While the South Dakota MSM celebrate Obama’s pork package as our savior for our faux budget crisis, the truth is that Porkulus is causing a future South Dakota state budget crisis. Here is a clue to what I am talking about:
The South Dakota Senate restored funding for the Birth to Three Connections program Monday, reversing a proposed elimination of the program amid broad state government budget cuts.
Birth to Three Connections is part of a federal program called the Early Intervention Program for Infants and Toddlers with Disabilities. It is designed to help children with both major and minor disabilities.
The budget cut was proposed last month as part of a broad set of funding reductions proposed by Gov. Mike Rounds. The administration supported the funding this week, however, because the stimulus package required state participation to receive federal funds.
So Porkulus prevents us from cutting state spending. Here is why that is causing a budget crisis:
The approximately $600 million South Dakota will get from the federal economic stimulus measure will help the state get through the next two years and avoid some program cuts, Rounds said. But the governor said he and the Legislature must start preparing now for when the federal money runs out.
State tax collections are unlikely to grow enough to cover spending once the federal aid ends unless something is done to slow the growth of spending or increase revenue, he said.
If nothing is done, ongoing state tax collections could fall $125 million short of projected spending in the budget year that ends in June 2011, the governor said. The state still would be receiving some federal money that year, but the problem would grow worse in the following year when that money ends, he said.
And again here is how Porkulus prevents South Dakota from fixing its current structural deficit spending:
South Dakota is getting nearly $100 million, or about $11 million for each of the next nine quarters, for the state-federal Medicaid program that pays the medical expenses of low-income people, the governor said. The federal government will increase its share of the cost by 6.2 percent, which will save state money, he said.
To qualify for the Medicaid money, the state will have to maintain its program at last year's level, which means cuts proposed by the governor must be withdrawn. He had proposed eliminating payments for dental and chiropractic services.
The governor said South Dakota also is getting $102 million designed to make sure spending is not cut on K-12 education, technical schools and universities. That likely means some proposed cuts in education will have to reinstated, he said.
So the federal government is forcing South Dakota to spend more than it should in order to get money that is being borrowed from taxpayers of future generations. This has to be the height fiscal irresponsibility.