Round’s budget remains a hot topic

Jason Frerichs

Jason Frerichs

Presently, bill filing is nearly complete and now our focus as a Legislature is to discuss and determine action on the bills provided from Legislators and State agencies.

Much of our actions taken on bills to this point are results from summer studies and the pre-filed bills by state agencies.

The Governor’s proposed budget continues to be the main topic of discussion in the halls of our state capitol. I have deep concerns with the proposed serious cuts to education programs, State Fair funding, removing the Arts Council and cutting funds for Cooperative Extension.

I am proud to partner with Sen. Julie Bartling sponsoring a bill that will allow school districts whole-grade sharing. This will basically allow school districts to partner and also offer more opportunities for their students. The minimum school enrollment will still be in effect and the school districts will not be consolidated, but they may choose to consolidate eventually after working together.

I am not in support of the proposed increase in fees by Gov. Rounds and the various departments. We had our first vote on the House floor pertaining to the increase in fees proposed to balance our budget. I am still a firm believer that we need to continue to make smart cuts in state government.

There has been some discussion from various individuals to propose an increase in sales tax to meet our budgetary needs. I am in opposition to these efforts, because I believe our sales tax is very regressive and we would only add fuel to the fire.

Job losses continue to affect all of South Dakota. We all need to find ways to work together so that we can weather these difficult economic times.

As always, I enjoy hearing from you, so please send me an e-mail at [email protected]. I am also providing legislative updates on my Web site: Feel free to give me a ring anytime at 949-2204 or 773-3851.