Letters to the Editor It's time to reduce spending
To the editor:
In the November elections South Dakotans again turned out in record numbers to vote. It is clear that the voters expect a fiscally conservative approach to solving the issues facing state government. Republicans received a strong majority in both the State Senate and House, and elected a Republican governor. The voters spoke on election day.
South Dakota faces a budget deficit and one big concern on our minds is how to balance the budget. Many are saying that the state needs to increase taxes to cover the government's shortfall. No candidate for the Legislature won their election saying to the voter, "Elect me and I will go to Pierre and raise your taxes to balance the budget." Instead, they expect lawmakers to balance the budget without tax hikes and deliver state government services in new ways at reduced cost.
Taxpayers must be ensured that they are getting the most bang for their buck. To do this, state employees must become agents of change. Through the years we have seen countless examples of dedication, sacrifice, and hard work by state government. However now, every branch and division must be able to provide services better, faster, and more efficiently.
This change must also take place within local government. Cities, counties, and school districts must reshape, reprioritize, and reorganize their operations to meet this economic challenge. We can no longer continue to support and fund the status quo.
We must work to solve our budget problems the same way South Dakota families do when expenses are greater than revenue. That is to prioritize spending, tighten our belts by reducing where we can, and change.
Change is never easy but difficult times also provide great opportunity. I am confident that the same budget approach that families take at their kitchen tables will make it possible for the Legislature to meet our budget problems. Hopefully this can be accomplished without raising taxes paid by the families and working people who are the South Dakota voters.
Rep. Ron Williamson
Vermillion puts love in action
To the editor:
Once again, the Vermillion community has demonstrated its compassion and concern for those among us who are less fortunate than we.
It is with deepest gratitude that the Theta Omega Chapter of ESA thanks those who so generously contributed gifts and donations to provide Christmas gifts for the more than 220 children from approximately 98 families through the ESA Giving Trees.
Every year of the more than 10 years that we have been sponsoring this project, we tend to worry that this will be the year that we will not have enough gifts and donations to meet our goal of providing at least one gift for each child whose parents have registered them with Social Services. This year was no different and, again this year, the community exceeded our expectations and rose to the occasion.
Nine years ago when then editor of the Plain Talk, Bill Willroth, Sr., closed his editorial by encouraging Vermillion citizens to select a tag from one of the Giving Trees, he quoted Dinah Maria Mulock ? "When faith and hope fail, as they do sometimes, we must try charity, which is love in action. We must speculate no more on our duty, but simply do it."
Thank you, Vermillion, for putting your love in action.
Chair ESA Giving Tree Project
'Hats off' to the Vermillion community
To the editor:
This is the third holiday season my family has been in the Vermillion community and I'd like to compliment this fine community for the wonderful support it has provided residents through the many activities during the holiday season and all through the year. We have lived in several communities and no other place has had the amount of involvement between businesses (the financial commitment they provide) and the community. I continue to be favorably impressed by all the contributions both Hy-Vee and Jones' grocery stores make to events throughout the year.
From the Holiday Open House event on Nov. 22 weekend, through the Celebrate Vermillion New Year's Party at the DakotaDome, these weeks were filled with special activities for everyone in the Vermillion community and surrounding areas. Just to name a few: Horse-Drawn Sleigh Rides, Christmas Tea, After Prom Party (Breakfast) Fund Raiser, "cheer plate" delivery, weekly free movie for the kids, Candlelight Tour of Homes, New Year's Eve fireworks, free candy canes at businesses (popular with kids) and of course, Santa's visit to turn on the lights in downtown Vermillion.
I hope the businesses feel proud of their contribution and know that they are appreciated for what they offer throughout the year. As residents who benefit from this contribution, we should say "thank you" for helping make this community a great place to live.
My "hat is off" to the Vermillion Area Chamber of Commerce and the many people/ committees who once again made the Come Home for the Holidays events a great place to be.