Thursday, January 15, 2009

State House Alert!

An e-newsletter of the South Dakota Democratic Party sent to you because it's time to bring change to Pierre.

Date: January 15, 2009


Rounds' Do-Over Budget: Wasted days and wasted nights

Here's the link to the Argus Leader story on the tedium caused by Gov. Rounds' inability to deliver an accurate budget on time ( ). Legislators in both parties are concerned that the delay in getting a budget until Jan. 22 is going to make it difficult to make sound judgments about how to assign the top spending priorities in the next fiscal year. Democratic legislators thought Rounds' speech Tuesday was shallow and left
the legislature in the dark on how to prepare for fiscal challenges.

Democratic leaders say they won't wait for Rounds to come up with a solution next week that relies on hiking property taxes and passing a laundry list of higher state taxes and fees. The Democratic leaders will start to unveil their new plan Friday morning at a State Capitol press conference. Details of the Democratic strategy for the new budget will be detailed in the next STATEHOUSE ALERT as they are released in the next few days.

Don't forget to catch Sen. Scott Heidepriem and Rep. Bernie Hunhoff tonight on South Dakota Public Television's "Statehouse Tonight" program. It starts at 8 p.m. Central, 7 p.m. Mountain, and will also feature their GOP counterparts to discuss the 2009 session and Rounds' do over budget.

New direction in Washington will bring new opportunities for South Dakota

Some of the buzz around the State Capitol is over what could be in store for jump-starting South Dakota's stalled economy from the major jobs and economic recovery legislation offered by President-elect Barack Obama and counter offers in Congress.

The U.S. House Democrats launched an $825 billion version that gives less to individual tax cuts and more to local government projects than Obama's. Observers in Washington say it will be February before the votes are taken on the package. What does it mean for SouthDakota?

For starters, it means new employment at a time when hundreds of South Dakotans have lost their jobs since Jan. 1. City, county and state governments have their own wish lists, and there will be as many ideas of projects discussed as there are members of Congress. Advocates for wind energy foresee an opportunity to rebuild the nation's electrical grid, which could unlock South Dakota's wind generation potential. South Dakota has the fourth highest potential in the nation, but ranks only 26th in wind energy generation.

Governor Mike Rounds announced in December that one of his budget austerity measures is to refrain from attending the Obama Inaugural next week, which may save the state hundreds of -- perhaps a couple thousand -- dollars. With Congress and a new President deciding funds that will certainly create jobs and upgraded infrastructure in South Dakota, maybe Rounds should reconsider the importance of the trip and meet with our congressional delegation after he congratulates the new President.

Sioux Falls area volunteers conduct massive food drive for needy

An entirely volunteer-driven effort to gather canned foods and personal necessities for poor and homeless people is under way in the Sioux Falls area as part of a National Day of Service. The concept was requested as a non-partisan event by President-elect Barack Obama as a prelude to the Martin Luther King Holiday on Monday and the Presidential Inauguration on Tuesday.

The food drive is gathering items Jan. 17-18. Food items sought include hamburger and tuna helpers, meats and stews, boxes of saltine crackers, snacks and cookies, packaged chips, grape jelly, jars of peanut butter, canned fruits and vegetables and bags and boxes of cold cereals. Personal items sought include toothpaste and brushes, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner, skin lotion and hard soap bars. In Sioux Falls, the items will be given to the Food Service Center, and the contact is Richard Reedy at 605-361-2036 or email

Cathy Avery, one of the drive organizers, said she hopes to hold the drive each year and that it could become statewide in two years.

AROUND THE STATE - By Matt McLarty, SDDP Legislative Director

Keep an eye out for the press conference Friday with the Democratic legislative leadership on their solution to Gov. Mike Rounds' budget dilemma. The governor is back to the drawing board to deliver a "do over" budget on Wednesday. I think the plan delivered by Sen. Scott Heidepriem and Rep. Bernie Hunhoff tomorrow morning and the next few days will be a lot more in touch with current problems and realistic resources.

In case you don't know, my job for the South Dakota Democratic Party is to work with Bernie, Scott and our Democratic Senators and House Members on strategy, public relations and issue development. Rick Hauffe, the SDDP Executive Director, also works on the Legislative session while Field Organizer Amanda Mattingly is assigned to working with local precinct, county and legislative district leaders to put our State Party into top shape for the 2010 election cycle. Our goals for 2010 are as big as our
opportunity to bring change to Pierre ... as long as we remain focused and committed to bringing change.

Our SDDP Chair Jack Billion is a former legislator who has developed a 35-District Strategy to winning back the State Legislature and electing a Democratic Governor for the first time since Dick Kneip and Harvey Wollman left office in 1978. To Jack and all of us on the SDDP staff, winning elections in 2010 goes beyond just winning. It's about solving longstanding problems that have remained virtually unchallenged since Pierre became the captive of one-party rule in 1979.

The Republican Party has had it their way with legislative majorities and GOP governors since 1979, and still the major problems remain unsolved for working families in all 66 counties of our state, our children's public education systems, health care reform, and the severe hardships and challenges on the reservations and for Native People.

It is time for a change in Pierre, and it all starts here at the State Capitol with the 2009 Legislature. One-party rule here in Pierre, with a do-over budget and a record of no significant economic growth in the last several years, has proved itself incompetent for South Dakota's future. As Democrats, we have a chance to prove to the people there is a better way.

As Jack Billion has said, there is no problem in South Dakota that can't be fixed with the restoration of a truly two-party government in Pierre. But first, we've got to fix the Democratic Party in our state. I hope you agree and will help us make a difference for our state's future by investing in our campaign for change. Thanks.


The South Dakota Democratic Party provides professional staff and some of the best consultant support to our Democratic legislators. This newsletter is being sent to you to keep you informed of key issues and major developments in Pierre.

Please help us today with your check to SDDP for $100, $50, $25 or whatever you can afford today. By making a difference for the Democratic Party, you will help us and our legislators make a difference for South Dakota.


Paid for by South Dakota Democratic Party, P.O. Box 1485, Sioux Falls, SD 57101; Bill Nibbelink, Treasurer. To contribute, mail your check today to SDDP, P.O. Box 1485, Sioux Falls, SD 57101.

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