In Their Own Words: Legislative Recap

Rep. Bernie Hunoff (D-Yankton)

“Through the years, I’ve always felt that we made at least small steps in every legislative session — never as much as we might hope but at least something. This year, it’s clear that we took a big step backwards. We hurt our schools and the state shirked its responsibilities for providing health care to the youngest, the oldest and the poorest in South Dakota. In the process we lost more than $30 million in federal Medicaid funds.”

Sen. Jason Frerichs (D-Wilmot)

“The legislature has come to the final week. Ever since Governor Daugaard announced his plan to cut all state spending by 10%, people throughout South Dakota have spoken up largely through cracker barrels. Throughout the entire state people have been consistently angry and frustrated with the Governor’s plans to cut education and Medicaid and Legislators finally listened. In a call for smaller cuts, ways have been found to alter the proposed budget cuts to those most adversely effected: education and Medicaid.”

Rep. Peggy Gibson (D – Huron)

How should we react to the Governor’s extremist budget cuts passed almost without any changes from the Republican-led Legislature? Certainly this is not the time to take $75 million out of our health care economy, of which the federal government pays two-thirds.  Thousands of jobs will be lost.  Health insurance premiums will escalate; the poor will lose insurance coverage and our emergency rooms will be filled to capacity.  In addition, this is not the time to shift the cost of educating our children to local property taxpayers.