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Russell Olson Supports Education with Words, Not Dollars

Let's start on a positive note: Senate Majority Leader Russell Olson is supporting education by backing Senate Bill 58, which would extend a 50% tuition break at tribal colleges to Native Americans serving in the South Dakota National Guard.

Of course, SB 58 fails to specify how the Department of Military and Veterans Affairs will pay for this new benefit when we're cutting state government 10%. (The bill also misses a to in clause 5.) And lest you think Senator Olson is planning to buck Governor Dennis Daugaard's proposed 10% budget cuts, check out his comment in last night's Madison Daily Leader:

10 percent across-the-board-cuts appear to be a good idea under the current circumstances [Sen. Russell Olson, quoted by Chuck Clement, "Olson: Governor Has Support for Budget Cuts," Madison Daily Leader, 2011.01.20].

In other words, Senator Olson thinks cutting $552,000 from the Madison Central budget is a good idea. Add that to floating a new (and yes, perfectly justifiable) entitlement without proposing how to pay for it, and you see a senator whose support for education is all talk and no fiscal action.

p.s.: Four days later, Senator Olson is still blocking a taxpaying constituent from following his Twitter feed.

One Comment

  1. Rod Goeman 2011.01.21

    There are ways to balance our budget for 2012 using a combination of reductions, short term increases of fees or sales tax on entertainment and lodging and minimal use of reserve or trust fund earnings. Recommending a slice & dice 10% across the board cut is irresponsible and thoughtless for either party, and I hope Republicans find ways to balance our budget without placing half of the burden on the backs of our children through additional K-12 budget slashing. Take a breath, step back and look at each area of the entire budget based on individual merits, not treating every area as equally unnecessary. Putting out a 10% across the board reduction will result in a tremendous increase in our unemployment, more people on medicare/medicaid, a raid on our unemployment fund and lower sales tax revenue. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, right? Balancing the budget over a 3 year period would allow the economy to catch up to assist the balancing effort without so much disruption.

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