Friday, October 29, 2010

Kristi Noem’s Record: Increasing Taxes for South Dakota’s Small Businesses

(October 29, 2010)-Throughout this campaign, Kristi Noem has claimed to be a small government politician who wants to reduce taxes, reduce the size of government and help out our small business employers.

And throughout this campaign, Kristi Noem has avoided giving specifics on her plans or evidence of tough choices she’s made while in Pierre.  Taking a closer look, it’s clear her rhetoric doesn’t stand up to her legislative record of increasing taxes and using stimulus dollars to balance the state budget.  Not to mention the millions in federal farm subsidies she accepted.

In just this term in Pierre, Kristi Noem introduced, sponsored, or voted for legislation to increase taxes on South Dakotans at least seven times.
  • In 2010, Noem cosponsored SB 186, which increases taxes on small businesses to cover shortfalls in the state unemployment insurance fund.
  • In 2009, she was the prime sponsor of HB 1217, which gives the Governor authority to raise taxes unilaterally by suspending tax exemptions – such as exemptions on churches, hospitals, doctors, clinics and prescription drugs.
  • She was also the prime sponsor of HB 1218, which increases taxes by raising fees collected by any state department or agency by 2.5% per year since the last time they were raised.  
  • She was also the prime sponsor of HB 1229, which increased the gross receipts tax on South Dakota’s tourism industry by 50%.
  • She voted to increase vehicle license fees by 67% (HB 1007), and cosponsored another bill to raise license fees on vehicles older than 5 years by an additional 33% (SB 11).
  • She cosponsored SB 116, which imposes a new gas tax for ethyl and methyl alcohol used in motor vehicles.

(When not raising taxes, Kristi Noem has spent her time in Pierre fighting to regulate acupuncturists and tanning beds.)

Raising taxes only accounts for one side of the ledger.  It’s clear that while Kristi Noem talks a big game about cutting spending, she isn’t shy about accepting the same federal subsidies she decries.

Noem’s Family Ranch Received Nearly $3 Million in Farm Subsidies.
From 1995-2006, Noem’s family ranch, Racota Valley Ranch, received nearly $3 million in federal farm subsidies. As of 2009, Noem’s stake in the ranch was 16.9 percent. She said her mother and brothers bought her out in 2009. [Argus Leader, 3/4/10]

Noem Received More Subsidies than Her Neighbors, Outpaced her Neighboring Farms by $2 Million.
According to the Environmental Working Group’s farm subsidies database, Noem’s farm received the most farm subsidies between 1995 and 2009 in her zip code. Her farm received $3,058,152.22 and beat out 127 other farms. The next closest farm received $1,130,087.10. [Environmental Working Group, Farm Subsidy Database, 7/6/10]

Noem’s Ranch in the One of the Top 20 Farms to Get the Most Subsidies in South Dakota. According to the Environmental Working Group’s farm subsidies database, Noem’s farm, the Racota Valley Ranch, received the 18th most subsidies between 1995 and 2009 in South Dakota. [Environmental Working Group, Farm Subsidy Database, 7/6/10]


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Kristi Noem Launches 11th Hour Desperate Attack

Wednesday, Noem Decries Personal Attacks; Thursday, She Authorizes and Pays for False Negative Attack on Stephanie’s Family

(October 28, 2010) – Less than 24 hours after saying her campaign won’t engage in negative personal attacks, Kristi Noem is doing just that, filling South Dakota television screens with a false attack on Stephanie Herseth Sandlin’s family.

“Unleashing a false negative attack the weekend before Election Day is straight out of the desperation political playbook,” said Betsy Hart, Deputy Campaign Manager for Stephanie Herseth Sandlin.  “Kristi Noem has only been a politician for four years, but she’s a quick learner when it comes to making false negative attacks to try to further her own political ambitions.  While Stephanie is fighting to change Washington, Kristi Noem’s recklessness and lies make it pretty clear she’d fit right in.”

Under even basic scrutiny, Noem’s attacks on Herseth Sandlin’s family fall flat.  Her ad attacks Herseth Sandlin for cosponsoring two bills that are good for South Dakota.  The first is strongly supported by the South Dakota Broadcasters Association, and the second helps protect the Second Amendment rights of South Dakotans.  Both pieces of legislation are also cosponsored by Senator John Thune.

Hart added, “Noem is attempting to smear Stephanie with even more lies in order to change the subject from her record of arrest warrants and her support for cutting Medicare benefits.  Stephanie has a proven record of putting South Dakota first and in the final days of the campaign, she will be talking to voters about her ideas to move forward in a constructive, bipartisan way to confront the challenges we face as a state and a nation.”

Kristi Noem at KELO debate, 10/27/10 (emphasis added):  “I think it’s important when you have an election and we’re talking about character, and we’re talking about personal negative attacks, we need to make sure that we look at both campaigns and know that my campaign, my ads on TV, have reflected the issues that South Dakotans care about.”

“…[The Herseth Sandlin campaign] focused on negative, personal attacks, character attacks. That is something that I don’t think is what should be the main goal here.”

Noem has Just Five Days to Promise She Won't Vote to Privatize Medicare and Social Security

76 Days and Counting Since Noem Refused to Sign Pledge To Protect South Dakota Seniors

October 28, 2010, Sioux Falls – With five days left to go until Election Day, South Dakotans are still waiting for an answer from Kristi Noem on her support for privatizing Medicare and Social Security. In May before the June primary, Noem said in a live chat with the Rapid City Journal that the “Roadmap” budget proposal authored by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) was the “right direction for our country to go.” The Ryan Budget is widely recognized for its revival of proposals to privatize Social Security and Medicare.  

Noem has hailed Paul Ryan as a good Speaker of the House.  She accepted contributions from Ryan’s Prosperity PAC and is an NRCC “Young Gun,” a program founded by Paul Ryan to provide support and fundraising assistance to Republican Candidates.  Noem has refused to back off from her support of Paul Ryan's budget, which would privatize Social Security and Medicare. 

By the Numbers:
·         169-The number of days since Noem said that the Ryan ‘Roadmap’ was the “right directions for our country to go.”
·         78-The number of days since Noem claimed never to have taken a position on privatization of Medicare and Social Security.
·         76 Days-The number of days since Noem refused to sign a pledge from South Dakota Seniors to oppose the Ryan Budget and all efforts to privatize Social Security and Medicare. Herseth Sandlin signed this pledge.
·         2,500- The size of the contribution Noem’s campaign received from Rep. Paul Ryan’s Prosperity PAC.
·         22,867-The amount of financial assistance Noem has received from Rep. Paul Ryan’s Young Guns program.
·         5-The number of days Noem has left to pledge to oppose the Ryan ‘Roadmap’ and assure South Dakota voters that she will not support privatization of Medicare and Social Security.

The pledge put forth by South Dakota seniors that Herseth Sandlin signed, and Noem refused, reads:

If elected to Congress I will work to protect South Dakota seniors by opposing and voting against efforts to privatize Social Security and Medicare, including the Paul Ryan budget as well as any efforts such as the proposals put forth by President George W. Bush in 2005, and any other attempt to privatize either Social Security or Medicare.

Background on Rep. Ryan’s Budget:

Senior Citizens Journal: Privatize Social Security, Medicare Into Voucher Program
According to the Senior Citizens Journal, “Congressman Paul Ryan (R-WI) recently proposed a “Roadmap for America’s Future:  2.0”.  In it, he suggests (among other proposals) the ‘sane’ way to proceed into the next decade would be to privatize Social Security and turn Medicare into a voucher program.” [Senior Citizens Journal, 2/6/10]

Washington Post: Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security are Privatized
“To move us to surpluses, Ryan's budget proposes reforms that are nothing short of violent. Medicare is privatized. Seniors get a voucher to buy private insurance, and the voucher's growth is far slower than the expected growth of health-care costs. Medicaid is also privatized. The employer tax exclusion is fully eliminated, replaced by a tax credit that grows more slowly than medical costs. And beyond health care, Social Security gets guaranteed, private accounts that CBO says will actually cost more than the present arrangement, further underscoring how ancillary the program is to our budget problem.” [Washington Post, Klein,  2/1/10]

“Proposal Would Abolish Medicare in Its Current Form”
According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “The Ryan proposal would abolish Medicare in its current form for everyone currently below age 55. In other words, the traditional fee-for-service Medicare program would be eliminated for everyone becoming eligible after 2020…Overall, CBO estimates that the Ryan proposal would reduce projected Medicare expenditures by 37 percent by 2040, and 76 percent by 2080. (In other words, expenditures for the vouchers that would replace today’s Medicare would, in 2080, equal 24 percent of what Medicare expenditures are projected to be under current law.) Since the proposal does little to slow the growth of provider charges for health care services or insurance company charges for premiums, most of these reductions in Medicare spending would have to be borne by elderly and disabled beneficiaries themselves or their families.” [CBPP, 3/10/10]

Plan Eliminates the Entire Children’s Health Insurance Program
The roadmap would eliminate the Children’s Health Insurance Program and convert it into a voucher program that loses value over time. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “The Ryan plan would eliminate traditional Medicare, most of Medicaid, and all of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), converting these health programs largely to vouchers that low-income households, seniors, and people with disabilities could use to help buy insurance in the private health insurance market. Under Ryan’s plan, the value of the vouchers would fall further behind the rising cost of health care with each passing year, so they would purchase less health coverage over time… The Ryan proposal thus would sharply reduce or eliminate all major forms of health insurance that spread risk by pooling healthy and less-healthy people together on a large scale. It would do so without taking significant action to create viable new pooling arrangements. Most Americans — including the poor and the elderly — would largely be left to purchase insurance on their own with a voucher or tax credit in an insurance market that would remain largely unreformed.” [CBPP, 3/10/10]

Center for American Progress: Republican Plan Would Eliminate Medicare
In a piece titled, “House GOP Medicare Elimination Plan Puts Conservatives in a Pickle,” Matthew Yglesias of the Center for American Progress wrote that “GOP budget chief Paul Ryan’s plan to balance the budget by eliminating Social Security and Medicare is putting some of his colleagues on the hot seat.” He continued, “The House GOP budget, by contrast, just goes after Medicare with a chain saw. Right now, the rapidly rising cost of health care implies rapidly increasing Medicare costs. Ryan doesn’t have a plan to control those exploding costs. Instead, his plan is to refuse to pay the bill. This saves a ton of money.” [Center for American Progress, 2/8/10]
Thompson: “Gradual Extermination” of Medicare
Derek Thompson, a staff editor at the Atlantic, wrote that, “There's a bit of a debate about whether Ryan's proposal is so honest it's crazy, or so crazy it's not serious. I think it's extremely serious -- not as a budget proposal, but as a dystopian parable. It's like reading 1984 for the next century, but with graphs… Six months after the Democrats' proposed Medicare savings made Republicans shout bloody murder (literally: Death Panels), Rep. Paul Ryan is now proposing the program's gradual extermination.” [The Atlantic, 2/2/10]

NCPSSM: Plan Would ‘Destroy’ Medicare and Social Security
The National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare discussing the Ryan/Republican plan wrote, “In short, it is a budget plan which decimates Social Security and Medicare in the name of deficit reduction.  The only thing new about this strategy, is the fact that Rep. Ryan isn’t shy about acknowledging that he believes seniors should foot the bill for our current economic nightmare…Destroying Social Security and Medicare, under the guise of deficit reduction, isn’t about creating sound economic policy it’s just more of the same old privatization politics, rewrapped, repackaged and rejected by the American people just two years ago.” [NCPSSM, 2/3/10]

Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Tucker: Medicare is Eliminated
Cynthia Tucker of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote that, “It might not be popular, but at least Rep. Paul Ryan, the highest-ranking Republican on the House Budget Committee, has had the honesty to make a solid proposal to bring down the deficit. He wants to eliminate Medicare and Medicaid. He also proposes deep cuts to Social Security.” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution, 2/8/10]

Plan Risks Federal Bailouts of Social Security Private Accounts
Ryan’s plan privatizes Social Security which could require a federal bailout of private accounts if the market declined. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “Under the Ryan plan, individuals who divert a portion of their payroll tax contributions to private accounts would be guaranteed that they would receive back in retirement at least as much as they contributed, plus an adjustment for inflation. In essence, they would be given a federal guarantee against stock-market lossesThis guarantee could require a major federal bailout of private accounts during periods when the stock market performs poorly. The cost of this guarantee, unlike that of traditional Social Security, could escalate rapidly and add suddenly and unpredictably to the federal deficit. Providing a federal guarantee for stock-market investments also could encourage risky investment decisions by individuals, as well as misguided attempts by policymakers to shore up weak or falling stock prices in response to pressures from constituents who are relying on these accounts to support them in old age.” [CBPP, 3/10/10]

Plan Fails to Control National Debt
Despite the claims of Rep. Ryan, his plan fails to control the growth in the national debt. His claims have relied on an incomplete analysis based on assumption’s provided by Ryan’s own staff. According to the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, “As a result of its costly new tax cuts for the wealthy, the Ryan plan would allow the federal debt to continue rising in relation to the size of the economy for at least four decades. Even in CBO’s analysis of the Ryan plan, which assumed — as Ryan’s staff specified but the Tax Policy Center has found to be incorrect — that revenues would not fall below their projected levels under current tax policies until after 2030, the federal debt would grow as a share of GDP until 2043, and the budget would not reach balance until 2063. Under the much more realistic revenue estimates that the Tax Policy Center has prepared, the budgetary outlook under the Ryan plan would be substantially worse.  Using TPC’s new revenue estimates, we estimate that the budget deficit under the Ryan plan would reach about 7 percent of GDP and the debt would grow to 90 percent of GDP by 2020. TPC estimates that revenues under the Ryan plan would average 16.3 percent of GDP over the period from 2011 through 2020.” [CBPP, 3/10/10]

Monday, October 25, 2010

Herseth Sandlin: Noem Running Dishonest Campaign Designed to Mislead Voters

Holds Press Conferences in Sioux Falls, Rapid City to Expose Noem’s Series of Mailings That Lie to SD Voters

Deceptive Campaign Causes Voters to Question Whether They Can Trust Noem

October 25, 2010 – U.S. Rep. Stephanie Herseth Sandlin held press conferences on each side of the state today, exposing Kristi Noem’s dishonest campaign, which is spreading lies to thousands of South Dakota voters.   

Herseth Sandin said, “Kristi Noem is running a dishonest campaign purposefully misleading voters about my record.  That’s unacceptable and indefensible.  South Dakota voters deserve better.”

Herseth Sandlin highlighted two recent mailers paid for and authorized by Kristi Noem, sent to South Dakota voters’ homes, one that misrepresents Herseth Sandlin’s record on guns, and another baseless attack about Ellsworth Air Force Base.  Herseth Sandlin said she had talked to numerous voters who were disappointed and offended by Noem’s deceptive mailers.

Herseth Sandlin added, “South Dakota voters don’t deserve to be lied to, and they don’t deserve our lone voice in Congress to be someone who will so easily put her own personal self-interest ahead of the truth or ahead of what’s best for the state.  If voters can’t trust what she says in campaign mailings, why should they trust she’ll put South Dakota first if she’s elected?  These two mailers clearly demonstrate that she’s reckless with the facts and she’s willing to lie about my record in her campaign. “

Congressman Dave Obey (D-WI), the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee said, "Action on the Defense Appropriations bill is far from complete.  I expect that there will be many changes in Subcommittee drafts before final decisions are actually made.  Suggestions that funding levels have been finally decided are misinformed and misleading.  The Appropriations Committee has made no final decisions, nor has the House.  And, in fact, I would be surprised if, in the end, the program in question is actually cut."

Jon Goodwin, Federal Liaison for the National Rifle Association said, "Stephanie Herseth Sandlin earned her 'A' rating and endorsement from the NRA-PVF by consistently supporting gun owners and hunters.  Anyone who says otherwise is trying to mislead South Dakota voters."

Noem sent out a mailing trying to fool voters into believing that she received the NRA endorsement and that Rep. Herseth Sandlin has an F rating from that group. However, the NRA has endorsed Herseth Sandlin in this race, not Noem, and given her an A rating. This mailer is so false and deceptive that the NRA condemned Kristi Noem’s mail piece and her deceptive attempts to convince South Dakotans that she had received the endorsement.   

Just last Saturday, South Dakota voters received another mailer from Kristi Noem falsely telling them that funding for the B-1 Bomber has been cut, and blaming Rep. Herseth Sandlin for the supposed "cut."  Noem cites an unreleased, unavailable leaked report as her source – but no such report has been made public and no such cut has been made.  Moreover, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee calls her claim "misinformed and misleading."  Noem's attempts to use Ellsworth Air Force Base for partisan political gain run in stark contrast to the acknowledgment of many, including Governor Rounds and Senator Thune, that we have been successful in advocating for EAFB precisely because the effort has been bipartisan.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Noem Agrees with Glenn Beck: Evolution is Ridiculous, Abolish the Department of Education

(October 24, 2010)-“Kristi Noem says she agrees with (Glenn) Beck's analysis" reports the British newspaper The Daily Mail in a profile today.

By this point, we all know Beck's extreme take on America. It's the same fringe analysis that says public education is against America's core values and wants to abolish the Department of Education.

It's the same analysis that calls evolution "ridiculous," equates life-saving stem cell research to eugenics, and concludes that the Federal Reserve - not Wall Street excess - is the cause of our financial crisis.

And Kristi Noem agrees, alright. "'His overall concept… is right,' she says."


Saturday, October 23, 2010

Noem Supports more Transparency from Third-Parties...Except When They're Helping Her

 (October 23, 2010)-As South Dakotans are subjected to more and more negative advertising from secretive, out-of-state third-parties, Kristi Noem told The Argus Leader Editorial Board that she believes that third-party advertising needs to be more transparent. However, South Dakotans have yet to see Kristi Noem take a principled stand against third-party groups that are spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in South Dakota on 100% negative advertising without having to disclose their donors. Noem claims that she has "no control" over third parties and isn't even legally allowed to converse with them.

Noem said, "Well I've always supported more transparency and I think when we talk about outside money being spent on elections, I think it's good to be transparent to know who's spending the dollars, who's coming in and playing. However. I can only speak on behalf of my campaign, because I certainly have no control over 3rd parties, and it would be illegal for me to even converse or talk to them."

 "Kristi Noem claims to believe in transparency, however, we have yet to see her ask shadowy out-of-state groups who don't have to disclose their donors to stop their 100% negative ad war on the airwaves in South Dakota," said Stephanie Herseth Sandlin. "It’s clear that these negative ads are meant to distract voters away from Kristi Noem’s record of warrants for her arrest and failures to appear in court. South Dakotans deserve to know who is trying to influence their election. If Kristi Noem truly believed in transparency like she claims, she would take a stand against this negative advertising from secretive out-of-state groups."

 In South Dakota, the third party groups currently running 100% negative advertising without having to disclose their donors include:

·         American Future Fund (Tied to racially-tinged Willie Horton ads  during the Bush-Dukakis election, Swift Boat Veterans for Truth during the Bush-Kerry election)

·         American Action Network (Founder implicated in Watergate, Organization Shares Office Space with Karl Rove's 'American Crossroads')

·         Common Sense Issues (Tied to the Abortion Ban referendums in South Dakota in 06 and 08)

Read the article here.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Proof from MDR that Kristi & her campaign can't be trusted.

More proof from the Mitchell Daily Republic that Kristi Noem and her campaign will lie about the facts to get elected, and can't be trusted:

"Though Shields said Herseth Sandlin has a "D" grade from Gun Owners of America the organization's website showed a "B-" grade for her as of Thursday afternoon."

 Read it here.