Democrats Common ground platform.
Okay, cut to the chase. How much?

In an article in the Rapid City Weekly news, the Democrat's presented their common ground plan. My question - Come on people. You can't tell us what this is all of this going to cost, can you?
In an effort “to appeal to all South Dakotans east and west, rural and urban, Democrat, independent as well as Republicans,” Lena said, “this agenda is common sense, balanced and established sound fiscal policy.

“Our proposal establishes a new direction for South Dakota. We call this proposal Common Ground.”

Backed by 90 Democratic legislative candidates, the Common Ground platform has three basic tenets:

♦ Your paycheck … bigger
♦ Your tax money … used responsibly
♦ Your family’s future … brighter


“In the 2007 legislative session Democrats will introduce legislation that directly benefits the pocketbooks of South Dakotans,” said Hemmingsen. “These include tax free zones for small business start-ups, raising minimum wage … ,” at this point the small library conference room echoed with applause. “Restructuring the ready fund to include small businesses and requiring the ready fund to pay a living wage.”


“I want to see a use of our tax dollars to promote families and one of the ways we can do that … is help enhance school funding by … putting state growth on a diet and reverting those funds to education,” he said.

“Democrats will introduce legislation to unite South Dakotans, not divide them. We’ll build coalitions with responsible Republicans and focus on issues like education, … better-paying jobs and better health care coverage,” he said to another round of applause across the room.

“There are currently 90,000 people in this state that are uninsured, that is a travesty … we need to do something about that and do it now.”

Finch also mentioned introducing legislation to make the government open and accountable including asking for a complete audit of all government agencies.


“The Democrats support the partial release of state reserve funds to provide much-needed assistance to farmers and ranchers and small businesses hit by this drought,” he said further saying that those funds are there for that need. After his brief words the floor was opened for questions.
Read it all here.

Okay, let me see if I can get this straight. Here's what I took from the article that the Democrats want to do:
Tax Free Zones
Raising minimum wage
Restructuring the REDI fund
Promote Families
Stop State growth, and put those funds into education
Better health care coverage
Insure 90,000 uninsured South Dakotans
Audit of Government agencies
Release reserve funds for drought relief.
So, how much is it going to cost?

The positive effect on businesses by the tax free zones will be wildly offset by the leap in unemployment by all the people who had to be let go because of the raise in minimum wage.
Just because you raise the wage, doesn't mean businesses have the money to pay it.

An unspecified amount more to education, more being spent on a vague concept for promoting families, and the expense of a system wide audit.

Drought relief is needed. But what about next year? And the next? At some point, the kitty can't cough up another furball for ongoing expenses. That's why such reserve disbursements are typically saved for one-time expenses.

Again, how much is it going to cost? Someone should ask the question, because the Democrats sure aren't answering it.

I'd note that the Democrats might want to clarify their talking points on the matter:
♦ Your paycheck … gone, because we couldn't afford to employ both of you.
♦ Your tax money … Spent. And Spent again.
♦ Your family’s future … I'm sure the job loss was a bummer. But look, we're promoting you.
There. That's probably more accurate.


Anonymous said…
And what can the Republicans promise? Re-elect us and we will do our best to take away more of your rights? That makes me want to run right to the polls and cast my vote for less freedom.

Or maybe the South Dakota GOP can take a cue from the Bush administration. Let's cut the income, increase the output, and see how much debt we can incur for future generations.
Anonymous said…
Cut the income? Ummm...apparently you didn't benefit from the tax cuts. How about the refunds?
Anonymous said…
You have to have enough income to get refunds. We farm. Any other questions?
Anonymous said…
Scare Tactics.

I can't believe our Repblican party has pulled out the spectre of a state income tax.

Are these the same Republicans that created our cell phone tax last session?

And, we have nearly $900 million in reserves right now?

What happened to my good old Republican party?
Anonymous said…

Again, in a vain attempt to criticize a good idea, you sound just like
Frederick and the GOP leadership.out of new ideas. Democrats are the
ones with a plan, not Republicans, Democrats are the ones united, not
Studies show that raising the minimum wage does not cause job loss, but
you should ask Mike Rounds to confirm that since he proposed his own
minimum wage hike. Most businesses pay way over the minimum wage anyway.
They are very specific to the amount they want to give to education -
$820 more per student as laid out in the Alliance Education Bill (SB
120). To say that they are not specific is wrong and another weak
attempt to throw rocks at people trying to move this state forward.
Under the current 'plan' school districts are opting out in record
numbers just to maintain basic services and school districts are suing
the state for more funds.
The expense of an audit? Are you seriously going to use this as a
critique? How many times have you labeled yourself a 'fiscal
conservative' on this blog? The real thing that scares those in power is
someone else knowing where the money is. The state government has grown
by 20% in three years. That's almost hard to comprehend. Is this the
party of Reagan.or Goldwater? To suggest that we shouldn't find out
where the money is and why government has grown so big and what we can
do to stop the explosive growth is not sound. The benefit of an audit
will far outweigh the cost.
I agree, drought relief will cost money. So does laptop pilot programs,
so does social legislation that leads to lawsuits, so does buying E85
vehicles that don't use E85. The Democrats are proposing a change in
priorities. We can either sit by and watch our farms, ranches, and small
businesses that rely on them blow away, or we can do something with the
billion dollars in reserve hoarded in Pierre.

Aunt Sam
Anonymous said…
This is not scare tactics. The Dems have proposed a platform of appealing proposals. They have a responsibility to explain how they are going to pay for it. That is part of governing - if they ever want to get back into power in state government, they have to be prepared to do that.
Anonymous said…
I think that before I give any creditability to these attacks by republicans I need to see what their plan is. ( chirp)
Anonymous said…
The Republican plan has been in place for the past 4 years of the Rounds administration: Higher taxes, bigger government, shortchange education - force opt outs, keep our ranking for 5 of the 10 poorest counties in nation, generate lawsuits, follow the leader.
Anonymous said…
I am tired of hearing that we have over 900 million in reserves. We have a little over 100 million. The rest is put away in trust funds earning many millions in interest every year to fund our government without taking away the principle. Would you sell your business to have money for other expenses?
The cell phone tax was implemented to bring equity between the landlines and wireless companies. Landline companies are centrally assesed based on the amount of buildings, wires, etc. and were taxed to a much larger degree than wireless who don't have the same infrastructure. The difference between your cell phone bill and your wireless bill is the tax on the wireless bill is a separate line item because it's a gross receipts tax versus a landline bill that is built into your monthly charge. As Republicans, we believe the only fair tax is one that everyone pays as equal as possible.
Credible studies from leading universities and one from our own USD concluded that raising the minimum wage has a detrimental effect on employment and subsequent raises in pay. The law of supply and demand always has and always will be the best beacon for economics.
All PP is asking along with the rest of us is how are you going to pay for these plans. I can tell you right now that auditing state government isn't going to pay the bills. Most of these plans require ongoing revenue with inflation so taking some money out of the reserves won't cut it either.
We can put another $820 into the formula but where do you think almost half of that money comes from? It boils down to a forced opt-out because more local effort is required. Republicans have put more money in outside the formula to keep from raising property taxes higher than they already are.
Yes, it is year by year but that's how you run your business and your family budget.
The Republican plan is to keep passing balanced budgetes, keep our number one designation as the best small business climate in America, remain one of the lowest taxed states in the nation, keep pushing to be a leader in science and research via the DUSEL and universities, remain one of the top performing states in education, continue to expand bio fuels at a rate faster than any other state in the nation, grow tourism through the 2010 Initiative, create better markets through SD Certified Beef and I could go on but this is getting long.
I want to address the 5 poorest counties point. All I can say is that is a shining example of what happens when government creates dependence because these are all reservation counties. It sounds really nice to say that the Democrats are going to "do something" about economic development on the reservations but you can't call that a plan. We currently meet with tribal officials on a regular basis to figure out what the state can do to help.
I don't agree with the state income tax threat because the people won't go for it regardless of how much Pierre spends.
Medicaid, TANF, Law Enforcement/Corrections and EDUCATION have been most of growth in our government. Let's hear the Democrat plan for cutting this growth that they so often criticize.
Anonymous said…
Just more dissembling, 5:50. Here's a counterpoint:

5 Major Reserve Funds: 1999: $92 million. 2006: $862 million. Enough said.

Cell phone vs. Landline tax: It's true this is an equity matter between the two. But we could have passed a revenue neutral cell phone tax by lowering the landline tax by the same amount we increased the cell phone tax. Republicans didn't want revenue neutral - they wanted a tax increase. Enough said.

Minimum wage increase: $5.15/hr. Hasn't been raised since 1997. Does gas cost more than 9 years ago? Cars? Clothing? Groceries? Daycare? Medical costs? Rent? Enough said.

5 of 10 poorest counties in Nation: actually we have 6 of the 11 poorest. Enough said.

The challenges of SD are not being addressed. The opportunities we have (wind energy) have not been vigorously pursued. We can't even figure out a simple thing like making specialty license plates like all of our surrounding states have.

The bureaucracy in Pierre keeps all the same faces with every Republican governor. They just move around, and nobody has had a new idea for 20 years. It's way past time to sweep everybody out of government whose asses have been growing roots in government chairs.

We need to elect Billion to do that. Give him 4 years, and you'll see a real change for the better.
Anonymous said…

I guess it's impossible to argue against ignorance.
There is no way, even if it were legal, to make the wireless tax revenue neutral by offsetting the landline tax.
The TRUST funds (NOT RESERVES) are mostly one time payments the state received. It is totally irresponsible to fund ongoing expenses with this fund. It is much better to lock up the money, earn a great deal of interest and THEN fund ongoing expenses.
Your minimum wage argument I can't convince you because you are a liberal that thinks private business doesn't know how to pay their employees.
What is your plan for the reservations? Looking into them and "helping" them isn't a plan.
Personally I think Billion knows he doesn't stand a chance so he proposes all these spending programs without any reference as to how he will pay for them. If by some total freak of nature he gets elected, he will start sweating bullets when realizes he can't pay for a fraction of what he proposed.
Anonymous said…
1:25, there were revenue projections for the cell phone tax when it was passed - as there always are. Are you saying the landline tax couldn't be lowered to equalize the two taxes? That's just a stupid claim that a tax can't be lowered or that it's illegal to do it. You're apparently from the tax increase/never decrease wing of the GOP.

As to the reserve funds, you think it's better to invest all of the money out of state like we have been doing while South Dakota struggles and schools opt out. Bring some of the money home - and I said SOME (because your next false argument is that Dems will empty the reserves). When the money is used in South Dakota, we get a multiplier effect when it turns over in the SD economy as people spend and respend it. The multiplier effect (Rounds administration has claimed money turns over up to 7 times when they argue for multiplier effects) generates more sales tax revenue for the state than the interest we get investing the same amount of money out of state. Talk to an economist if this is above your head.

You have no good argument against a minimum wage increase except your position in favor of taxpayers subsidizing healthcare, food, housing, for employers who won't pay a living wage. You are the perpetuator of the welfare state. Democrats would like nothing more than for people to earn enough to pay their own way.

Rounds has no plan for the reservations. In 4 years he hasn't even tried to change things for our poorest citizens. Billion cares. Rounds cares about his new mansion, plane, and his family's distillery. Enough said!
Anonymous said…

Your post is a clear example why the Billion camp and it's supporters won't say how they will pay for their programs.
For one, like 3:18 here, doesn't understand how our tax system works. Let me educate you about my so called "stupid claim." We have classes of property and landline companies are taxed commericial. YES IT IS ILLEGAL to lower their tax levy from other commercial businesses. The only way to do it is create another class and what are you going to call it, the landline class? And for someone who thinks we should spend so much more money on education, where do you think property taxes go? Why don't you go to the education folks with your little revenue neutral idea?
How in the world would you make it revenue neutral anyway?
You are so short sighted that you think that the number of landlines are staying the same while wireless increases. We are not revenue neutral yet but it won't be long as the number is closing quickly. The projections that were given during the proposal aren't even close to the numbers of today. Don't talk about taxes anymore since you clearly don't understand them.
We already spend a lot of money in state fostering new business. You say we should "spend it in-state" but you don't say on what. Are you going to go out with the state checkbook and write a check to every person who has an idea or wants to start a business?
You are claims are baseless about sales tax revenue exceeding interest revenue, you are guessing based on some utopian idea that if we invest in certain businesses and they start making so much money and start bringing in sales tax revenue...nice try!
Since you insist on bringing up minimum wage again, I guess I will repsond.
Any person worth anything at all will be making much higher than minimum wage even if that is where they started. For some businesses that do pay minimum wage or slightly above, they offer benefits. Benefits are worth more than pay and we both know how high healthcare is getting these days so it's either pay increase or loss of benefits. Or here's a novel idea, get a higher paying job!
Anonymous said…
6:07 the truth comes out. You think people making minimum wage are worthless. And at the same time you are you stupid enough to believe that businesses paying minimum wage are giving those employees healthcare and other benefits? You're really not from this planet.

You don't understand economics either. In the past 3 years our education enhancement fund has grown by $31 million. This is UNSPENT INTEREST. Meanwhile, we're forcing schools to opt out while the state stockpiles money. The Rounds administration has argued in the past that money spent in state circulates in the economy up to 7 times. Simple math then: $31 million x 7 = $217 million economic impact. Sales tax on $217 million @ 4% = $8.68 million (State share only - more to cities). Even if not all of the money is spent on things subject to sales tax, we still have the economic impact that we don't get with money invested out of state. What's the investment return on $31 million? We're not getting 10%, but if we were, the revenue to the state would be $3.1 million.

Here's all that anyone needs to understand about taxes, despite your attempt to muddy it up: Rounds and the Republicans have raised taxes in the past 4 years while our reserve funds have gone from $767 million to $862 million.

Bigger government, higher taxes, people making minimum wage are worthless. 6 of the 11 poorest counties in the nation. Pretty bleak "vision" the GOP has for South Dakota. Enough said

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