Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Dennis Daugaard, Road Warrior

Good Luck With That Pothole
Now, About The Rest Of That Road . . .
(photo from Sioux Falls Argus Leader)
     So suddenly it's all about urgency?  Governor Dennis Daugaard's long and wonkish recitation of the sorry state of our roads during his State of the State address yesterday seemed more a mastery of the obvious than the burst of awareness it was intended to be.  And Daugaard's emotional appeal for higher taxes to fund this mandatory need for repairing our highway system came across as more demand than plea, which, of course, is a stark repudiation of a campaign pledge made in 2010 when candidate Daugaard said "I will not raise taxes as governor. I will not support any new taxes or any increases in existing taxes. I would only consider a tax increase in response to an emergency, such as the temporary gas tax increase to pay for snow removal after the blizzards of 1997."
     I guess positing the deplorable shape of South Dakota's roads as an "emergency" is probably the only way that Daugaard can justify going back on his campaign promise, but I don't think it'll wash.  Why?  Because this road maintenance situation has been a known feature of South Dakota's long term obligations for many years.  Cripes, in 2011, Daugaard's first year in office, there was plenty of awareness of the situation.  As far back as 2008, during then-Governor Rounds' tenure, "the deferred maintenance and construction needs in South Dakota’s transportation system amounted to $756 million," according to that year's report card put out by the American Society of Civil Engineers, as quoted by Dakotafire.  
     So now we're stuck with a massive bill, amounting to hundreds of millions of bucks spread out over the next few years.  Daugaard, safely esconsed in his final term as Governor, need not answer to the citizens of this state who question his lack of attention to our road problem.  Nor does
Why Is This Man Laughing?
Because He Doesn't Have To Explain Why He Reneged On Taxes?
(photo from the Sioux Falls Argus Leader)
he have to explain why he's breaking one of his signature campaign pledges.  That he doesn't need to, and probably won't, explain is something we have to accept. My hope is that some of his supporters could step in and provide answers.  The comments section is theirs for the asking. I'm also reachable at the e-mail address on the right.  Your explanations, Daugaard supporters?

ADDENDUM (added @1247 1/14):  Daugaard effectively retracted his "no-tax while Governor" pledge on 10/24/14 when quoted in the Sioux Falls Argus Leader:  "When I first ran four years ago I promised to oppose all tax increases as we recovered from the recession, and I kept my promise, but earlier this year, you know I announced everything is on the table when it comes to roads, including taxes. It doesn't mean I'm promising to support a tax increase, but it does mean I'm not promising to oppose one either."   The retraction occurred during his first term, the reality struck yesterday, just two days after the beginning of his second.


  1. Sure would be nice if he would tap into some of the hundreds of millions he freely gives away to his business buddies first before tapping into my wallet. He could cut the business giveaways in halve and have enough to start on the roads and give teachers a raise. I have no problem with gas taxes being raised to help pay for roads, I use the roads and should help pay to maintain them, but the 600 million he gives away every year to his business friends is a bit much, I'm sure they could get by on 300 million.