With several individuals having declared their candidacy for South Dakota governor, Dakota Voice recently sent a list of issues-oriented questions to all the Republicans competing for this office.
These are the responses of candidate Ken Knuppe, rancher and former head of the South Dakota Stockgrowers Association.
1. If faced with a budget shortfall, would you first look at (a) cutting government expenses/programs, or (b) raising taxes? Which programs might you cut, or which taxes might you promote?
Cut government expense. Limit our government by limiting the amount of money we give government.
Our state’s general fund budget has grown by 20% in the last 5 years, and almost 60% in the last decade – we have room to cut back on government spending. We need an across the board cut. By this I mean each department or agency needs to cut back by a certain percentage. For example say a 5% cut, or whatever it would take to balance the budget (which South Dakota is required to do). That way each department could decide where to make the cuts. This would accomplish two things. First, it would balance the budget, and second, every government office would be looking at cutting back on expenses.
2. Do you support or oppose a corporate income tax?
I oppose any new tax at this time.
3. Do you support or oppose a state income tax?
Again, I oppose any new tax at this time.
4. Did you support HCR 1013 in the last legislative session to reassert South Dakota’s sovereignty under the 10th Amendment? As governor, would you be willing to “put teeth” to the resolution if pressed by unconstitutional federal mandates?
Of course I support South Dakota’s sovereignty, and would do everything in my power to stop unconstitutional federal mandates.
On a side note, I like Senator Thune co-sponsoring the Enumerated Powers Act (S. 1319) that would require all legislation introduced in Congress to contain a concise explanation of the constitutional authority empowering Congress to enact it.
5. Did you support HB 1105 in the last session to require volunteerism of high school students?
“required volunteerism”? If you require someone to volunteer, it’s not volunteering any more. Volunteering is something people do because they want to, not because they are forced to, or required to. No – I don’t support HB 1105.
6. Do you support or oppose the legalization of marijuana for medical use in South Dakota?
7. Did you support HB 1257 to allow the possession of a firearm on public campuses?
8. Did you support or oppose the 2006 bill to ban almost all abortions in South Dakota? Why?
I opposed because there were no exceptions.
9. Did you support or oppose the 2008 measure to ban most abortions in South Dakota? Why?
I support the idea because of the exceptions.
10. Do you support or oppose efforts to establish a government preschool program?
11. Do you support or oppose efforts to repeal the state ban on embryonic stem cell research?
I’m not well read on this subject, but what I do know about it, I would oppose.
12. Do you support or oppose “sustainability” initiatives and other environmental restriction efforts?
Not sure what you mean by this question. Sustainability is basically maintaining a balance. For instance, for my ranch to be successful, I need to “maintain a balance” between the forage available and the number of cattle I can graze. I believe that kind of sustainability is good.
Now, on the other hand, if you are talking about sustainability as defined by Agenda 21, which would basically put us back to the Stone Age, I oppose that.
Environmental restriction tools (such as the ESA), although most may have been started with good intentions, lately have been used by some groups as their “sword and shield” in an effort to control land use.
My family and I make our living off the land, so it is in our best interests to take good care of the land.
13. If the federal government tries to force socialized medicine on America, would you like Texas Gov. Rick Perry be willing to go to the mat on behalf of South Dakota under the Tenth Amendment?
Although there is a fair amount of socialized medicine going on right now, I do not support the current health care bill (Personally, I think everyone in Congress should vote against this bill simply because it is too long – 1000+ pages. I find it hard to believe that our elected officials in DC agree with every single page of this bill. This single bill is longer than our Constitution!).
Now that doesn’t mean that I am against any type of reform. There are things we can do within our state to make health care and insurance more beneficial to our citizens.
I think this question could be better asked of the people of South Dakota. Are you willing to “go to the mat” and deal with the consequences of going against the federal government?
14. Do you support the contention that the best government is that which governs least.
Absolutely – our constitution calls for limited government. And we are not going to limit government by increasing government spending. We limit government by limiting government spending. And the only way we, as citizens, can do that is by electing those people who are willing to limit spending (expenses).
Also, our state constitution in Article 6 (Bill of Rights) Sec. 27 states “Maintenance of a free government – Fundamental principles. The blessings of a free government can only be maintained by a firm adherence to justice, temperance, frugality, and virtue, and by frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”
I think it’s time we get back to those fundamental principles of a free government.
Mr. Knuppe immediately followed his responses to my questions with some of his own:
Thank you for the questions. Now, I have a few questions for you and your readers.
A couple of your questions deal with the 10th Amendment (States rights). I believe in States rights, but the way the federal government gets states to go along with some of these unconstitutional mandates is money. And our state balances our budget with federal monies – in the past, roughly a third of our state income is from the federal government, and this year, with the stimulus package, close to half our state income is from the feds.
My question here is “are the citizens of SD willing to give up about 1.8 billion dollars in federal funds to “put teeth in” and “go to the mat” to enforce the 10th Amendment to the United States Constitution?”
Another question I have for you and your readers is “ What do you think is the most important State issue facing South Dakota today?”
Thanks again, and I look forward to your responses.
All the best,
Thank you, Mr. Knuppe for responding to these questions.
To provide the reader and Mr. Knuppe some perspective on what I meant by the question on “sustainability” and environmental initiatives, it is indeed the type referred to in Agenda 21. I’m referring to the latest attempts to control the American people and limit their freedom under the auspices of “sustainable” governance. Some information on “sustainability” can be found here and here and here.
To briefly answer Knuppe’s questions, yes, I would be willing to see South Dakota push itself away from the federal trough of largess. I would support this even if it meant an increase in some taxes here in South Dakota; I would rather pay higher taxes for the necessary activities of government here close to home (where there is still some sanity and better accountability) than sending my tax dollars down the hole of waste in Washington.
And if more states stand up for themselves like this and rein in the federal government, there will be fewer of our tax dollars going to Washington to be wasted.
As for the most important issue facing South Dakota today, that’s a tough one because there are so many. South Dakota is a great place to live–one of the very best in the country.
If I had to say on short notice, the first thing that jumps out at me is the degradation of our character and moral fiber that is going on because we continue to allow hundreds of children every year in our state to be slaughtered on the altar of convenience.
Any other problems our state may have, we can find a way to get through them. We’re South Dakotans…we’re Americans. But if we surrender our souls on the highway of cowardice and convenience, we are nothing and we are doomed to see the foundation of our civilization fracture.
To quote Thomas Jefferson,
The care of human life and happiness, and not their destruction, is the first and only object of good government.
Thanks for asking, Mr. Knuppe.
What about you, Dear Reader? How would you answer Mr. Knuppe’s questions?