Senator Sutton said the Republican Legislature’s repeal of Initiated Measure 22 last winter motivated him to run for governor instead of just serving out his fourth term in the Senate and stepping back from politics. The Government Accountability Task Force empaneled this summer to tackle campaign finance might have assuaged Sutton’s concerns about the IM22 repeal, but Sutton says that panel, on which he served under chairman Jordan Younberg, accomplished nothing:
A legislative task force that was to tackle campaign finance reform this Summer voted to change…nothing.
[Sutton]: “There’s been nothing done on campaign finance reform and so I think it was a real slap in the face to the people of South Dakota” [Brian Allen, “Gubernatorial Candidate Billie Sutton: Pierre Must Be More Transparent,” KSFY, 2017.11.16].
Sutton is correct on that score: in its final meeting last month, the Youngberg panel rejected an attempt to revive the IM22 campaign finance requirements and advanced mostly trivial legislation that breaks no new ground in limiting or making more transparent our state’s campaign finances.
Congresswoman Noem has some vague inkling of the issues behind Sutton’s and many other South Dakotans’ alarm at the repeal of IM22:
Noem tells me that she knows people are saying that if she is elected governor she would come in and ‘gut’ Pierre. “I’m not going to gut Pierre but I’m not going to promise that I’m not going to change things dramatically. I think we need to move into a new time of flexibility in state government, transparency in state government” [Brian Allen, “Gubernatorial Candidate Kristi Noem: Dramatic Change Is Needed in Pierre,” KSFY, 2017.11.16].
Sutton and Noem all appear to agree that the state isn’t doing enough to spread the economic successes we see in Sioux Falls out to the rural areas:
[Allen on Sutton]: While Sutton appreciates the economic growth in places like Sioux Falls and Rapid City, he says smaller communities….like Burke… are being left out ….and if those communities are going to survive they need to be part of the state’s big picture economic development plan. “That’s really important to have that conversation between rural and urban about how we work together to create a South Dakota that works for everybody because right now the ag community is struggling.”
[Allen on Noem]: “I’m very concerned with the technology and connectivity we have in this state. I live here which isn’t a real remote part of the state but I still can’t download a movie at this house. We just don’t have good internet service in a lot of areas of our state. How do you recruit a business to come if they do business globally?”
…While most of the economic successes we tell you about are in Sioux Falls, Noem wants to see the success spread out into rural areas of the state by partnering with counties and identified their economic strengths. “When a company wants to come to South Dakota we can say you know what? We’ve identified five counties, they are perfect for the kind of project you want to do. We’ve already laid the groundwork. They’re excited that you’re coming.”
Jackley says South Dakota needs to do things differently when it comes to growing the economy. “That’s why our next governor needs to be bold, show strong leadership on value added ag, I believe that having out of state companies not have to pay any taxes where we are making our in state companies pay it is wrong” [Brian Allen, “Gubernatorial Candidate Marty Jackley: Next Governor Must Be Bold on the Economy,” KSFY, 2017.11.16].
Of course, Jackley doesn’t tell KSFY any new, bold economic development strategy. He just talks about continuing the current governor and Legislature’s effort to collect sales tax from out-of-state vendors, which is a revenue-enhancement strategy, not an economic development strategy.
I’m glad to hear Sutton calling out his fellow legislators for their failure to act on the people’s will on campaign finance and his call for expanding the state’s economic development vision to better include all of the state. Maybe Governor Sutton will be able to enact some real policies to help Noem watch movies back home in Castlewood during her retirement.