Sen. Mike Vehle’s March 8 column needs correction. His friend who questioned last year’s state budget cuts being spent this year deserves the truth, not political spin.
The 2012 budget was passed last year with a $45 million structural surplus. That number was calculated based on Gov. Daugaard’s budget that I obtained online. I presented the analysis to all three District 20 representatives in a February 2012 forum, and none would respond and none has yet responded constructively.
Now we know they underestimated revenues by $51 million and over-budgeted Medicaid by at least $100 million based on actual spending for the year ending June 30, 2011. So that is how they can spend another $80 million via special appropriations in order to handout 5 percent bonuses to most all government employees, while saying only 20 percent of teachers deserve bonuses, from cuts made in the state aid to K-12 and Medicaid providers. They also moved nearly $40 million of the 2012 surplus to the 2013 budget so they can spend more than they have ever spent before.
Vehle also complained about the expected cut in federal money. Did you know that the state actually spent $232 million “LESS” in 2011 than what they had budgeted? The 2013 budget has $573 million more federal money than what South Dakota spent in federal money during the pre-recession, pre-Obama 2008 fiscal year.
In 2008, South Dakota state spending totaled just over $3 billion, and now it is budgeted at $4 billion for 2013. And Vehle is whining about the need to cut $45 million to $50 million in federal funds? We should be asked to cut 10 times more than that in order to get back to where we were pre-recession instead of passing on $800 million in additional debt to future generations.
But Sen. Vehle won’t work on that. Instead, he says his plan is to wait for the election to get over so he can go back to Pierre and raise our taxes and fees even more, just to give more tax breaks to his wealthy corporate campaign donors.
Anybody ready for a change?