Governor Rounds or Pilot Rounds


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The recently reported increase in the “airplane” budget for our state is alarming. The amount budgeted for the operation and maintenance of state airplanes in our state rose by 78% between 2003 and 2004, from $428,702 to $761,588.

Governor Rounds claims that this increase is acceptable, because air travel saves time and reduces the necessity of drive time. However, the number of miles driven on state business is also increasing. Where are the savings?

Technology is supposed to make our lives easier. Our options for communication are much greater than they were ten years ago. How much more of a benefit does our state get when the Governor travels extensively to conduct official business? Couldn’t he accomplish some of the same things by staying in Pierre more often?

What makes this situation even more reprehensible is that Rounds is now mixing personal travel for family and friends in as well. This is an abuse of South Dakota taxpayers. Governor Rounds has indicated that he will not change his flying ways. Perhaps it is time for South Dakotas to ground their Pilot-Governor, Rounds.

Mitch Fargen