Author Archive - Cory Allen Heidelberger

KELO Blogs Dead! Long Live the Blogs!

Posted: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 9:00 pm
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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The South Dakota Blogosphere lives on!

Keep reading the best original writing online by your South Dakota friends and neighbors:
KELO Blog Alumni:

More South Dakota Political Blogs:

Greater SD Blogosphere:
…and even some homegrown wingnuts:

For over three years, a hardy corps of South Dakota bloggers have contributed commentary to the KELO website, under the current heading “Issues Blogs.” I’ve done my part to contribute some Madville Times content, usually one a day, for no more compensation than the pleasure of some URL referrals to my home blog and folks threatening to try me for treason and run me out of the country and telling me I’m generally full of s#!%. Ah, show biz….

But the curtain falls next week Wednesday. KELO Managing Editor Jaine Andrews e-mails us volunteer KELO bloggers (and some who haven’t posted for months) to inform us that KELO is removing the Issues Blogs from its website. Andrews cites “low number of regular contributions and our desire to take the site in a different direction.”

The experience has been generally enjoyable. While the capacity for anonymous and pseudonymous comments predictably led to ruder dialogue on the KELO site than on my own blog, I still enjoyed the challenge of defending my point and sometimes covering stories and viewpoints that slipped below the radar of KELO and the rest of the professional media. And to their credit, in my three-plus years of association with KELO, the professional newsroom tried to exercise editorial authority over my content just once. KELO was wrong… but one error in over three years isn’t too bad, especially when I rode their backsides on TransCanada bias and other issues.

So Badger, taxpayer, Jason, Dave B, Dean, jackie, and everyone else who’s come to the KELO blogs to throw kudos or kumquats at me, thank you for the conversation. I can’t save your comments (well, I could, but it would take me forever!), but everything I’ve posted on KELO is available here on the and on the 2005–2010 archive site on

And your further spitballs, speculations, and sparkling conversation continue to be welcome here on the Madville Times.

What Does Bicycling Mean in Rural Towns? Madness.

Posted: Friday, January 7, 2011 at 9:17 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Reimagine Rural highlights the upcoming South Dakota Bicycle Summit in Pierre January 21–22. RR’s Mike Knutson asks what bicycling means for rural communities.

I can tell you that in my community, bicycling means, “That guy’s nuts!”

I haven’t ridden my bike as much this winter as I’d like. But on one of the milder days before Christmas, I threw on a couple layers and looped around Lake Herman to town on my trusty GT mountain bike. No major snow tech required: just my usual knobby tires, my hiking boots instead of my light biking shoes, my backpack warmly hugging my shoulders and tummy, and my blaze orange hat and reflecto-ankle straps to say, “Hey! See me! Don’t run me over!”

It was a perfect winter day to ride. The south breeze was well short of lean-into magnitude. With the temp in the teens, my limbs and face didn’t freeze and the snow on the road didn’t melt. A nice coat of clean, crumpy snow (you know, crump, crump, the sound your feet make) gives better traction than warmer slick snow, and it’s much nicer to ride over than the gritty road slush of 30 degrees.

Yet when I stopped at the library, neighbor and trusty librarian Bruce looked at my gear and couldn’t believe I’d come on two wheels. His disbelief fit the default assumption of nearly everyone in Madison that bicycles get put away in November and don’t reappear until April. What few bike racks we have around town will remain buried under snowpiles until nature takes its course. Even during those blessed six mild months, bicycles are still an exceptional form of transportation. A good friend once deemed it unthinkable that he would impregnate his work clothes with a mile’s worth of sweat to ride his bike across town to the office.

To their credit, I’ve had generally good experience with my neighbors giving bicycles wide berth on the roads. I don’t see much automotive hostility toward bicycles. But maybe motorists are just swerving wide left to avoid catching that two-wheeler’s madness.

I have heard an undercurrent of macho denigration of bicycling. Occasionally when I mention my love of bicycling and encourage others to adopt two-wheeled transportation, some opposing comments go beyond the perfectly reasonable “How do I haul my tools and timber to work?” to anti-cyclist sentiment couched in language that says, “Bikes are for sissies.” And I know one or two manly-man types locally who mutter imprecations about my skinny bike clothes.

The rejection of bicycling by much of rural culture seems at odds with what we think rural culture is about. Supposedly our prairie pioneer spirit embraces simple living, physical labor, self-sufficiency, and even hardy withstanding of the elements. Bicycling does all four: fewer moving parts, travel under your own power, a mechanical system you can maintain and fix yourself, and the occasional thrilling race with an afternoon thunderstorm.

Yet rural culture views bicycling as madness… or at best, occasional recreation, perhaps a commercial media event, but not a normal part of daily existence.

That’s just one more part of rural culture for us to change.

GOP to Push Homeschool Tax Credit?

Posted: Thursday, January 6, 2011 at 8:13 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Let’s see if Kristi Noem will vote to put money in my pocket….

The new GOP majority in the U.S. House includes some members who would like to give homeschooling families a tax break. The New York Times is hosting a discussion on the topic, wherein the Home School Legal Defense Association says a $500 homeschool tax credit would encourage parents to get involved in their kids’ education. Education reform guru Chester Finn says fine, but you don’t get federal money without jumping through federal hoops, like requiring homeschool kids to take more tests. And that prospect sets off the Cato Institute’s Constitutional alarms.

Professional teachers receive a similar tax credit. When I taught at Montrose, the Educator Expense Deduction shaved another $250 off my taxable income, as compensation for books and other educational materials I used on the job. If we offer this compensation to teachers working with the support of a school district, can we justify offering the same compensation to parents doing the same job mostly on their own?

Even though we plan on homeschooling our daughter for at least a few more years, my wife and I still believe in supporting the public school system. We oppose vouchers, in part because they don’t make sense in rural South Dakota (and Rep. Kristi Noem agrees), but in larger part because they drain money directly from school districts and threaten the solvency of the public school system. Some folks have no problem with dismantling public schools,but we recognize that a free society requires free schools for the majority of citizens who either cannot afford to have parents stay home to teach full-time or who simply aren’t intellectually equipped to do so (seriously: how many of you parents could quit work, go home, and teach high school literature, algebra, history, and foreign language?).

A federal tax credit for homeschool does not directly subtract money from local school district budgets; it just leaves a little more money in the pockets of parents who’ve already chosen to pull out of the public system. But it still reduces the support that homeschool parents provide for public goods that they and their children still rely on for their education. Homeschoolers use public libraries and museums; they attend concerts and cultural events supported by public money; they drive on roads to get there.

A homeschool tax credit should set off conservative and liberal alarm bells. The credit opens the doors for federal regulation of homeschool via the IRS. I would think that prospect would kill the idea among my conservative friends. And given the religious motivation of many homeschool parents (my wife and I are in a distinct minority here in Madison, choosing homeschool for purely secular rather than spiritual reasons), my liberal friends can go ape over the potential of federal tax credits subsidizing religious instruction. Mix those two, and politically, the homeschool tax credit looks like it goes nowhere.

If we really think homeschool is a good idea, we might support it better by leaving Uncle Sam out of it and focusing on changing state law. Give local school districts their full per-student allocation for homeschoolers, and in return give homeschoolers full access to all resources of their chosen district.

I won’t complain much if Rep. Noem votes to send more money to help us educate our daughter. But a homeschool tax credit doesn’t doesn’t sound like the best way to do that.

GOP Plans Health Care Repeal Grandstanding

Posted: Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 7:59 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Representative-Elect Kristi Noem will get her first chance to grandstand on her campaign promise to repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act next week. Noem’s GOP bosses will bring the “Repealing the Job-Killing Health Care Law Act” to a vote next Wednesday, January 12. The repeal bill is two pages long, compared to the couple-thousand-page health reform is seeks to undo… proof that any idiot can shout No! but that coming up with a real solution for a complicated problem takes some work.

Of course, the Republicans are making their symbolic repeal bill even simpler by ignoring their own rules: the Republicans are exempting health reform repeal from the requirement that the House pay for every bit of legislation it passes. Remember: if Speaker Boehner could slip 13 Democratic Senators and President Obama a mickey and get them to approve the repeal, they’d have to pay back $130 billion in savings over the next decade. Repealing PPACA will also put the states several billion dollars further in the hole. Thanks for the kind thoughts, Kristi!

Also not on Noem’s agenda: any vote to reject her own government health insurance. Come on, Kristi: if government shouldn’t be involved in my health coverage, it shouldn’t be involved in yours. Your fellow freshman Congressman Joe Walsh from Illinois is heeding the call to consistency; your Tea Party friends think you should too!

ACLU Sues to Expand Gun Rights in SD

Posted: Tuesday, January 4, 2011 at 8:20 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Holy cow! The American Civil Liberties Union is suing South Dakota over our concealed weapons law. No, the ACLU is not trying to take your guns away. They actually want more people to be able to pack hidden heat… including non-citizens:

The ACLU of SD is suing on behalf of Wayne Smith, a lawful permanent resident since 1979 who has lived in the United States for the past 30 years after emigrating from the United Kingdom. Like many locals, Smith enjoys collecting sporting guns and hunting when he’s not working or spending time with his wife, a native South Dakotan. Smith was previously granted a concealed weapon permit four times before being denied in July, 2010. The denial of his application was based solely on his residency status, even though he lives and works in this country legally and has never been accused of a weapons violation.

“Discrimination against law-abiding residents for such arbitrary reasons serves no purpose but to advance governmental intrusion into the private lives of all Americans,” said Robert Doody, Executive Director of the ACLU of SD. The Fourteenth Amendment which extends to non-citizens as well as citizens generally prohibits states from creating laws that treat people of protected classes differently. “Mr. Smith is a legal resident who has followed all of the laws and guidelines of the state of South Dakota. As such, he is entitled to privacy in his home and equal treatment under the law, since there is no compelling reason why he should be treated differently,” says Doody [ACLU-SD, press release, 2011.01.03].

Seriously, if we think self-defense is sufficiently important to permit folks to walk down our streets with concealed weapons, isn’t it unneighborly to tell foreign visitors and legal residents like Mr. Smith that they don’t get to come equally prepared to all those gun fights that break out in downtown Sioux Falls and Rapid City?

I can’t wait to read the National Rifle Association’s amicus curiae on this one.

And lest you think the ACLU is stretching, take note: in 2008, they successfully challenged a similar citizenship requirement for concealed weapons permits in Kentucky.

Who Can Boff Whom? Power vs. Family

Posted: Monday, January 3, 2011 at 9:45 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Dr. Blanchard has provoked vigorous commentary with his weekend blog post on same-sex marriage and incest. Citing William Saletan’s recent Slate article on the same topic, the good professor tries to put liberals in another box, saying we can’t formulate a coherent defense of same-sex marriage without defending the concept of traditional family.

Oh yes we can.

Traditional family structure is great. I certainly enjoy mine. Parents who violate that structure with incest, infidelity, or inattention do ill to their children and to society. But making “traditional family” the core value in a debate about sexuality or social policy is problematic on two levels.

First, taking “traditional family” as a core principle says to every childless couple and single person, “You’re doing something wrong.” When folks ask me how I like married life, I say it’s great, but I don’t feel the need to universalize the maxim of my and my wife’s personal action. Marriage and parenthood are great, but so is a loving relationship where you choose to focus your energy on great enterprises other than raising a future Supreme Court Justice. So is foregoing marriage altogether to concentrate on a career of public service or invention. So are any number of lifestyle choices that don’t involve crime or debauchery. Enshrining “traditional family” as a broad basis for public policy unnecessarily denigrates other reasonable ways to live one’s life.

Second, traditional family doesn’t cover every situation where we might debate the appropriateness of intimate relationships. Consider bosses and employees, or teachers and students, or randy farm boys and sheep. We feel varying degrees of unease over such relationships, even if no traditional family structure is being perverted. Some principle besides “traditional family” seems to inform that unease.

I suggest that other principle is power… or more specifically, our understanding that intimate relationships shouldn’t be based on power.

Power is at least as good a reason to ban incest as traditional family. Parents having sex with children violate the fundamental trust and proper order of the traditional family. But such vile parents also misuse their enormous power over their children. Incest is reprehensible on either count.

But power also explains our opposition to other sexual malpractice better than traditional family. Prostitution mingles with sex the coercion of wealth (by johns and pimps). Young single teachers enticing their middle-school students into sexual activity abuse the power and trust given them not just by families but by an entire community. Office managers and commanding officers who fraternize with underlings struggle to keep their affection separate from their authority. And even if you come from a close, loving family with a long tradition of boffing sheep (just like Great Grand-Daaa-aaa-d used to do!), you’re still doing it with a critter that can’t consent (and even if it could… come on! that’s gross!).

I’m not saying traditional family is not valuable or relevant. It is. If you need any other argument than the sanctity of family to deter you from having sex with your kids, you need help.

I am saying that power, or circumspect use of power and respect for personal autonomy, can make an equally effective argument against incest as traditional family can. Power can also effectively justify other limits on sexuality that traditional family cannot. Best of all, power provides this philosophical guidance without imposing a mindset that says, “If you don’t marry someone of the opposite sex and make babies, you’re a failure.”

Top 11 Posts of 2010: My Best Work

Posted: Friday, December 31, 2010 at 12:15 pm
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Wednesday I compiled a list of the top ten stories of 2010 based on number of reader comments. Now let’s slice and dice 2010 purely by personal preference. Out of over 1350 blog posts published this year, here are eleven stories, not necessarily in order of importance, that I think represent my best blog work in 2010. These stories may not have affected the most people or drawn the most fire, but they’re stories that make me feel proud to say I’m a blogger.

1. Local Candidate Forums: If blogging paid the bills, I’d cover local politics like this every day. Even without a big paycheck I managed to give solid coverage to the October 20 and October 27 candidate forums (fora?) held here in Madison. My notes and video from both events provided the most complete online record of our local candidates’ positions. As for commentary, well, where else will you find this kind of in-depth opinion and analysis on candidates for state legislature, county commission, sheriff, and county auditor?

Bonus: Quality local political coverage like this got my friend Matt Groce to invite me onto KJAM for some live Election Night punditry. What a blast! Thanks, Matt… and thank you, neighbors, for listening!

2. Veblen Dairies Collapse: In one of the biggest stories ignored by South Dakota’s mainstream media, serial feedlot polluter Richard Millner lost his mega-dairy fiefdom collapse. His dairies in Veblen, South Dakota, as well as operations in North Dakota and Minnesota, all went into bankruptcy. The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency rebuffed Millner twice and shut down his stinky Excel Dairy in Thief River Falls, Minnesota. The South Dakota Department of Environment and Natural Resources declared it will not issue a manure permit to a dairy where Millner holds decision-making power. Millner tried to reorganize his investors to cling to the two giant Veblen dairies, but those efforts fell apart, and the bank will likely take possession of both facilities.

I hit this story hard because Rick Millner has left a swath of illegal environmental and economic destruction in every community where he’s done business. Why the media largely ignored this story, when Millner’s Veblen operations constituted 15% of South Dakota’s dairy industry and when his operations received special government support through the EB-5 Visa program, continues to puzzle me.

The Veblen dairy story also demonstrates that collaboration makes good online journalism. My coverage of Richard Millner’s environmental abuses and financial collapse was supported by numerous sources, folks who wanted to get the Veblen story out so Millner would not be able to take advantage of others the way he’s taken advantage of them. We owe these good people our respect and our thanks.

3. TransCanada Keystone Leaks: Four pump stations in a row, three in South Dakota, one in Nebraska, sprang leaks as TransCanada brought its Keystone I pipeline online. Four leaks in a three-month span; that’s three more leaks than TransCanada said we’d get in 65 years. And even with TransCanada now digging up sections of the Keystone I to check for defective steel, our mainstream media remain mostly quiet about TransCanada’s errors.

4. Clark Schmidtke, Russell Olson, and Court Records: Indy-Dem Clark Schmidtke challenged Russell Olson for the District 8 State Senate seat. For his trouble, Schmidtke got his criminal record brought to light in the South Dakota blogosphere. I reported both Schmidtke’s fraud conviction and jail time in Minnesota and Olson’s own lengthy court record. The local paper covered Schmidtke’s record, but not Olson’s.

5. Herseth Sandlin vs. Noem at State Fair Debate: If I had any doubts about voting for Blue Dog Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, witnessing her dismantle Kristi Noem on stage at the South Dakota State Fair Congressional debate completely dismissed them. That debate fueled ten full blog posts that convinced me South Dakota would be worse off with Kristi Noem in Congress. 52% of South Dakota voters agreed with me… but since 6% of them picked B. Thomas Marking, the 48% who backed Noem got their way.

6. “Summer Storm in the City as I Wait to Drive Home: Speaking of Democrats, my first state Democratic convention was blogworthy; so was the thunderstorm afterward. Sometimes it’s nice to trade the political pen for the poetical.

7. Colton Turning Stimulus into Energy Independence: When he runs for re-election in 2012, President Obama should make a campaign stop in Colton, South Dakota, to show the results of his stimulus package at their best. My blog post on Colton’s energy independence initiative combined original reporting and good pix on a sunny fall day to highlight innovative thinking in small-town South Dakota, helped by smart investment by Uncle Sam.

8. How to Promote Arts, Culture, and Community in Small-Town South Dakota: The Madison Dairy Queen staged another successful Miracle Treat Day fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network. The fun kids games and live music on the street (and the Mason’s rooftop!) didn’t just help sick kids and their families; the event also provided an object lesson in creative community development in rural South Dakota.

9. IgniteSD: Speaking of creative cultural development, my friends John and Scott Meyer started IgniteSD, a fun community event that brings folks together to talk about their passions and big ideas. I had the privilege of delivering the inaugural IgniteSD talk in Brookings in April, an event that inspired this rhapsodic post. Then I helped pack Mochavino for IgniteSD #2 right here in Madison in May.

10. Lake Madison Public Access Area: Lake County opened its new public access area on Lake Madison this spring, giving me an excuse for a new bike route and a fun blog photo essay. If only everything worth blogging were within bicycling distance….

11. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Pacifism, and Blogospheric Multilogue: My post on the great Lutheran theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer and his spiritual and physical struggle against the Nazis was just one thread in a conversation that involved numerous South Dakota bloggers and commenters. This conversation about theology, history, and politics represents the South Dakota blogopshere at its best: South Dakotans of very different political and religious persuasions engaging in thoughtful conversation about challenging issues. Let’s hope 2011 brings even more multivocal conversations like this.

*     *     *

1350+ blog posts is a lot to review! I’m sure I left out some of your favorites. So I’m open to nominations from the floor: what 2010 stories did you like best?

Madville Times Top Ten of 2010: What Readers Said

Posted: Thursday, December 30, 2010 at 7:53 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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There are many ways to determine an annual “Top Stories List.” In the blogosphere, one useful measure is the amount of conversation provoked by a story. So here’s my list of the this year’s big conversation starters, as measured by number of comments, here on the Madville Times:

  1. Full-Reserve Banking? My Cousin Must Be Kidding…: Didn’t expect that, did you? My wingnut cousin Aaron (who works in finance and should know better… unless he’s in with Glenn Beck on trying to push gold prices) proposed requiring banks to maintain full reserves instead of doing what George Bailey and every other banker does: loan your savings out to borrowers who want to build homes and business. A host of other interested parties joined in to explain why the free market has rejected this economy-crashing system.
  2. Christians, Get with the Program: Ditch Creationism for Real Science: I noted some more theologically inclined writers’ position what the church should stop fretting over creationism and embrace evolution.
  3. Want Nazi Tactics? See Arizona’s Anti-Immigration Law: mention Arizona, immigration, and fascism, and you’re sure to get people talking.
  4. Gordon Howie, Please Quit: Retiring State Senator Gordon Howie failed to get his health care reform nullification act through the Legislature. He then failed to gather enough signatures to place it on the general election ballot. He kept flogging the issue, thinking it would propel him to victory in the June gubernatorial primary. No such luck.
  5. Brothers’ Keepers: Cognitive Dissonance in American Health Care: We Americans pay for our health care almost entirely through the collective means of insurance. Yet we reject efforts to use the most effective, inclusive collective health insurance system possible, a nationwide risk pool created through single-payer or a strong public option. I still don’t get it.
  6. President Obama: “Government Is Us”: Our President said that to graduates at the University of Michigan. I’ve been saying that readers here from the start. The Tea Party still doesn’t get it.
  7. Dog Bites Man; Bob Ellis Wrong; Howie Is Teabagger: Various conservatives preferred to bog us down in a debate over an obscene term that Gordon Howie and other Tea Party sign-wavers publicly embraced.
  8. Gordon Howie Campaigning to Stop Deportation of God: Howie slurped up all sorts of my bandwidth, here by manufacturing the false issue of God’s imminent expulsion from South Dakota.
  9. KELO Editorializes, Says God Exists: Fortunately, our liberal media asserted that, even after Howie’s defeat at the polls, the Deity was still among us.
  10. Religion and Politics: Engaging the Beast Versus Becoming the Beast: Legislative candidate Pastor Steve Hickey got me thinking more about the proper role of pastors and religion in politics. Pastor Hickey led off the comments by assuring us he seeks no theocracy or oppression of atheists like me. With the good pastor now ascending (take a moment… think about that) to the State House to make laws amidst a Republican supermajority, I will be watching to hold him to that word.

Honorable Mentions: a few stories didn’t draw quite as many comments per post but did draw lots of comments over several separate posts as the stories developed.

  1. The Madison Central School District new gym and high school renovation plan has elicited a great deal of discussion, including details of the MHS video tour, practical alternatives to put more priority on academics and arts, and concerns that the school’s early voting scheme bends if not breaks state election laws.
  2. The Blog Control Acts, HB 1277 and HB 1278, proposed in the State Legislature in February got bloggers riled up and speaking out on both sides of the issue. Mr. Epp and I and many others debated the extent of the First Amendment.
  3. Kristi Noem and her supporters dissembled and spun her way to South Dakota’s lone U.S. House seat, while South Dakota Dems wreslted with finding the right balance between defending and challenging our Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.

Olson, GOP: No Money for Schools, Plenty to Subsidize Economic Development

Posted: Wednesday, December 29, 2010 at 9:00 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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Incoming (that’s what teachers and school boards should start shouting any time Republicans enter the room) South Dakota Senate Majority Leader Russell Olson demonstrates the warped free market fundamentalism that pollutes our public policy.

At the end of the 2010 Legislative session, Senator Olson voted to short K-12 education millions of dollars, despite the fact there was 2.2% more wealth available in South Dakota. He doesn’t appear to have any vision for avoiding even deeper cuts to education in the 2011 session. Education just isn’t worth more creative thinking and funding in Olson’s world.

But check out what he told the city commission and economic development corporation in Colman about how Tax Increment Finance (TIF) districts work:

Russell Olson, manager of community and economic development for Heartland Consumers Power District in Madison, gave the group an update on Colman’s TIF district.

A TIF is a mechanism used to promote economic development on a local basis. The increased tax revenue is the “tax increment,” which is dedicated to financing debt issued to pay for the project.

“This instrument allows the use of property taxes on a specific project while not harming the general fund of the school district,” Olson said. “The state of South Dakota makes up any shortfall to the school, thus keeping them secure” [Staff, “Colman Officials Discuss TIF District, Future Growth,” Madison Daily Leader, 2010.12.27].

Now consider: in Olson’s thinking, Pierre can’t spend more on education itself. Show Olson a school district where they need a foreign language teacher or classroom renovations or cost-of-living increases for staff salaries, and he’ll turn his pockets inside-out and shrug. But show Olson a school district where the city is subsidizing some private developer’s effort to put up new businesses or houses (which just might use more of the electricity Russ’s organization sells), and Pierre can find more money to send.

Education funding should be simple. Kids need to learn. Teachers need to eat. Find the money, invest in our future workers and leaders.

But maybe that sounds too socialist for our Republican leaders. They can’t just spend money on people. They have to construct these Rube Goldberg machines of subsidies for their entrepreneur pals and paste comforting labels of “economic development” on the front, even though TIF districts are a much greater intrusion of government into the free market than funding schools.

I’d suggest that schools could take the “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” route, get their local governments to establish TIF districts everywhere they can, and then hit Pierre up for the difference in school-funding revenue. But that only gets more Rube Goldbergy. Let’s just raise revenue by imposing a corporate income tax and use the money to meet the basic democratic and constitutional mandate to provide free education to all citizens.

Health Care Reform Will Save SD Budget… in 2014

Posted: Tuesday, December 28, 2010 at 7:31 am
By: Cory Allen Heidelberger
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South Dakota’s budget crunch is coming in part because of increased enrollment and costs in Medicaid. It’s funny, then, that South Dakota is trying to block one way to fix that fiscal problem: the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. As Matthew Blake at Understanding Government reminds us, come 2014, Washington will pay 100% of Medicaid for folks earnign less than 133% of the poverty level. States resume paying 10% of that share in 2019, but that’s still a healthy break from the 40-50% share states currently shoulder for all patients.

Blake points to John Bouman’s summary of three studies that say states will enjoy significant savings thanks to the PPACA:

  1. The Urban Institute calculates increased costs and savings and finds in the worst case, the states save $40.6 billion from 2014 to 2019. In the best case, the states save $131.9 billion.
  2. The White House Council of Economic Advisers looked at sixteen states last year (not South Dakota—darn!) and estimated nationwide, states would save $11 billion by reducing the insurance premiums they currently pay on their employees to cover care for the uninsured.
  3. The Lewin Group found PPACA saving the states and Uncle Sam money. States could save over $6 billion in small change between now and 2014 and $106.8 billion in real money over the whole decade.

Instead of waging futile lawsuits against the PPACA, governors should be begging Washington to kick this plan into gear sooner!

But remember, Kristi Noem is determined to repeal this legislation next month… and thus guarantee that the Daugaard administration sustains the Rounds structural deficit until Matt Michels or Dusty Johnson takes the helm in 2018.