Governor Dennis Daugaard was inauguarated on January 8, 2011. In his State of the State Address three days later, Governor Daugaard deemed the 127-million-dollar structural deficit “the dominant challenge” of the 2011 Legislative Session, laid out the two key principles “that guided me as I crafted the budget proposal,” and promised to deliver that budget the following week. Eight days later, eleven days after inauguration, Governor Daugaard presented that budget.
Governor Kristi Noem was inaugurated on January 5, 2019. Facing no apparent budget crisis thanks to Dennis Daugaard’s far superior job of managing state finances than his predecessor’s, Governor Noem delivered a State of the State Address with a hodgepodge of seemingly edge-frittering but unfunded priorities frosted with a vow not to raise taxes. On January 17, 2019, Governor Noem informed the Legislature that she will present her budget proposal on January 23, eighteen days after her inauguration.
Dennis Daugaard, facing hard budget choices and a huge deficit fueled by historic recession and mismanagement, presented a complete budget package on his eleventh full day on the job. Kristi Noem, with mid-year expenditures coming in $7.449 million ahead of projections but with mid-year cumulative expenditures running 1.7 percentage points hot compared to the preceding two-year average, apparently needs seven more days, 63% more time, to come up with what will likely be a far easier and less bold budget.
I hated Governor Daugaard’s first budget. I felt it did real damage to South Dakota’s economy and culture. But Governor Daugaard dove into a hard job and got it done. Governor Kristi Noem and her closest advisors are signaling they don’t plan to work harder on actual policymaking than Noem did in Congress, where she achieved… what? two overdue Farm Bills and… remind me… anything else?
Looks like four more years of phoning it in for Kristi.