More on the 1/4 Appropriations Forum in Rapid City

Part 2 of the discussion, picking up from the first post...

Senator Bill Napoli briefly discussed the fact that he’s involved in Amendment D, but he doesn’t want it to be a meeting about amendment D – he wants it to be about the appropriation process.

A question came from the floor about the structural deficit, with Napoli noting he doesn’t believe there is a structural defecit, because it’s really based on estimates. We spend based on projected estimates, and the term structural deficit comes in because we don’t meet our goals.

Haverly noted that also does not believe there is a structural deficit as well, based on his own explanation.

"Special Guest Legislator" Senator Jerry Apa explained the deficit as being akin to spending in a checking account with a ready reserve. You write more than you take in immediately, but you have the ready reserve to cover the shortfall until you can replace it.

He said he doesn't consider that we have a structural deficit, we have a savings account to temporarily draw on.

A question was posed from the floor - "is State Government’s spending akin to the federal government spending out of social security?" Senator Apa noted, "No. We do not draw on any dedicated funds. We draw on the interest, but we’ve never violated the principal to fund state government."

Senator Napoli spoke extensively on the Cutler-Gabriel amendment and how it applied to the property tax reduction fund.

A question came up on "the Napoli Bill” but as mentioned towards the beginning of the forum, Bill deferred discussion because "this is about appropriations and not abortion, gay marriage or Amendment D. " He did offer to meet privately with the questioner after the meeting. Interestingly enough, three people exited the meeting at that point. Apparently, they were there looking for a public Amendment D forum to argue their position in.

A question came up on business incubators within higher education, and Apa explained how the 2010 initiative allowed for money generated from the incubators to return to the universities.

Another question came out of the audience on monies from Educational Foundations. To which Senator Apa replied “You don’t want the legislature screwing up the educational foundations.”

The discussion on incubators picked up with Representative Haverly speaking on how there will be one in Rapid City, and he already is aware of a flu vaccine innovator who wants to possibly come out to the Rapid City location.

Perennial Democratic Candidate Gary Loudner spoke up and asked a question on laptops and highway roads (but it kind of rambled and he lost me because I was typing – sorry). And in reply Representative Haverly spoke on how the federal government is passing more and more down to the state where the Federal Government is abandoning programs and expecting the state to pick them up.

Apparently, Loudner’s question somehow went from the Governor’s programs on laptops to highways, and he completely lost me on how that applied to highways.

But Senator Napoli noted that the Highway fund was in pretty good shape, and he's not onthe transportation committee anymore.

This is another good place for a break from the action. Otherwise unless I compartmentalize the posts, I'm afraid they are going to get too long and boring.

After the event, over a late dinner I heard something that scared the pants off of me. I was informed literally as to many prominent Republicans who are readers of the SDWC. Former legislators, current legislators and activists.

Everytime I hear stuff like that, it makes me nervous. It's kind of like the line in the Spider-Man Movie; "With great power comes great responsibility."

What does that mean if you're at the level of mediocrity as I am? If I want to be great, (and greatly responsible) Do I have to forgo comparing the SDDP's Blue Note to flatulence? Does it mean I have to type things in Word first, so I can run spell-check? Does it mean no more references that half the audience doesn't get, like South Park?

Does it have to mean I have to be newsworthy and nice, and less of a snarky gossip column?

I hope not.

But in the meantime, I'll try to continue to bring you all the political news. The Great, the just mediocre and that stuff we'll relegate to the great heap of gossip.

And speaking of gossip, Alice McCoy was not in attendance, but I was told she sent her next door neighbor to scope out the event.

More still to come.... And Video Clips!


Anonymous said…
I wasn't at the forum, but I heard a little bit about it. I wonder if Loudner wasn't saying it might be better to invest $13 million in highway projects than in a laptop program that will help kids to keep in touch with their friends without having to worry about their teachers bothering them. I heard somebody else said it was 13 million dollars being spent on somebody's re-election, but he refused to say any names. Loudner and that other guy might be onto something.

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