Last week, District 2 Reps. Lana Greenfield (R-2/Doland) and Burt Tulson (R-2/Lake Norden) both bucked the GOP leadership and voted for House Bill 1216, a measure proposed by Democratic Rep. Dennis Feickert (D-1/Aberdeen) to lift the cap on annual property tax increases. HB 1216 would have wrought a historic change in Janklow-era tax reform. Governor Dennis Daugaard opposed it, and the Republican majority killed it last week Wednesday.
At the Presidents' Day crackerbarrel at the Redfield Depot, Reps. Tulson and Greenfield responded to concerns from Spink County Sheriff Kevin Schurch and a Spink County Commissioner about jail costs by referring to their vote for HB 1216 as an effort to help counties get money to take care of such needs. Both Tulson and Greenfield criticized their Legislature for talking the talk but not walking the walk on local control:
Rep. Tulson: "I was a county commissioner, and many of you here have been there, or township board people. I trust you. You are not going to tax yourself unless you really see a need, not a want, but a need. I trust you, but... I don't know where it comes from, the trust that you guys couldn't do and make that decision yourself doesn't seem to be there in the Legislature."
Rep. Greenfield: "We always are so concerned about saying we need to have you manage it locally, and then we try to micromanage by voting for things that strap you.... I was disappointed that that cap didn't come off. It doesn't show much faith or trust in the local people" [crackerbarrel, Redfield, South Dakota, 2015.02.16].
It's not just me: even faithful Republicans like Reps. Tulson and Greenfield recognize that the talk of local control in the Capitol is a sham. The Republican majority doesn't trust local leaders to spend real money to fund basic government needs.