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     Prognosticate: To forecast or predict from present indications or signs; prophesy. –


With the New Year just beginning, it’s time to see how your fearless forecaster performed last year.

Back on Dec. 30, 2015, I brazenly predicted the following:

Gov. Daugaard will work hard to find new money for teachers, but in the end, it won’t be enough and a tax increase will be implemented.  And that’s what happened. The Legislature passed and the governor signed a measure raising the state sales tax from 4 to 4.5 percent, with most of the proceeds from the increase going to boost teacher pay.

Legalizing medical marijuana was given little chance by your forecaster, but in the end, voters didn’t get to determine the outcome because the initiative did not make it onto the ballot. The Secretary of State’s office ruled that half of the petition signatures were invalid. Supporters sued, but the case was thrown out.

Another ballot issue set an annual limit of 18 percent on loans, and I figured voters would approve some sort of ceiling even though the idea of letting the market work and establish its own level is deeply ingrained. Voters did set a limit, but not by passing Constitutional Amendment U. Instead, they voted for Initiated Measure 21, which set a maximum finance charge of 36 percent for certain licensed money lenders.

Eliminating political party labels for state, federal and county elections made no sense to me because it meant less, not more, information about candidates. Voters agreed, and overwhelmingly defeated the measure, 55 percent to 44 percent.

I was feeling pretty good about my crystal ball until I got to the penultimate prediction, which was Ballot Measure 22. That measure made changes in campaign financing, some of which made sense. But I predicted it would fail because it included a public financing component. Never did I imagine South Dakota voters would approve taxpayer money for those seeking elective office.  Even though the vote was fairly close, 51.6-48.3 percent, it was a major misread by your forecaster, and I continue to be in stunned disbelief. Now I know how Trump opponents feel.

The last prediction – that the Vikings would not win the Super Bowl – was an easy one and it appears that it will be proven correct, though I admit to being surprised early in the season when they were 5-0. I would happily give up a correct prediction if the Purple Gang somehow, some way, some year, could make it to the big show and win it all.

Jan. 4, 2017