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South Dakotans Talking

December 12, 2011, 5:57 PM by Peggy Moyer

South Dakotans Talking
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Just about everyone likes to complain about government, but most will admit they don't know much about how it really works.

A group of South Dakotans learned more about topics like Medicaid, education and taxes on Monday.

When it comes to government services, taxes or education, South Dakotans are talking.  More than two dozen people attended a lunch-hour meeting in Sioux Falls for a crash course on how the state budget works and how fiscal policy is set.

"I'll be honest again. I had no idea. I just kind of figured they took a couple numbers out of the air and put it together and hoped nobody complained. I'm exaggerating of course, but now seeing the process, they drew it out and explained it. It's a tremendous job that they have to do to put this together," Sioux Falls resident Rex Livermore said.

Livermore also was a part of the discussion group addressing state revenue and says taxes were the big topic.

"Obviously taxes. But it’s interesting. The discussion on taxes was not so much the fact that our taxes are too high, but maybe there needs to be a little more equality in some of the taxation," Livermore said.

Taxes, funding for education and Medicaid are just a few of the topics bringing members of the public and their lawmakers together.

Susy Blake represents district 13 in Sioux Falls. State lawmakers from the area were invited to listen to the non-partisan discussions and learn what's important to the people.

"The more you know about something, the more interested you are in becoming involved in it and helping shape it. I think we sit on a great potential in our state. And I want to see us keep moving forward and to do that, people need to be involved and they have to know and understand what we are doing," Blake said.

Blake wants residents to share values and priorities with their lawmakers so that state policy can reflect the things that are important to the people.

The meetings have been called South Dakotans Talking and Monday's meeting was the 15th session held around the state.  The next meeting is in Brookings on Tuesday, December 13.

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