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Right-Wing Radicals Accuse Noem of Over-Taxation, Extravagant Personal Spending

Senator Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Lake Kampeska) says Rapid City’s fringe right-wing Republicans are hurting South Dakota’s economic development with their radical votes. Representative Tina Mullaly (R-35/Rapid City) and her right-wing “Freedom Caucus” respond that Senator Schoenbeck’s pal Governor Kristi Noem is hurting South Dakota’s economic development with her own radical taxing and personal spending:

the South Dakota Freedom Caucus sees the large reserves as a clear sign of over-taxation and reckless spending priorities by the Noem administration.

“The Governor and her legislative allies need to remember this isn’t our money,” said Freedom Caucus Chairman Representative Aaron Aylward, “it’s the people’s money that we’ve been entrusted for their benefit, not to hold on to or horde when people need it the most.”

The South Dakota Freedom Caucus further pointed to expenditures totaling over  $5 million under the Noem administration, which the Freedom Caucus publicly stated are “wasteful and unnecessary expenditures,” including the: Governor’s new private jet; Governor Mansion security wall & redecoration costs; a personal tv media studio; and a still undisclosed amount of taxpayer funds that were spent on political campaign related activities.

“Using public money for personal benefit, is not wisely spent taxpayer money,” said Mulally, “when the public never sees the benefit” [South Dakota Free Caucus, press release, 2022.08.01].

And the sauna! Don’t forget the sauna!

Alas, the Freedom Caucus makes the same minor slip as Noem’s sharp Democratic opponent, Representative Jamie Smith, referring to the Governor’s new “jet”, which is actually a luxurious 2015 King Air turboprop.

At least as egregious is the Freedom Caucus’s misuse of the colon and semicolons. Colons can introduce lists, but they should interrupt grammatical phrases. In the above instance, the colon separating “the” from the noun it modifies is incorrect. The sentence can flow smoothly with no colon at all. The following semicolons are also unnecessary: we invoke semicolons to separate items in a list only when one or more of the listed items itself includes a comma. The items in this list include no commas; thus we can use commas to separate the items without confusion. Had they mentioned the sauna and other fancy mansion accoutrements, they could have used semicolons:

The Freedom Caucus has identified over $5 million in wasteful and unnecessary Noem expenditures, including the Governor’s new private plane; the Governor’s mansion security wall, sauna, and luxury rugs; a personal TV studio; and still undisclosed taxpayer funds spent on campaign activities.

Once we fix the punctuation, we could complicate Freedom Caucus’s messaging here by tying it to other big conservative Republican talking points: the surplus is a clear sign of over-taxation, but locking all that cash up in state reserves produces a counter-inflationary effect that tamps down all of the inflation that should be erupting from Noem’s extravagant spending. But that all sounds too messy for good campaign points. Keep it simple and straight, Freedom Caucus: fancy plane and sauna! Fancy plane and sauna!


  1. Donald Pay 2022-08-02 10:28

    Fiscal conservatives (I’m one) come in many packages. The dumb crowd in the Freedom Caucus like to pretend everyone in South Dakota is overtaxed. Sorry, that’s not the case. Yes, the lower and middle income folks in South Dakota are slightly overtaxed. The wealthy are not. In fact, they are barely taxed at all. The Freedom Caucus actually ends up subsidizing the very elite and RINOs they rail against. That’s why I call them “the dumb crowd.” The are useful tools of the elite, not serious critics of taxation and spending.

  2. P. Aitch 2022-08-02 10:40

    Any tax money received by the state that wasn’t budgeted for is returned to the taxpayers annually. I’m receiving a check for $750 sometime this month. #HappyExPatriotedSouthDakotan

  3. John 2022-08-02 10:48

    Let’s encourage the medical community to initiate a referred SD constitutional amendment to ban sales tax on food. They can tax junk, processed foods with sugar or a sugar-like replacement substitute as an ingredient (corn/rice syrup, etc.).

  4. larry kurtz 2022-08-02 16:31

    Do developments like these put mob boss Dan Lederman in a box or will he use up some of the cash the SDGOP has in abundance to buy off the Trump wing or will Lederman step aside for someone from the extreme white wing? Saudi-funded Lederman paid firebrand Gordon Howie a five figure sum to abandon his third party insurgency. Now the chasm separating the establishment Republicans from the principled conservatives in South Dakota is widening even more.

    Ideological purists loathe Lederman because sleaze and crime built his business. He spent $50,000 to buy a seat in South Dakota’s corrupt legislature flaunting the same class by throwing it away resigning after the 2015 session then forcing his way into the chair of South Dakota’s earth hater party and challenging Trump darling Governor Kristi Noem to become a Republican elector.

  5. O 2022-08-02 21:02

    Surpluses are a sign of lack of vision; especially when issues are festering until they explode into a budget mess that our surplus will not be able to adequately deal with.

    SD being a poor state when it comes to funding necessary work and SD being the strongest economy in the nation is cognitive dissonance and budgeting convenience Governor Noem must resolve for her GOP. Budgets are moral documents; so what is said about SD’s GOP morality and values from these budgets?

  6. Arlo Blundt 2022-08-02 21:10

    Unless Governor Noem has buried deep in her DNA numerous Finnish (Suomi) markers, a Sauna can be seen as an extravagance. Perhaps she descends from “Swedes living in Finland” a common occurrence after Sweden seized that country from the Russ. Most South Dakotans, having spent summer days in the hay field, don’t understand sweating yourself clean.

  7. Richard Schriever 2022-08-03 11:34

    A turbo prop engine is essentially the same at its basic mechanical/combustion chamber level as a jet engine. The difference is the turbo prop has its fewer, but larger and gear-drive rotational-speed-reduced fins (or blades) on the exterior of the housing of the engine, whereas the jet has its many more and smaller fins/blades internal to the housing, turning at the same speed as the engine.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-08-03 11:56

    Turboprop or jet, it’s fancier transportation than I get for most of my travels, and I never get to travel on the taxpayer’s dime. Republicans who want to focus on tech terms to distract us from Noem’s extravagant and selfish spending are playing the same game as gun nuts who drag us into a debate over the term “assault rifle” to avoid a serious discussion of the real public health hazard posed by insufficiently regulated guns and the gunmakers’ marketing of a depraved gun culture.

  9. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-08-05 17:12

    Arlo, I had forgotten (MORE repressed childhood memories) of my haying and strawing days in Minnesota. Our dairy farm was fortunate to have enough rain and perennial alfalfa for three cuttings and bailings a year, and one straw bailing. Oh, the delight of being SWEATY, itchy, sneezy, filthy, cranky, and all the other dwarves was indescribable, and to have my brother toss me a bail with 4ft of a large and VERY p*ssed bull snake hangin’ out of the bailing twine
    Never mind. I don’t think Kristi Lynn done it this a way.

  10. grudznick 2022-08-05 17:28

    It’s not a jet! :-)

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