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Haugaard Hears Profligate Budget, Calls Noem “Kid in a Candy Store”

Maybe Steve Haugaard should start pronouncing his name to rhyme with Daugaard. Or maybe he should just start every discussion of the state budget with, “What, more saunas?!”

The Republican Representative and gubernatorial candidate from Sioux Falls is ready to play Grinch all Session against his primary opponent Kristi Noem’s extravagant budget proposal:

South Dakota has had a massive influx of federal handouts due to COVID-19 stimulus money. It’s eight times higher than a typical fiscal year’s worth of federal funding, and the largest federal handout per capita than any other state. Furthermore, the taxes we have collected as a state have increased primarily because of inflation and skyrocketing property values. As a result, I’m afraid a lot of what we heard today sounds like the Christmas wish list of a kid in a candy store. For better or worse, the legislature isn’t Santa Claus. We need to steward that money wisely, and make sure we don’t commit to massive spending projects that we won’t be able to fund forever.

…Noem’s introductory remarks about fiscal responsibility to the taxpayers of our state were a bit rich considering her pattern of irresponsible personal spending with no accountability or transparency [Steven Haugaard, campaign press release, 2021.12.08].

It’s a scary world when Steve Haugaard and I are saying the same thing every morning. Of course, we’re not thinking the same thing: I want a South Dakota where leaders honestly acknowledge our dependence on smart federal government funding, while Haugaard wants a fiscally starved theocracy that lets corporations and/or churches oppress us.

Haugaard will have a hard time getting his Legislative colleagues not to spend the goo-gobs of money that President Joe Biden has sent us. Even in hard-right South Dakota, partisanship still bows to bricks and asphalt paid for by Uncle Sam.

But Noem’s “kid in a candy store” binge-budgeting gives Haugaard plenty to talk about on the campaign trail to rouse his GOP primary base to their conservative senses. And he can work on clever slogans and wordplay: Who guards your money? Haugaard’s your buddy!


  1. O 2021-12-09 10:42

    Herin lies the rub, we want that “kid in the candy store” mentality to stimulate the economy; we want the government to get projects going and to get money into people’s pockets . . . BUT then we complain about inflation because of all the new money splashing around in the economy.

    The question ought to be asked if SD even needs that federal money? After thumbing our nose at federal conservative health policy, we kept our businesses open to keep our economy going. If we were not affected by federal shutdowns, why do we need federal stimulus?

  2. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-12-09 11:24

    Hey, O gets me thinking: Noem did complain in her speech about inflation caused by government spending, But she is proposing a whole lot more government spending. Won’t her spending contribute to the very problem she’s complaining about?

    Haugaard should get his campaign team to Run some numbers on how much Christie’s huge increase in government spending will increase inflation in South Dakota. If he offers that consistent inflation critique, he might get folks like Senator Bolin to vote with him in opposition to Kristi’s budget.

  3. Donald Pay 2021-12-09 11:39

    Now there is the rub, as O points out. The elite want the federal bucks that come from blue states and China. They would never agree to just send it back. They will end up with nearly all of it anyway, whether it is distributed by Noem’s way or Haugaard’s way. Noem’s way has the benefit that some of it will circulate down to the peons, who do the work on infrastructure projects, and they will spend it in the local economy, before it circulates back up to the elite. The downside of Noem’s way is that a good chunk of what the peons spend in the local economy will be trinkets manufactured in other states or counties, so not all of it may come back to the elite. But, there is the mulitplier effect to consider, so, really, Noem’s way may benefit the state more. It’s hard to say. We know that Haugaard’s way would likely benefit the wealthier elite more than Noem’s way, since South Dakota’s tax structure is already tilted that way. I suppose they could find a method to actually pay the money out in a means tested way: the more wealth you have the less you get. That would run counter to everything the Republican Party and the elite in South Dakota have stood for and done, even during the fake “populist” Trump tax cuts, which were a huge giveaway to the wealthy and corporate world.

    Expect a grand bargain, combining the two ways for spending the federal welfare check, because it won’t be going back to the feds. The elite won’t have that.

  4. Donald Pay 2021-12-09 11:48

    As far as “stimulating the economy,” the elite don’t really spend most of their money in South Dakota, but Joe D. Welder mostly does. Wages would increase more with Noem’s plan, but inflation is mostly a national economic issue.

  5. Porter Lansing 2021-12-09 12:33

    Japan and China together hold $2.4T in American debt.
    If USA gave them hundred year leases on our ten least productive states, where would South Dakota rank, out of fifty?

  6. O 2021-12-09 15:13

    or maybe inflation is like the deficit: it only matters to the GOP when the Democrats are doing the spending.

  7. Mark Anderson 2021-12-09 15:46

    You know, if Biden would ditch the tax on the American people, he would ditch the Trump tariffs. Not likely to happen. Politically the pubs would be all over him. I mean really do we have to keep up the fantasies of the Republican world. Trump really screwed over South Dakota farmers but they love the con artist. It’s a conundrum.

  8. jerry 2021-12-09 18:50

    The South Dakota farmer was not screwed, they were well paid for their vote.

  9. Bob Newland 2021-12-09 20:14

    “The South Dakota farmer was not screwed, they were well paid for their vote.”

    Getting paid for getting screwed is not antithetical to getting screwed.

  10. jerry 2021-12-09 23:50

    Then, it’s a wash.

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