Archive for the ‘Updates’ Category
Press Release: Citizens Outraged Over Exhorbitant State Salaries
The following press release is going out from Campaign for Liberty to media across the state of South Dakota, and is provided for informational purposes to SDTPA supporters here:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Shad Olson, South Dakota Tea Party Alliance, (605) 716-7842
Zach Lautenschlager, South Dakota Campaign for Liberty, (605) 431-3140
Taxpayers Express Outrage Over Exorbitant State Salaries
Pierre, S.D.,–Conservative watchdog groups are adding their voices to the chorus of criticism over obscene compensation packages paid to South Dakota’s Executive employees. The criticism stems from the recently publicized conflict between Governor Dennis Daugaard and state investment officer, Matt Clark, which cast a revelatory and damaging spotlight on salaries many consider outrageously high for the public sector.
“Learning that a state level employee like Mr. Clark is paid nearly $400,000, before benefits and bonuses, simply adds to a belief on the part of many taxpayers that their government is out of touch,” said Rip Ryness, Executive Director of South Dakota Campaign for Liberty.
“Hearing that Mr. Clark was also prepared to submit a budget that ignored Governor Daugaard’s call for an across the board, 10% reduction in spending is also troubling, given the current uncertainties faced by so many South Dakotans.”
While Clark has subsequently called the matter a miscommunication and has indicated a willingness to take a pay cut, the controversy has motivated a closer inspection of South Dakota’s executive salaries list and more questions about compensation levels and salary increases at a time when both the state budget and the private sector are struggling to do more with less. Critics like South Dakota Tea Party Alliance President, Shad Olson, say dozens of positions boasting salaries at or above $200,000, are particularly difficult to justify when set against simultaneous spending cuts proposed for South Dakota schools.
“The belief that the Investment Office, or any other executive level state employee should somehow be insulated from belt tightening is insulting,” Olson said. “Ask the average employee in the private sector if they received a cost of living adjustment last year, much less a 100-percent bonus, and then decide whether such departmental bias is warranted.”
Investment office employees including the investment officer, a deputy and an assistant, are eligible to receive performance-based bonuses of up to 100-percent of their previous year’s base pay, meaning they might make as much as double their publicized salary. Bonuses are taken directly from funds managed by the investment office.
“When even an assistant investment officer is paid $209,000, I think there is appropriate room for examining whether such compensation levels might represent an abuse of taxpayer generosity,” Olson said. “I think there is an expectation that any work that is done in the public interest is an opportunity for service and sacrifice, not for abject enrichment that might be better applied to easing the burden on taxpayers.”
With an estimated $140-million structural shortfall in the coming fiscal year, conservative groups are urging lawmakers to find ways to streamline government departments and avoid a need for a tax increase of any kind.
“No one is here to say how much anyone deserves to earn for their given skillset, talent or education,” Olson said. “What we are saying is that the current economic climate makes it difficult to support or defend salary levels and increases that aren’t reflective of what’s happening in the economy at large.”
Both Olson and Ryness say conservative groups will continue to hammer the need for fiscal sanity as the 2011 legislative session moves along.
“The Governor made a promise not to raise taxes,” Ryness said. “I believe the pressure of public opposition to any tax increase will go a long way toward helping him keep that promise, no matter how much pressure special interest groups, including state employees, might apply to individual legislators in the weeks to come.”
Gov. Daugaard in Rapid City
Gov. Dennis Daugaard will be in Rapid City Tuesday Jan. 25 to present his budget and take questions at the Rapid City Chamber of Commerce Luncheon. The cost is $15 per member and $17 per nonmember. Go to the Chamber website at www.rapidcitychamber.com to purchase tickets.
Gov. Daugaard has presented a budget proposal that acknowledges Tea Party priorities of fiscal responsibility and limited government, especially in these difficult economic times. You can find out more about his proposal and ask questions at the luncheon.
Tea Party Response to State of the Union Address
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN) has confirmed that she will be giving the Tea Party response to President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address on Tuesday Jan. 25.
For years the opposing party has given a “response” speech after the president’s State of the Union Address every January. This year, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) will give the Republican response following the State of the union. Ryan is the author of the “Roadmap for America’s Future” plan to wean America off entitlements and improve the budget process.
This year, the Tea Party will also be giving a response which will be delivered by the architect of the U.S. House Tea Party Caucus, Rep. Bachmann. Check local listings for television coverage or watch the webcast at www.TeaPartyExpress.org.
SDTPA Monthly Meeting
The monthly meeting of the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance for January will be held on Thurs. Jan. 27 at 6:30 pm.
The Disabled American Veterans of Rapid City have graciously offered to allow us to use their facilities for meetings in exchange for a small fee to help with expenses. The DAV hall is located at 101 East Madison Street in Rapid City just a few blocks north of East North Street. You can get there by turning off of East North Street onto East Blvd North (click here for a photo of the turnoff). Click here for an interactive map you can use for directions. Parking at the DAV hall is very limited, but Pastor Elton Yellow Boy has graciously allowed us to park across the street at the North Rapid Community Church.
Our special guest speaker for the evening will be former Tea Party leader Gordon Howie. Howie continues to be involved in a number of conservative pursuits across the state and will share some of what he’s seeing.
Be sure to invite a friend or two to come with you. There is strength in numbers, and while we won some great victories last year, more challenges lie ahead.
Your country and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance needs YOU, and we hope to see you there!
KNBN NewsCenter 1 interviewed South Dakota Tea Party Alliance board member and Treasurer Zach Lautenschlager at the Dec. 14 meeting of the group. The interview was regarding the tax deal worked out between President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans.
As early as Monday afternoon, the lame-duck Senate will vote on whether to continue current bloated federal spending levels into next year.
On Wednesday (12/8), the House passed a “Continuing Resolution” (CR) that would extend current spending levels through next September. In addition to continuing this unsustainable government spending, the House attached S. 510 (the so-called “Food Safety Modernization Act”), which will increase the costs of food production by adding more layers of government interference. Like Cap and Tax, which will guarantee higher energy bills, S. 510 will ensure you pay more for food.
Now this monstrosity is pending in the US Senate. To make matters worse, Democrats may introduce an “Omnibus Spending” bill as an amendment to the CR, and although details are still in flux, we can confidently say it won’t cut current spending levels, either.
So far, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Minority Whip John Kyl appear completely unconcerned about the long-term CR and its plan to fund ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank’s “Fed Empowerment Act,” along with maintaining other bloated federal spending.
The long-term CR passed in the House leaves spending at 2010 levels and contains over $1 trillion in appropriations, in addition to the cost of implementing S. 510.
Please contact Senators Johnson and Thune and ask them to vote NO on Washington’s unsustainable spending spree! Email them right away (feel free to use the sample message below) and leave messages at their offices on Monday morning.
Senator John Thune
Toll Free: 1-866-850-3855
Senator Tim Johnson
Phone: (202) 224-5842
I have had more than enough of Washington’s reckless spending. I respectfully urge you to reject politics as usual and show genuine leadership by making the tough decisions necessary to live within our means and restore our country’s prosperity.
The long-term “Continuing Resolution” will fund a mob of outrageous big-government pet projects through most of next year. The only fiscally responsible action is to filibuster the current CR and push for a short-term version that will allow the new Congress to take the lead on next year’s appropriations.
I will not tolerate taking America down this doomed fiscal path. Please vote “NO” to increased food costs and massive new government regulation through S. 510. Please vote “NO” to funding ObamaCare, the Dodd-Frank “Fed Empowerment Act,” and other statist pet projects!
And please vote “NO” to continuing unsustainable debts and deficits!
Thank you for your consideration.
We emailed recently about S. 510, the food safety bill that would grow the FDA and increase food costs, and asked you to contact Senator Tim Johnson and Senator John Thune.
Many of you did just that, and thanks to your encouragement Senator Thune voted against the bill. Unfortunately Sen. Johnson voted for S. 510, and it passed the Senate73 to 25.
But as the Daily Caller reports, the U.S. Senate forgot to consult that important document known as the U.S. Constitution–which requires all bills which raise revenue (as S 510 would) to originate in the U.S. House, a step the liberals missed in their eagerness to pass this bill.
It is now uncertain whether both houses of Congress can retrace these steps in time to pass a bill before the holiday recess.
We must remain vigilant, but in the meantime, you can contact Senators Johnson and Thune again to make sure they know the will of the people. We should especially thank Senator Thune for voting against this bad bill; our representatives deserve to hear from us when we’re upset…and when we’re pleased.
Toll Free: 1-866-850-3855
Phone: (202) 224-5842
The next meeting of the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance will be Thursday September 16 at 6:30 pm at Comfort Suites on Elk Vale Road.
In addition to regular business updates, our special guest speaker will be Dr. Kermit Staggers. One of the leading minds on American history and government in South Dakota, Dr. Staggers is a stalwart champion of constitutionally limited government.
He is an esteemed Fulbright Lecturer, currently serving as Professor of History and Political Science at the University of Sioux Falls, and has traveled to 40 foreign countries and taught American history in Kiev, Madrid and Nuremberg. He received his Ph.D. in American History from the Claremont Graduate University (California).
Dr. Staggers also served South Dakota and the nation as an Air Force Intelligence Officer, a Sioux Falls City Councilman and a state Senator, and narrowly lost his bid for Mayor of Sioux Falls in April of this year.
There will be more information about the Constitution Challenge program, and we will have political yard signs on hand to help you support your favorite limited government candidate.
Be sure to come and invite several friends. Together, we are an encouragement to one another…and a strong statement to those who are entrusted with protecting our freedom.
SDTPA Gold Memberships
The membership certificates and membership cards for those who purchased premium memberships are ready and will be handed out at our meeting on September 16. If you purchased a premium membership or stated you wanted one and would pay later, please be sure to attend so you can get your certificate.
Your support and commitment to SDTPA’s efforts for limited government are greatly appreciated.
Remember, in addition to financially supporting SDTPA, your gold membership also entitles you to benefits such as additional input and involvement in future activities, access to the “members” area of our website, and a 10% discount on SDTPA merchandise (t-shirts, buttons, etc.).