On January 24, 2009, in Letters from Val, by Valentine Rausch

Week 2 of the 2009 Session


As week 2 comes to an end I cannot say that it was better than week 1.  On Thursday the Governor gave us the updated budget.  It was very hard to see all of the cuts that are necessary to balance the budget.  The job ahead of us will be very difficult and painful.


With all the cuts proposed and fee increases presented I’m sure the e-mails and phone calls will be overwhelming.  We will continue to look everywhere we can to find new revenue or other areas to cut.  The Governor has presented a balanced budget so if we do not agree with a cut we must find a different cut or a new source of money to keep the budget in balance.  The same is true with the fee increases.  If we do not agree with a proposed increase we will then need to find another cut to keep the budget in balance.  As every area is affected every person will have a good but different reason why their portion of the budget should not be cut.  With the amount of cuts needed to balance the budget, $130 Million in total, I think everyone will feel the pain.  A new tax will be the last thing I look at to balance the budget.  The tax that we have available is a sales tax and that will hurt the low income the most, I’m not ready to do that.


The committee work this week was fairly slow, with only a few bills to be heard in most committees.  My 2 committees, State Affairs and Local Government, each had a day off this week because the bills are just not turned in yet.  I think most people were waiting to see what the new budget would bring before they commit to proposing new laws.  I have heard that over 500 drafts were being done, so we could end up with a very busy remainder of the session.


My Speaker Pro Tempore duties have been filling the slow time.  I find myself with meetings daily with leadership of both the House and Senate Majorities and also with the Governor and his staff.  My office has also had many Legislators and Lobbyists stopping by to ask questions or trying to find support on different legislation that is being considered.  The Speaker and I meet often during the day and at times I feel like his shadow as he has me follow and learn the job, it will be a great experience and an awesome responsibility.  On Wednesday the Speaker actually gave the gavel to me to run the house for 4 bills.  I was surprised at how nervous I was.  For my first time it didn’t go too bad but I’m sure practice will make better.  The Speakers platform is by far the best view in the House.


Please send me your concerns about the budget and individual legislation that you are following and thank you to all the visitors who have been to Pierre, always great to see faces from home.


God Bless,  Val Rausch


1 Response » to “”

  1. Miles Rausch says:

    I smell a reality TV show in the making!

Leave a Reply