Governor Kristi Noem campaigned on the promise to fight government bloat. But once again, when she finds it politically convenient, she proposes expanding government. Amidst all the other big spending facilitated by her acceptance of giant federal handouts, she calls for “investments”—i.e., more government spending, and more government jobs:
Unfortunately, as safe as South Dakota is, we’re not immune from emerging threats to our communities, threats like human trafficking, drugs, crimes against children, Medicaid fraud, and cyber threats. In my budget, I am recommending a series of investments to confront those threats head on.
That includes the creation of a Human Trafficking State Coordinator to work under the Attorney General’s Office, funding for human trafficking training materials for law enforcement, the hiring of a specialist to work exclusively on cases involving missing or murdered Native Americans, a crime response vehicle for gathering and securing evidence, the development of a Medicaid Fraud data system, modernizing the state radio system that law enforcement uses to communicate, replacing state radio towers in Redfield and White River, and modernization of the state IT system to ensure our citizens’ data is safe and secure [Gov. Kristi Noem, budget address, Pierre, SD, 2021.12.07].
Another coordinator, another specialist—dang! Kristi’s going to run out of relatives to hire pretty soon.
Now overall, Noem’s Fiscal Year 2023 budget recommendation calls for 41.3 fewer full-time equivalents than the FTEs budgeted for FY 2022 and 15.0 fewer than state agencies requested. But her proposed 13,983.9 FTEs is 5.7% higher than the actual FTEs in the FY 2019 budget (the last budget from former Governor Dennis Daugaard), 6.8% higher than the actual FTEs in her first budget, FY 2020, and 8.3% higher than the actual FTEs from FY 2021.
As I said earlier, I don’t mind spending money on good government. But hiring more people to work in government isn’t what Kristi Noem promised when she ran for Governor.