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Monday, June 18, 2007

In South Dakota, The Payroll is....Secret?

The Argus Leader has a great crusade underway here...

Ever wonder how much money a state trooper makes?

How about snowplow drivers, state park managers or highway workers?

If you lived in many states, the answers would be as close as your computer or the local library.

In South Dakota, you can't find out.

The Argus Leader has made repeated requests over the past four months for a list of state employees and their salaries. State officials have refused to reveal the salaries for the vast majority of South Dakota's roughly 14,000 employees, their positions or even the department in which they work.

Making the employee list public would be against the law, according to a lawyer who represents the state.

That prevents South Dakotans from knowing whether their tax dollars are spent wisely.

It also keeps residents and employees in the dark about whether they are overpaid or underpaid, whether state workers with political or family connections get paid more, and a host of other questions.

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