Demands insult donorWe’ve seen some crazy things come out of Pierre over the years but this one may just take the blue ribbon.
By: The Public Opinion, Watertown, S.D., The Jamestown Sun
The Public Opinion, Watertown, S.D.
We’ve seen some crazy things come out of Pierre over the years but this one may just take the blue ribbon.
Earlier this month, an amendment was attached to House Bill 1026, a measure which authorized South Dakota State University to spend $5 million of a California donor’s money on phase II of the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science building. That amendment, which passed on a 5-4 vote, would require that same donor to endow a pot of money to fund ongoing maintenance to the new facility.
What? That’s right: Besides paying to build the new facility, the legislative committee’s action, if passed by the full House and Senate, would require that same donor to fund future maintenance bills on a building they would like to build for the state/university.
Give the five members of the committee who voted for the amendment an “A+” on chutzpah ... it reminds us of the old fairy tale of killing the goose that was producing the golden eggs. What donor in his or her right mind would agree to that kind of proposition? And at what point does our state, the taxpayers, take on some responsibility for this new state-owned free facility?
What this bill does, in our estimation, is send a great chill to fundraising efforts by our regental schools, which are turning over all the stones in an effort to find private money to pay for upgrades of campus facilities. They are doing this because it is clear our state and taxpayers won’t come up with the money to do the same.
So, now that we’ve found a way to update and upgrade our campus facilities using private money, these five legislators have come up with a plan that makes our heads hurt and will derail private money as an option. In essence they’re saying while your original investment is nice, we want more? Who’s going to be willing to open up their wallets when confronted with arrogance like that?
The full House needs to kill this amendment. We all ought to recognize a $5 million gift to help build government-owned facilities on our state’s campuses as a good thing, a precious thing, one which ought not to be messed around with, which is what HB 1026, as amended, does.