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Art, Talent, Jobs: What the Daugaard Budget Really Cuts

My friend and Brookings Middle School art teacher Eileen Hall puts Governor Dennis Daugaard's proposed 10% cut state K-12 education funding (and the potential impacts on the Brookings School District that raised her so well) in personal perspective:

My name is Eileen Hall. I have taught Art in the Brookings School District for two and a half years. If the proposed budget cut goes through, I will possibly lose my job or be cut to a half-time position. Fine Art provides youth with a global perspective, an outlet for personal expression, and allows for the development of critical thinking skills and fine motor skills, just to name a few of the benefits. Furthermore, this cut to education is a blow to the future of South Dakota. How can the education of our children not be our first priority? Uneducated children that will not be prepared for college will not benefit our state. It is an embarrassment to us all.

Secondly, my future husband works for the South Dakota Humanities Council. We are both highly educated and valued by our employers. If these cuts occur, we will be forced to leave this state and find jobs elsewhere. By allowing these cuts to happen, we will lose the most educated people in our state. Those that don't leave will instead be forced to apply for welfare, which only strains the state's budget further. Please, please don't allow these cuts to happen. Children are the future, and an uneducated future is bleak.

[Eileen Hall, letter to Senator Larry Tidemann, reprinted on Education First, 2011.02.16.]

I don't want Eileen or Steve to leave South Dakota. I'll pay more taxes to balance this year's budget and keep their talent, their ideas, and their decades of future job-creating and tax-producing potential here. We all should.

p.s.: Let us hope Senator Tidemann heeds this entreaty from Ms. Hall with more civic sensitivity than Messrs. Gosch, Tornow, and Greenfield did to a similar warning from another South Dakota educator about the harm the Daugaard budget could do to our fair state and the people who serve it.


  1. Wayne B. 2011.02.17

    Does anyone have any figures on the effect of increased taxes on job growth/loss? We know the estimated fallout from the 10% cuts. Maybe someone could pin down emeritus economics professor Ralph Brown? While you and I might be willing to raise our tax burden some to help ease the damage, we really should be looking before we leap - try to avoid the big rocks in the lake, if you will.

    I haven't found any analysis of increasing sales taxes on jobs and quality of life... I think we need it.

  2. snapper 2011.02.17

    Athletics are very important though!!!

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2011.02.17

    Holy cow, Wayne! That study for Arizona was remarkable. It shows job losses for both sales tax increase and budget cuts, but the budget cuts cause twice the unemployment and labor income loss. Ouch. That study also notes that a sales tax increase shifts a little of the pain to tourists. Budget cuts seem to hit South Dakota workers much more directly. If we can at all extrapolate the Arizona finding to South Dakota, it suggests that we lessen the pain by going with the tax increase.

  4. Vincent Gormley 2011.02.17

    Not only does art involve using one's left brain, the creative side, it feeds ingenuity, instill's confidence just as much as sports, and art foster's tourism and industry. In the interest of full disclosure I am an artist.

  5. Wayne B. 2011.02.17

    I think that last bit, Vincent, is why Daugaard isn't cutting chamber of arts funding - good arts programs means draws for tourists, and compounds the benefits of that extra .5 cent tourism tax.

    By the way, Dr. Bucklin's letter (referenced in post script) rankled me a good little bit too. If someone told me they were going to draw a paycheck from the state, but support the people of the state as little as possible because he disagreed with the policies... and threatening to encourage others to make the situation even worse... well, I can't say I'd be terribly kind in my response either.

    Mrs. Hall's response is much more entreating and civil - explaining a crisis faced and fears vocalized. "If bad things happen, we may have to leave... and that'd be a shame because we love it here and we're positive influences on our community, but we have to follow the jobs" versus "I'm gonna stick around and mooch, and make things worse for the state if you don't fix it."

    Totally different messages.

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