Lawmakers Start Crafting Budget

Feb 20, 2017

Lawmakers will start crafting the state budget this week.
Due to a lagging farm economy and a decrease in projected sales tax revenue, lawmakers have about $25 million dollars less to work with.
Last week lawmakers adopted February revenue projections, which put the budget at lower than projected.
Governor Dennis Daugaard says budget increases for state agencies are unlikely at this point. However, he says the state won’t have to make cuts like it did when he first took office…
“But does that mean people are going to have to cut like they did during the 2011 session? I don’t think so.”
Republican leadership is declining to call the reduction in the governor’s proposed spending plan cuts. They say some of the governor’s one time spending appropriates likely won’t happen, like money needed for the Spearfish Canyon land transfer.
House Majority Leader Lee Qualm says the state isn’t losing money, but revenues are down because of the ag economy.
“We’re just taking a very conservative approach as to where we want to go. We don’t want to get into a bind where all the sudden we might have to cut something instead of limiting the amount of gain, so to speak, that they would receive.”
Democrats say they’ll fight to keep education funding where it’s at, if cuts are proposed. House Minority leader Spencer Hawley says money from the reserve fund needs keep education funding levels where they’re at.
“And if we get to the point where we’re actually going to be cutting education or we need to cut some of the priority needs in South Dakota, we need to look at that.”
The appropriations committee adopted at budget projection for next year that’s $28 million lower. Some lawmakers say they expect sales tax revenue to increase in the coming months.