Recently we have read about the head of the South Dakota Office of Highway Safety resigning his position because of being arrested for drunken driving. As far as I know, no allegations that he was doing his job badly, but drinking and driving as personal behavior don't mix well with preaching that good neighbors drive sober.
Today (Wed, Oct 31, 2007 issue) )in the Mitchell paper we find in a story by Bob Mercer that the Rounds administration has spent some highway funds into a big pothole. Spending exceeded revenue. Who would have thunk that with a Republican administration in Washington that the economy and travel and thus gasoline tax revenue would decline below optimistic state predictions?
Apparently jacking highway spending up about $35 million while revenue fell about $11 million does not compute well. Projections don't look good according to the story. There were changes in the SD Highway Department administration, but it is not really clear from the story why or if that had anything to do with the coming serious budget deficits.
The South Dakota Board of Regents are carrying a dog and pony show all around South Dakota to drum up support for greater spending on higher education in multiple areas. Over the years with nearly complete control of state government by Republicans in the legislative and executive departments, there appear to be large needs for major infusions of funds into higher education to improve education and maintain enrollments in the face of declining numbers of highschool graduates.
I am not sure this qualifies as any kind of a pattern or not, but it suggests that there are problems in Pierre that are not all related to drunken driving and it also appears that the administrators in Pierre can just keep "driving" and "driving wrong way", "too fast for conditions", etc but they will mostly stay right in there and we will be gouged for more fees and more taxes.
Happily according to the bureaucrats and the residents of our larger cities, the value of farm land is going up. Whoppee, let us shift an even larger burden of support of governments at all levels onto agriculture even though the price of the land may have little to do with actual income generated by the land and farmers and their families get a smaller and smaller share of government services nearly every year.
I am not sure if all of us are or are not overtaxed, but there are serious problems and inequities with taxation in South Dakota and it does not appear that Republicans have the stomach or the ability to do anything that makes any long-term sense in undoing the damage they have done to South Dakota over the years with a combination of regressive taxes and low minimum wages.
***Stay tuned...and drive sober whether or not you are a state highway safety official--- Doug Wiken