The Pierre Capital Journal reported that the legislature actually increased its spending for the 2010 budget by $6.8 million. Much of this spending has been spurred by the federal stimulus money coming into the state, as well as some alleged “cuts” to the state budget. Some of these cuts were in actuality just a cut to proposed spending, not actual spending…so in reality these were not really spending reductions. More details here…
In times of economic turmoil, sacrifices must be made both by us as individuals and by the government as well in order to maintain a stable spending structure in both government and personal life. Relying so heavily on one-time stimulus money requires no sacrifice by anyone and refusing to make some tough budget cuts perpetuates deficit spending and unsustainable funding practices, which will cause even more budgetary problems next year and even more problems down the road.
The article also states that one specific area that spending was actually cut was in the area of education, specifically in the areas of teacher-improvement bonuses, test score analysis, and teacher training. Education is an investment in the future, and these were worthy areas of education dollars that were axed by the budget.
We need to take a serious look at our state’s spending practices and create a more reliable structure that will help the state live within its means, while at the same time providing critical state services, such as education.