Today the Mitchell Daily Republic's "Our View" promotes more deception put out by Daugaard regarding the state budget:
Gov. Dennis Daugaard and his administration deserve a pat on the back today.
Just two years ago, when Daugaard was running for governor, South Dakota was facing a projected budget shortfall of $127 million. During his first months in office, he swiftly proposed and shepherded through the legislative process a package of cuts that balanced the budget. It was a bold move, especially considering that the man he succeeded and served under as lieutenant governor, Mike Rounds, had only weeks earlier proposed a milder set of cuts and the use of reserves to balance the budget.
Monday, we learned the state ended its most recent budget year in June with a $47.8 million surplus.
Again we have the Mitchell Daily Republic promoting a Daugaard Deception that takes credit for reducing the 2012 budget $127 million. If you look at Daugaard's proposed budget as of January 2011 his $1,136,463,152 General Fund budget is only $12,365,660 less than the revised 2011 budget. That is $12 million, not $127 million.
But what is really interesting is page 4 of Daugaard's complete 2012 budget analysis which shows the projected revenue for 2012, as of January 2011, to be $1,138,768,298, leaving a pojected surplus of $2 million. The actual 2012 revenue was $1,282,385,593, or an increase of $144 million. If only $48 million went to reserves, then the other $96 million must have been spent, along with the $2 million projected amount! Now, were is that being reported? So a second Daugaard Deception regarding FY2012 is the surplus...it was $146 million (the $144 million extra revenue plus the $2 million projected surplus), not $48 million. And the MDR continues on with a very confusing response by the Democrats:
Of course, a surplus creates its own set of problems.
Immediately upon hearing the news Monday about the surplus, Daugaard’s adversaries in the Democratic Party began trying to spend it.
House Democratic Leader Bernie Hunhoff, of Yankton, didn’t mince words.
“It’s time the governor’s staff invest in communities across South Dakota instead of hoarding our tax dollars in Pierre,” Hunhoff said in a written statement.
My, how times change. Just two years ago, the Democratic candidate for governor, Scott Heidepriem, was telling anyone who would listen that the state faced a budget “crisis,” and that Daugaard wasn’t sufficiently concerned about it. Now Democrats are accusing Daugaard, who cut many millions from the state budget, of “hoarding.”
The last sentence contains two falsehoods. As shown above, Daugaard did not cut many millions, he simply redirected where it was spent. Second, Daugaard did not hoard all of the $146 million surplus, he spent $98 million some place.
So because of these two Daugaard deceptions, the MDR comes to this faulty conclusion:
The Democrats are playing politics, pure and simple, but there is a valid point buried within the rhetoric. That point is about surpluses, and the state’s responsibility to spend and invest them wisely.
So far, the extra money has been stashed in a reserve fund. We’ll have to wait until December to hear Daugaard’s next budget speech, and we suppose he and legislators will have plenty to say then.
Meanwhile, we should take a moment to appreciate what has transpired. When Daugaard proposed his drastic cuts two years ago, he envisioned a future in which budget deficits would no longer be an annual discussion topic.
That future has arrived, and the problems of surpluses certainly seem preferable to the problems of deficits.
Both parties are playing politics and the MDR don't have the accounting talent to understand it. As I have been saying for two years, there was no $127 million budget crisis in the first place. It was fabricated in order to justify actions that have resulted in higher property taxes and an initiative that proposed to increase sales tax rates 25%.
Perhaps the MDR should stop disregarding the free consulting they have been offered from a CPA who has a masters degree in accounting, and stop listening to those deceptive politicians who tell them not to listen to that CPA who has a masters degree in accounting.
Keloland also joined in by promoting a third Daugaard Deception:
In a written statement, Governor Dennis Daugaard said he is happy the economy is getting stronger.
"We continue to meet the goal of balancing the budget in a conservative manner without raising taxes," Daugaard said.
Senator Deb Peters, (R) Hartford, said she did not expect this much money to be left over.
"Obviously we were a little too conservative," Peters said.
How can you claim you did not raise taxes when revenues increased $144 million? Have you looked at your latest property tax bill and your latest license plate fees? And how can increased spending of $98 million beyond the original budget be considered conservative? And to top it off, schools are still operating under the reductions put into place two years ago (which makes the Democrat's hoarding charge seem true) and that is why your property tax bills have gone up. When will we have an investigative report by the media that cuts through "The Daugaard Deceptions" and tells us the truth about were our tax dollars are actually being spent? Perhaps they should look into the pockets of special interests whose lobbyists spend so much time in Pierre during the legislative sessions.
UPDATE: Would a true conservative consider tax decreases when revenues are unexpectedly up? Not Daugaard:
The governor said he is pleased that South Dakota's economy is strengthening faster than projected. The improved economy and growth in tax revenue means the state can continue to increase spending in important areas such as education, public safety and Medicaid, the state-federal program that cover health care costs for low-income people, he said.
"We want to use the taxpayer money the best we can to educate our community, provide for the elderly and take care of the folks who can't take care of themselves," Peters said.