presumptions and probation is a county expense, and that is the main reason SB70 has increased county expenses. When an offender is given probation, all costs, including drug and alcohol treatment, is the responsibility of the county

During committee discussion it was said by a few legislators that looking at reallocating current taxes would be better than a new tax. Rep May brought up a trend I think the committee should focus on:

Representative May pointed out that the common denominator is that the state makes the laws and the counties have to figure out how to pay for all the mandates. Perhaps the committee should take a look at what the statutes require of the counties and see if the state could fund some of those programs

10/28/15 Meeting

The meeting on Oct 28 actually has a pretty short agenda:

  • 9:00 a.m. Call to Order, Determination of Quorum, Approval of Minutes – September 16-17 meeting, Chair’s Remarks
  • 9:15 a.m. Draft Legislation (Review and Discussion)
  • 10:15 a.m. Public Testimony
  • 11:30 a.m. Draft Legislation (Action)
  • 3:00 p.m. Adjourn

It appears that for better or worse the outcome of this interim committee will be known on October 28.

A look at the South Dakota 2015 Freedom Index

October 26, 2015 1 comment

Earlier this week the South Dakota Freedom Coalition released the South Dakota 2015 Freedom Index (click the link to download as PDF). Freedom is an obvious topic for me, so I thought it would be worthy to look at this years freedom index bill by bill. The index scores ten votes for the SD State Senate and SD State House. Eight of the votes are the same for each chamber. There are also two votes that are specific to each chamber.

View the South Dakota 2015 Freedom Index PDF to see what the SD Freedom Coalition has to say. Below are my comments about each vote.

SD House votes

SD 2015 Freedom Index House votes.

SD 2015 Freedom Index House votes.

Vote 1 – Constitutional Convention – HJR 1001 –Enrolled –  SoDakLiberty Posts – Scored for both houses, Nay vote is a + on the index.

I believe a Constitutional Convention is just a bad idea all around. This particular application for a Constitutional Convention is being called for a balanced budget amendment. In my research on an Article V Convention I have found nothing to make me believe such a convention can be limited to a single topic. More likely the convention would convene with a series of proposed amendments coming from various political leanings. I could easily see an amendment coming out of the convention making healthcare a right that must be paid for by the taxpayers or an amendment saying corporations are not people. Those are already being proposed by progressive groups that support a constitutional convention. And as to the Balanced Budget Amendment proposed, does anyone really think the federal government will reign itself in, especially when the amendment includes an ambiguous “national emergency” clause.

Unfortunately HJR 1001 passed, meaning SD has officially submitted an application for an Article V convention. The legislators that voted against the resolution should be saluted for trying to protect the US Constitution from political whims. The pluses those legislators earned on this index are well deserved!

Vote 2 – Limit Authority of Delegates to a Constitutional
Convention – HB 1069 –Signed by Governor – SoDakLiberty Posts – Scored for both houses, Nay vote is a + on the index.

HB 1069 goes along with HJR 1001 highlighted in vote 1. This bill attempts to keep any delegate sent to a Constitutional Convention in line by imposing a fine of up to $5,000 for going against their orders. Since the actual Constitutional Convention is not likely to happen in South Dakota’s jurisdiction I don’t believe such a civil penalty could be imposed. But even if the fine could be imposed I don’t think someone thinking they were doing the right thing would be deterred. This particular bill did nothing but give false assurances in the event of a Constitutional Convention.

Unfortunately the bill passed both houses and is now in Chapter 2-15 of SD codified law.

Vote 3 – Tax Increase for Municipalities – SB 135 –Deferred to the 41st legislative day – SoDakLiberty Posts – Scored for both houses, Nay vote is a + on the index.

SB 135 made it through the Senate. It was then killed in the House State Affairs Committee. A smokeout forced it out of committee, but it failed the vote needed to actually place it on the floor calendar. This one was close! The bill was being pitched as a local control bill. I never thought the bill had a chance of passing with so many other massive tax and fee increases being passed in 2015. Plus, many opponents of the bill thought it was written specifically to allow taxes to be raised in municipalities in a way that would allow favors to be handed out (I tend to agree after reading the bill again).

Luckily the smoke-out attempt was not successful. I do expect to see this again in the 2016 legislative session.

Vote 4 – Right to Keep and Bear Arms – HB 1116 – Deferred to the 41st legislative day – SoDakLiberty Posts – Scored for SD House only, Yea vote is a + on the index.

This was a true constitutional carry bill that would have basically removed the penalties from anyone that wishes to carry a concealed handgun without getting permission from the state. Personally I think this bill should have passed. Using a right should never involve getting permission from the state. What killed the bill was the weak-skinned legislators that got tired of the constant calls and emails from people lobbying for this bill.

The bill passed the House, but was killed in the Senate Judiciary committee.

Vote 5 – Abolish US Dept. of Education – HCR 1003 – Enrolled – SoDakLiberty Posts – Scored for both houses, Yea vote is a + on the index.

Getting rid of the massive bureaucracy known as the Federal Department of Education would allow valuable tax dollars to actually be spent on education. I would think that anyone who actually cares about teachers and public education would want to get rid of this misguided bureaucracy. Education works best when its control is as local as possible. Ironically those pushing to keep the federal Dept of Ed are ignoring the stats showing that the massive bureaucracy has done nothing to improve education in the US.

The resolution passed both Houses. There was a noticeable number of Republicans that did not support the resolution.

Vote 6 – Petition Reform – SB 69 – Signed by Governor – SoDakLiberty Posts – Scored for both houses, Nay vote is a + on the index.

This bill was so bad it became involved in a lawsuit (full disclosure, I am a plaintiff in the lawsuit) and has now been referred to the voters as Referred Law 19. My summary of how the bill kept going downhill can be read here. This bill started out as a good idea, with some tweaks that needed to be made (most notably in the area of newly-formed parties). Instead of fixing the bill, Republican leadership took it upon themselves to make SB69 a bill that would further restrict any ballot access to those that might wish to oppose them.  This is a direct assault by SD Republican leadership on the rights of citizens to petition the government. It is also a top issue I will be looking at in the 2016 election.

The bill actually failed on the House floor. But after some prodding from leadership it passed a reconsideration. Any legislator that voted Aye on the bill should be ashamed of their action.

Vote 7 – SD Athletics Transgender Policy – HB 1195 – Deferred to the 41st legislative day – SoDakLiberty Posts – Scored for both houses, Yea vote is a + on the index.

This was an interesting bill to watch throughout the session. I actually thought it would pass. The South Dakota High School Activities Association (SDHSAA) is an odd organization because it was created through legislation, but thinks of itself as being its own entity. There are other areas I probably would have cracked down on the SDHSAA for, but this was not an unexpected place for the the legislature to  start taking an interest in the SDHSAA.

Before going on I will admit I have no problem with transgender individuals. I really don’t care if a boy identifies as feminine or a girl identifies as masculine. Actually I don’t think most people do care. I also do not care if there are coed locker rooms… But that is where most of society (especially in SD) seems to differ from me.

The SDHSAA transgender policy would allow a person of one sex to share locker rooms with people of the opposite sex. I will share an approximation of a conversation I heard at a Democrat fair booth this summer between a Democrat voter and a Democrat booth worker:

Democrat voter: I heard the Republicans were being mean to the poor transgender children.

Democrat booth worker: That is right! They won’t let transgender children play in the sport that is appropriate for them! And worse they won’t let them use the same locker room as the rest of the team!

Democrat voter: You mean putting two sexes in the same locker room?

Democrat booth worker: Yes, that is discrimination to keep a transgender student out of the locker room they identify with!

Democrat voter: Even if they have the parts of the opposite sex???

After overhearing this conversation I pulled the Democrat voter to the side. The Democrat voter admitted she didn’t realize the policy would allow sharing of locker rooms, bathrooms, or shower facilities. She said she is all for equal treatment, but she doesn’t want a “ding-a-ling” in her granddaughters locker room. In the future she said she might rethink supporting Democrat talking points without doing more research (I wish everyone would do that regardless of party).

I think if the Democrats try to make this an issue in 2016 they will lose with the older voters that are more likely to vote than younger liberal voters. I also expect to see SDHSAA become an issue in the 2016 legislative session. It should make for interesting blogging.

Vote 8 – End Common Core Participation – HB 1223 – Defeated on House floor – SoDakLiberty Posts – Scored for SD House only, Yea vote is a + on the index.

This particular bill is only being scored for the House, because it never passed that chamber. The long version of this bills history can be read here. Cliff notes version: the bill was tabled in Education committee to stop any debate about Common Core;  Rep Dan Kaiser (R, Dist 3) led a smoke-out on the bill to force it onto the floor; the committee sent it to the floor with a Do Not Pass; the floor failed the vote to put it on the calendar. That basically means the SD House floor voted NOT to debate Common Core. With how hot Common Core has become as a topic many of us felt this bill deserved to be debated on the House floor. Hopefully in 2016 the House floor won’t chicken out of having a debate on such a hot topic.

Vote 9 – Recognize Armenian Genocide – HCR 1009 – Defeated on Senate floor – SoDakLiberty Posts – Scored for both houses, Yea vote is a + on the index.

This resolution easily passed the House, but was killed on the Senate floor with a Table motion. It seemed odd the sudden move to kill the resolution with no debate; especially when the resolution has to do with a genocide. The resolution seemed to have some backroom politics going on…

Vote 10 – Big Tax Increase – SB 1 – Signed by Governor – SoDakLiberty Posts – Scored for both houses, Nay vote is a + on the index.

I actually published a post looking at every component of this massive tax and fee increase. There are quite a few legislators proud to have passed this massive tax increase. What bothers me most about the bill is that no actual attempts were made to get the infrastructure funding from other places in the budget that could be cut. Somehow I feel education funding increase will be treated the same in 2016. The legislature will use SB1 as a model to increase a number of taxes and/or fees without looking at other areas in the budget to cut.

SD Senate votes

South Dakota 2015 Freedom Index

South Dakota 2015 Freedom Index

Votes 1-3 – Use House votes from above

Vote 4 – Strengthen Relationship with Communist China – SCR 5 – Enrolled – SoDakLiberty Posts – Scored for SD Senate only, Nay vote is a + on the index.

This was an odd resolution asking for SD and local governments to partner with China. I will admit I didn’t really care one way or the other about the resolution. But considering how anti-freedom the People’s Republic of China is I wonder if it is a resolution that should have passed.

Votes 5-7 – Use House votes from above

Vote 8 – Youth Minimum Wage – SB 177 – Signed by Governor – SoDakLiberty Posts – Scored for SD Senate only, Nay vote is a + on the index.

SB 177 was an attempt to change part of the new minimum wage passed by the voters of SD in 2014. It is also a bill that put legislators in a position where they really had to think about their vote. On one hand SB 177 tries to fix a portion of the minimum wage law passed by voters in 2014. It is an attempt to prevent teen labor from being removed out of the labor pool. Actually I don’t think the new minimum wage removed teens from the labor pool as much as it put more teen labor into the grey market, where no payroll taxes are paid. But on the other hand legislators had to think hard about this vote because the voters of SD had just passed the new minimum wage and any attempt to change that law could be seen as trying to go against the will of the people. I guess it will be found out next year which way the voters of SD see SB177 because it will be sent to the voters as Referred Law 20.

Votes 9-10 – Use House votes from above

 

State-Tribal Relations interim committee meeting on Oct 26

October 25, 2015 1 comment
"Indian Camp" artwork in the SD State Capital building. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.

“Indian Camp” artwork in the SD State Capital building. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.

Monday, Oct 26, will be the third meeting for the State-Tribal Relations committee during the 2015 SD interim legislative session. The meeting begins at 10:00am in room 413 of the State Capital building. The minutes from the July 8 meeting can be found here.

I’ve listed the agenda below. Part of me wonders if the update from the AG’s Office will include the steps that the office will take when the recreational pot resort opens Jan 1 on Santee Sioux land. The AG’s office has already motioned they are looking at doing something with non-tribal members using the resort.

10:00 a.m. Call to Order; Determination of Quorum Approval of Minutes from July 8, 2015 Remarks

10:15 a.m. Wakpa Sica Update  Mr. Rick Vallery, Field Representative, Office of Congresswoman Kristi Noem

10:30 a.m. Update from Department of Tribal Relations  Secretary Steve Emery

11:00 a.m. Office of the Attorney General

11:45 a.m. Working Lunch

1:00 p.m. Committee Discussion Planning for 2016 Interim Reconciliation Proclamation

1:30 p.m. Public Testimony

2:00 p.m. Department of Education  Mr. Mato Standing High, Director, Office of Indian Education

2:30 p.m. Adjourn

Legislative Planning Committee Meeting on Oct 22

October 20, 2015 Comments off
"Indian Camp" artwork in the SD State Capital building. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.

“Indian Camp” artwork in the SD State Capital building. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15.

On Thursday, Oct 22, the Legislative Planning Committee will hold its third meeting of the interim session in Pierre. The first meeting was held on July 16 (minutes) and the second meeting was on August 31 (minutes). Most notable from the July 16 meeting was the mention of a workforce shortage in SD, yet there is a critically high rate of unemployment on the reservations.

The agenda for the October 22 meeting can be viewed here.  The area to keep an eye on is this agenda item:

  • Overview of Health in South Dakota—Indian health, possible Medicaid expansion, the work of the Primary Care Task Force; Kim Malsam-Rysdon, Secretary, SD Department of Health

With the Governor’s office motioning towards expanding Medicaid in SD it might be worth paying attending to this meeting. But more important is the inclusion of Indian health. There have been a few times in the last couple years I’ve seen legislators being called racists for talking about Indian Health Service. Maybe a conversation can now be had without such barriers.

The meeting will begin at 10 am in room 413 of the Capitol Building.

A few words with Rep Dennis Feickert about the County Government Interim Committee meeting today and tomorrow

August 19, 2015 1 comment
Rep Dennis Feickert speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15

Rep Dennis Feickert speaking on the SD House floor. Photo by Ken Santema 02/25/15

Today (Aug 19) and tomorrow (Aug 20) the County Government Interim Committee is meeting in Pierre. With the Blue Ribbon Task Force looking into education this committee will probably get little attention. But, I find it odd funding about education can be discussed without talking about county government funding. County governments are funded around property taxes, which have to compete with money that goes to education funding.

Last week I took a few minutes to talk with Rep Dennis Feickert (D, Dist 1) about the County Government Interim Committee, which he is a member of. Feickert is also a former Brown County Commissioner, giving him a good handle of both county and state level issues. Actually the conversation about the County Government came about after speaking with him about the transportation bill SB 1 (SoDakLiberty Posts) being passed this year. Feickert was mostly happy something was passed to fund transportation, but he noted the bill did very little to help out local governments.

When I asked about property taxes I asked Feickert what he would like changed. Specifically I asked if education funding should be removed from property taxes (something I’ve heard some commissioners around the state say they would like). He doesn’t advocate getting education funding out of property taxes. Instead he would like to limit the amount of money that goes to education from property taxes. Currently he said the formula does limit education funding from property taxes to a certain extend through the mil levy set by the legislature. But he says “it robs the local governments of a good funding source”. He thinks a good solid funding mechanism for education should be found so local governments aren’t competing for the same funding source. Feickert believes a small corporate income tax won’t push any businesses out of the state.

Talking specifically about the County Government Interim Committee Feickert hopes something good will come out of the study, but he isn’t going to hold his breath. He noted there are a variety of counties within the state that have different needs and issues. Some county governments need to fix issues with law enforcement and jails, while others such as Brown County are focused on infrastructure issues. As a former county commissioner Feickert hopes to continue being an advocate for county government in Pierre.

I don’t agree with Feickert about a corporate income tax. But after following both state and county politics for the last few years I agree that county level governments are getting screwed by the state on many levels. The state has consistently been pushing more of its duties off on the counties and municipalities in the name of local control (which I agree with); but at the same time the state refuses to allow the counties to raise the revenue needed to meet what is expected and have basically left the counties with a revenue stream that cannot be counted on. Perhaps it is time for the Republican majority in Pierre let go of some of its revenue and let the local governments utilize it. That is fiscally conservative talking point that many Republicans run for office on…

The meeting is going on as I write this post, and will continue into tomorrow. The agenda for the meeting can be found here. Personally I don’t think anything meaningful will come out of this for the 2016 legislative session. Education funding will be the highlight of next years session. And if something is done I would fear it would be the corporate income tax that Feickert and others have been talking about, and that would be bad from my point of view.

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