Senator Jason Frerichs (D-Wilmot) opens politely by thanking the governor for his service. But then he goes right to saying that we need to ask people to pay to keep these services alive. Frerichs expresses his hope that Daugaard will bring a budget package with some vision to the table and protect K-12 and Medicaid providers.
What else can we cut? asks SDPB's Cara Hetland. Frerichs says we can find some savings by closing wings of prisons and reviewing other programs.
Now Rep. Larry Tidemann (R-Brookings) from the appropriations committee. He says he's not surprised this budget is tight. Hetland asks about his position on education. Tidemann says the Legislature can look at this budget, find out whether schools can live with a 5% decrease. He says he wants folks to let legislators know what they think in the coming month. Contact Tidemann at his home number: 605-692-1267.
Tidemann says we need to invest in education, but everything is being cut. He acknowledges that the next discussion after how to cut those programs will be whether we raise taxes. At least he's thinking about it.
Rep. David Lust (R-Rapid City) joins SDPB's Stephanie Rissler to mumble some vagueries. he says federal mandates are coming home to roost on Medicaid (whatever happened to personal responsibility? why won't Republicans take ownership of the problems their bad management over the last eight years has caused?). Lust simply hopes that the economy gets better and decreases demand on Medicaid. He says the legislators will wait for Daugaard's budget.
Senator Bernie Hunhoff (D-Yankton) says a lot could change in the 90 days before the budget is due, particularly with new leadership. He says we have 120,000 kids to educate, thousands of old folks in nursing homes; we've got to find ways to pay for this, says Hunhoff!