Vote 'yes' on amendments April 10 By Gov. William Janklow On Tuesday, April 10, you have an opportunity to vote on two of the most financially important decisions facing South Dakota today.
"Yes" votes on Constitutional Amendment A and Constitutional Amendment B will ensure that more than $350 million of funds which came unexpectedly to the state treasury will not be squandered. Voting "yes" means the money will always be there for our children, our grandchildren and our great-grandchildren. Voting "yes" puts the money in trust, protecting it from the big spenders and providing reliable funding for two of our biggest needs: good schools and quality health care.
Most state legislators, whether Democratic or Republican, overwhelmingly supported putting both amendments on the ballot:
* Constitutional Amendment A locks up $230 million of proceeds from the sale of the State Cement Plant in a permanent trust fund, with the first $12 million of annual earnings to be used for the general state budget. Further earnings are dedicated to education and to growing the fund, so that as the fund becomes larger the earnings from it row too and provide an increasing benefit to our schools.
Under Amendment A, the Legislature could never touch the cement plant trust's principal. that means the sale of the Cement Plant will forever benefit South Dakota, because the money will always be there and invested, earning more money for the people of our state.
* Constitutional Amendment B calls for creating two other trust funds. About $50 million of tobacco-settlement proceeds on hand this year and $6 million of Youth at Risk funds in 2002 would be placed into a trust fund whose earnings would be dedicated to education. Plus future tobacco proceeds would be put in the eduction trust. Another $75 million of federal health-care funds, sent to South Dakota because of previous low Medicaid payments, would be put in a separate trust fund whose earnings would be dedicated for health care.
Under Amendment B, the education and health-care trust funds have a special feature: an emergency valve. Because our economy can be as unpredictable as the weather, the legislators can in case of emergency tap the principal of the education or health care trust fund, but only with a three-fourths majority vote.
This is the public's money � your money. Two "yes" votes on April 10 will put the money away for safekeeping, so that it earns more money for the people of South Dakota, now and forever. Otherwise those hundreds of millions of dollars sit unprotected, waiting for the big spenders to come along and blow the money. Once it's gone, it's gone � and that's exactly why we need to vote "yes" so that never happens.