The 93rd Legislature Approves Budget And Adjourns

Mar 9, 2018

Credit Melissa Hamersma Sievers / SDPB

  

The state legislature is adjusting the current fiscal year and setting next year’s budget.

It’s the final bill lawmakers pass before adjourning for the year.

Lawmakers are giving increases to education, state employees and community providers.

Lawmakers say extra money in consumer pockets because of recent federal tax cuts is what’s behind optimistic budget revisions for the rest of fiscal year 2018 and increases the following year.

During his annual budget address, Governor Dennis Daugaard proposed a flat budget. That budget called for little increases for education and community based providers, and no state-worker pay increase.

However, lawmakers see positive revenue numbers going forward and are proposing increases to each of those groups.

State workers will receive a 1.2 percent increase in pay. Education is receiving $25 million to meet the 1.7 percent increase required by state law. Community care providers receive an additional 2 percent increase in funding.

State Senator Deb Peters serves on the appropriations committee. She says the legislature chose funding community based providers as a top priority.

“We have an obligation to take care of people who can’t take care of themselves. That’s really where a bigger chunk of the provider money went this time. All providers did see an increase, but it wasn’t to the level of the community based providers," Peters says.

The fiscal year 2019 budget is set at $4,687,979,895.

Over on the House side, State Representative Jean Hunhoff says they approached the budget with guarded optimism. She says strong revenue collections in recent months are a good sign.

“If things go as they do, and we see that upward tick,” Hunhoff says. “We’re going to finish out fiscal year 18 as to what we’ve projected that should be. In that sense it’s positive. It’s not overwhelming in that we should just go out there—we’ve always been very judicious and appropriate in our resources.”

Officials with the governor’s office say he’s pleased with the budget bills. They say the governor reviews every bill carefully before signing, but at this point there is nothing he would intend to strike.