Governor Optimistic About The Future Of SD
by Jeff Rusack, Reporter
January 14, 2014 6:25 PM
The state of South Dakota has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, something state leaders are thrilled with. But as the Governor Daugaard stated Tuesday "that" can be a problem, and hopes new funding will help keep skilled workers in South Dakota.
Most law makers in Pierre agree with the governor, the state of South Dakota is in good shape. Now with a 38 day session ahead of them both the legislative and executive branch will see what they can do to make South Dakota better.
First on the agenda at the state of the state address, describing the successful business climate in the state, and how the state is striving in more than just economics after the recession.
Governor Daugaard said, “It should be no surprise that an analysis last year of photos posted on the internet show that South Dakotans smile more than people in any other state.”
While the governor added a punch line, he wants to keep South Dakota's strong business atmosphere going by adding to the state's workforce. He plans to do that by giving technical schools a $5 million increase in funding, and an extra $1.5 million in scholarships to students at those schools.
Daugaard said, “We need to prepare our young people to live and work in the 21st century, and we need to give them the information they need to make wise decisions about career choices. And academic programs students need to know that if they enter a high need field they'll find a job in South Dakota and they'll make good money in that job.”
Last year the governor signed a criminal justice bill into effect, he says it's going to take a few more years to see how effective the law that adds drug and DUI courts will be.
Daugaard said, “Experts tell us it will take two or three years to complete implementation and three to five years to see all the results of our combined efforts.”
In the governor’s budget address in December he said he would not expand the Medicaid program, but Democrats say a strong health care system would help the state create a better work force.
Representative Bernie Hunhoff said, “I think Medicaid expansion is a critical part of work force expansion. We're going to have a lot of folks working in South Dakota at low wages and find they can't afford health insurance, and find if they move to another state where they expanded Medicaid they'll be able to qualify for subsidies or healthcare.”
Medicaid is sure to be on the docket this session, but the governor is confident and excited to see where the state of South Dakota is headed.
Daugaard said, “What the state of our state is today, the state of South Dakota is strong and I know the best is yet to come. Let’s all work hard this year.”
Another issue the legislature will face this session, common core standards in schools. While the governor didn't clearly take a stance, he says South Dakota students need rigorous standards but understands why people are worried about local control.