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The 2012 election results will set the course for South Dakota's future. What route will voters choose? Photo by Bernie Hunhoff.
The 2012 election results will set the course for South Dakota's future. What route will voters choose? Photo by Bernie Hunhoff.

5 No, 2 Yes: One South Dakotan Votes

Oct 31, 2012


As I indicated in my last column, the only ballot issue I was really struggling with was Initiated Measure 15. I'm still queasy, but I've made my call. Here's one South Dakotan's recommendation for how to vote on the 2012 statewide ballot issues, in the order my ballot lists them:

Amendment M: No. I considered voting yes, based on new language that would authorize the Legislature to "enact laws governing the operation and dissolution of corporations." Then when my socialist comrades take over in Pierre, we'd have an easier time dissolving Citibank and nationalizing (state-a-lizing?) all the mega-dairies to convert them to grass-fed beef operations. Then I remembered that until the glorious revolution, Amendment O opens the door for our crony-capitalist Legislature to give corporations more leeway for monkeyshines. Nuts to that!

Amendment N: Yes. State employees get realistic mileage reimbursements for the travel they conduct while doing the work we hire them to do. Legislators are state employees, yet we make them take a loss on their mileage costs with one archaic provision of our constitution. Removing that archaic provision is a fair labor practice. Leaving it in place is nothing but petty.

Amendment O: No. Legislators want to change disbursements from the state cement plant trust fund from a fixed $12 million a year to a percentage keyed to the fund value. That sensible change would keep us from depleting the account when the stock market goes bad (see 2007 recession). However, legislators made one mistake: Amendment O also removes the provision that this disbursement be used to support but not replace state aid to education. That provision goes, and so does a guaranteed extra $12 million to support education. Oops. Try again in 2013, legislators!

Amendment P: No. South Dakota has balanced its budget, more or less, 123 years in a row, thanks to good sense, stinginess and a constitutional rule saying we can't go more than $100,000 into debt. Amendment P would add an explicit balanced-budget rule. The Governor and legislators say adding this rule is like wearing suspenders with a belt. I say we shouldn't make our constitution look like Steve Urkel.

Initiated Measure 15: Yes. This 25% sales-tax hike bolsters funding for K-12 education and Medicaid, both of which have suffered not just from the Governor's draconian 2011 budget cuts but from over a decade of state neglect. Yet it does so by making worse South Dakota's regressive tax structure. I thus vote Yes with hesitance and say to legislators, "We've handed you more revenue; now ease the burden on the poor by working on a food-tax exemption." I also turn to school boards and say, "Here's $700 more per student. Target that money toward your most needy students, so they get a fair return on the investment their low-income parents are making." $700 a year could subsidize a lot of student breakfasts.

Referred Law 14: No. Corporate welfare for footloose out-of-state vulture capitalists doesn't build lasting economic prosperity. If we must support state intrusions on the free market, we do more good for South Dakota by investing our tax rebates in lots of small local entrepreneurs and quality-of-life projects like roads, schools, and parks

Referred Law 16: No. No. No no no. For Pete's sake, no!

And for Pete's sake: don't forget to vote for all those nice Democrats on your ballot! They're better for your pocketbook!


Editor's Note: Cory Heidelberger is our political columnist from the left. For a right-wing perspective on politics, please look for columns by Dr. Ken Blanchard every other Monday on this site.

Cory Allen Heidelberger writes the Madville Times political blog. He grew up on the shores of Lake Herman. He studied math and history at SDSU and information systems at DSU, and is currently teaching French at Spearfish High School. A longtime country dweller, Cory is enjoying "urban" living with his family in Spearfish.


03:47 pm - Wed, October 31 2012
I have posted a similar list at Dakota Today, but with slightly different results. We may need to see who turns up for SDPB-TV discussion Thursday night.
05:53 pm - Thu, November 1 2012
larry kurtz said:
A/JUlie/?l: head over to DWC and grease Pat's zerc, k?
10:47 pm - Sat, November 3 2012
I am inclined to be skeptical about the legislative package in 16. It looks to me like a very big solution chasing a very small (or non-existent) problem. You have forced me to reconsider. You show all the signs of someone in a protected position who fears that the protection might not last. I feel your pain. Perhaps it would have been well to be less, let us say, conservative in your arguments.
03:55 pm - Mon, November 5 2012
Ken, trust me: the protection is minimal, but it serves a just purpose, protecting good teachers from getting axed for bad reasons.
03:56 pm - Mon, November 5 2012
...and really, Ken, if I were worried about protecting myself from... well, from whatever, I wouldn't be out here blogging.
03:16 pm - Tue, November 6 2012
Ed Goss said:
Funny teachers reward students with grades maybe an A or maybe lower. Coachs reward players by putting them on the starting team. But teachers are afraid to be awarded with bonuses so give em tenure so they worry about the good one being fired but don't worry about the poor one being fired well nuts.
07:21 pm - Tue, November 13 2012
Ed, as a teacher, I'm held accountable every day by my administration, by my students, and by my parents. If I'm not doing my job, I will hear about it. There is no tenure, and I'm not asking for tenure. Under current South Dakota law, any teacher can be fired at any time, regardless of that teacher's experience, for just cause. That's a fair system, based on due process.

And Ed, I only give kids A's because our system requires report cards. The "A" is not a reward. It is a measurement of how much work the kids have done and how well they've done it. The "reward" students get is the knowledge and skill set I try to impart and coach, which every student gets in equal amounts. That's socialism at its finest... literally.

As for coaching, well, I tend to coach activities where every student can start. When I direct plays, I lean toward plays where everyone has important parts, where the students work together as an ensemble. When I coach interp and debate, we generally don't have a varsity squad or "starters"; we throw every willing and able body into competition. I don't then buy supper for the kids who debate best and make the others suck on icicles.

In teaching, we've already picked our "starters" -- those are the teachers who are good enough to pass interviews and get hired. If we have starters who aren't performing up to snuff, it seems to make more sense to work to bring them back up to speed with the rest of the team. If they cannot perform at the team's level, then we replace them with qualified folks whom we pay a decent wage until they prove unworthy of it.

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