Thursday, October 29, 2009

Munsterman Calls for Changes in Government Budgeting

From the Aberdeen American News:

BY BOB MERCER, American News Correspondent

FORT PIERRE - The governor and the Legislature should limit the growth of state government to the rate of inflation and no longer use one-time sources of revenue to cover increased ongoing costs, Republican gubernatorial candidate Scott Munsterman said Monday.

Munsterman said those two principles were keys to the city of Brookings eliminating its 10 percent budget deficit and turning surpluses the past five years during his time as mayor.

If elected governor, he said, his chief of staff would be a former chief executive officer from a company which used performance-based budgeting and accountability. He said state government's approach to budgeting hasn't changed significantly in at least 30 years.

“We have not been fiscally responsible with the state budget,” he said.

Munsterman made his remarks during a campaign stop which focused primarily on government's role in health care coverage. He is one of four Republicans seeking their party's nomination for governor in the June 2010 primary election to succeed Republican Gov. Mike Rounds, who is term-limited.

Munsterman said many features of the health-insurance legislation being considered in Congress would “wreck” the rural health care system, including rural hospitals which already operate on what he described as “paper-thin margins” in South Dakota.

He suggested the entire Legislature should take a trip to Washington, D.C., to make clear to Congress what could happen here. “We are definitely at risk in South Dakota with the federal legislation being proposed,” he said.

He later added, “I believe as governor of a state you have to camp out on the door step.” He said Congress should give states an opportunity to opt-out of the changes if there are better ways to respond to the conditions in a state. He said South Dakota ranks 24th nationally in health care costs, which he said is a sign that all sides are doing a good job.

“The hope I want to give you is we can do it here,” he said.

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