Billion/Rounds disagree on robbing the State Piggy Bank
The Rounds/Billion Campaign fight continues today, with State Senator Jerry Apa stepping in as referee in the Rapid City Journal:
Billion proposed his plan for a "drought property-tax assistance fund," after attending a town hall meeting on the drought Monday in Highmore. Billion said he would propose legislation to set up the fund with money that exists in state government, the state emergency reserve fund and/or a special one-time appropriation.Read it all here.
But the governor said he has done much more than encourage prayer. Rounds sought a federal disaster declaration for drought-punished counties that allows farmers and ranchers to hay or graze some of their Conservation Reserve Program acres and certain wetland acres.
The state also waived permit fees for hauling baled livestock feed, expanded the hours for over-width loads on highways and the interstate system and opened road ditches for mowing earlier than usual, he said.
"You could be talking as much as hundreds of millions of dollars," he said. "The resources simply do not exist within the state government today."
State Sen. Jerry Apa, R-Lead, chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said Tuesday that dipping into reserve funds and singling out farmers and ranchers for direct assistance doesn't make sense.
"You can draw on that piggy bank. But eventually, it will be empty," he said. "Then, what do you do with an empty piggy bank when you have to fund the programs that came out of that piggy bank?"