Representative shares goals for time he will spend in office


Mitch Fargen

Hello again, from the state capitol in Pierre. The mood has already changed this week since Gov. Rounds dropped his revised budget request on us last week. I have listened to many concerns from you on some state programs that were cut, and I agree with most of you that Gov. Rounds might have jumped the gun by cutting these programs without looking at other areas we could find the money. My goal this Legislative session is to make decisions that will help the people of South Dakota be able to withstand this economic hardship that we find ourselves in. I believe the state government does not need to cut programs that help the people in this state or cut education in this state, but we need to trim the excess parts of the state government so we can get back to helping people and educating our children.

Over this past week, I have been faced with opportunities to sign on to many bills dealing with budget cuts, cutting programs, increasing fees and even increasing taxes. I decided not to support any increase in taxes or fees that do not directly go to helping the working families in South Dakota. If these taxes or fees just go into the general fund to help the increases in state government, then I decided I am not going to support them. Now if someone can prove to me that an increasing fee on government services directly helps the people of South Dakota by providing a needed service to them and does not just put a Band-Aid on the funding problem, I will support it. This week I voted against a bill raising fees in the secretary of state offices by over $1 million for the services of the state government. I believe it is too early in the session to be resorting to raising fees on the people of South Dakota. Let’s look at other options first before we go and tax the people of South Dakota.

Also, I am not in support of cutting good programs like the Birth to 3, the scarcity factor for schools or the increasing and decreasing fund for schools just because we could save money by cutting those programs and put it towards running our over inflated state government. These are the programs that the people need in times like this; we should not be cutting programs that will serve and help our people in this recession. We need to look at some other ways of finding money to run our state government that will not take away from helping the people that need the government the most; our children and the less fortunate and, for God’s sake, we can not go out there and raise taxes and fees on these people, either.

When it comes to Obama’s stimulus plan, we just cannot sit here in Pierre and wait for what the federal government is going to do with the stimulus money. If we did that it would only be one-time money, and it would only put another Band-Aid on our problems that we have in this state. We need to develop a long-term plan that will secure a funding source for our programs and educate our children on an ongoing basis. We cannot put in place a program one year and then take it out under someone’s feet the next.

Again, I would like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to represent you out here in Pierre. It is a great honor, and I am very excited and hopeful to get positive results coming out of Pierre this year. If you have any concerns, please e-mail me at [email protected] or call me (605)-773-3851.