Governor Kristi Noem has had nothing to say yet about the House’s crushing of her briefly revived food-tax repeal yesterday. But eager reader Bob Newland points out the quote of the week that Noem made Monday night right after the Senate held out that brief glimmer of hope for her marquee campaign promise:
All three of the major proposals would cut or cost around $104 million. Lawmakers say they will hash out their differences and craft a budget in the coming days. Regularly scheduled legislative session ends on Thursday. But Noem said the conversation could go much longer.
“Listen, we don’t have to pass a budget this week. If these legislators want to sit here and take a couple months to do the right thing, I’ve got nowhere to go,” she added [Lee Strubinger, “Lawmakers to Weigh Revived Tax Cut Proposals Ahead of Thursday Deadline,” SDPB Radio, 203.03.06].
“I’ve got nowhere to go”—really? Is Noem saying her jetsetting days are done? Is she acknowledging that she can’t get traction as a national candidate against more appealing and effective governors like Ron DeSantis and Nikki Haley? Did Corey Lewandowski finally dump her? Is that why she skipped both CPAC and the Club for Growth donors meeting last weekend?
Right before declaring herself in a no-fly zone, Noem made an interesting comment about the budget and her willingness to veto it:
Noem has threatened to veto the overall budget bill if she does not agree with whatever tax cut is included.
“That seems like a really irresponsible budget,” Noem said to reporters Monday. “We don’t have to pass a budget this week. If these legislators want to sit here and take a couple of months to do the right thing, I’ve got nowhere to go” [Annie Todd, “Legislature Votes to Kill 2 Tax Cut Proposals Tied to Grocery and Property Taxes,” Sioux Falls Argus Leader, 2023.03.07].
The budget forming up in the Capitol is irresponsible? That’s funny: Republican leaders like Representative Will Mortenson have been bending over backwards to say that the tussle over which tax to repeal is just a disagreement in the mechanics of reaching the goals that Legislative Republicans and the Governor share. The budget that comes out of Joint Appropriations this week will include over 95% of what the Governor asked for. To say that the coming budget is “really irresponsible” sounds like a flip-flop on the budget Noem herself proposed.
But let’s not expect too much follow-through on Noem’s Monday statements. She seems to be throwing out more Trump-flavored word salad, thinking that a couple half-baked quips will remedy her inattentive and ineffective governing style. Noem will forget her words (just as she forgot her opposition to repealing the food tax when she needed campaign-boosting headlines), sign her budget, and hop back on her jet for more coastal-elite fundraisers before the end of the month.