Billion/Rounds Debate in Spearfish. Moderated by Kris Kringle
Governor Mike Rounds debated challenger Jack Billion in Spearfish yesterday as reported in the Rapid City Journal (where this photo is from). The debate was moderated by Santa Claus:
The Republican governor answered challenges from his Democratic opponent, retired Sioux Falls surgeon Jack Billion, during a debate at the annual conference of the South Dakota Municipal League. When Billion questioned the effectiveness of the governor’s economic development policies, Rounds noted the state’s nation-leading 20.5-percent increase in per-capita personal income during his first three years as chief executive, as well as the addition of 18,000 jobs statewide.Read it all here at the Rapid City Journal.
“And those are good jobs. They’re not low-paying jobs,” Rounds said.
In addition, the gross state product has grown to a new high of more than $29 billion, Rounds said.
Billion questioned the governor’s numbers on job creation, saying Rounds had previously used different figures. Whatever the actual number, Billion said, they were created by private-sector development, not by the governor and his policies.
The Rounds administration has been successful in creating new jobs for state employees at taxpayer expense, however, Billion said.
Rounds said he had nothing to apologize for in the addition of the equivalent of 1,000 full-time positions in state government. About 700 of those jobs were in the state higher-education system, often for professor and essential research-assistant positions necessary to move the state forward in education, research and technological developments, Rounds said.
Many of the other FTEs were state-government positions in areas such as fire protection and prison guards and drug dependency counselors, Rounds said.
“I make no bones about it; I will ask for more FTEs when I think they’re justified,” he said.
Ho, Ho, Ho. No toys for Jack Billion at Christmas. Or in November.