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Politics

Governor’s Office Says Reserves Won't Get Tapped For Budget Shortfall

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Lawmakers have two weeks left to craft a budget. Several of the governor’s one time expenditures are on the chopping block, unless officials can find money elsewhere.

Legislators have to plug up around $54 million dollar in revenue shortfall for the remainder of this and next fiscal year.

Lawmakers are looking for alternative ways to fund the Animals Disease Research and Diagnostics Laboratory and projects like the Spearfish Canyon land transfer will have to wait… at least until sales tax revenues pick up.

Legislators on the appropriations committee have already started budget setting.

Democrat State Senator Billie Sutton sits on the appropriations committee. He says that’s going to consume the next two weeks.

He says democrats will point to money in reserves if cuts are proposed to healthcare and education…

“There’s probably going to be an appetite to probably use some reserve dollars to fill some of these gaps," Sutton says. "I mean, I just looked, we have over, around $150 million in reserves, when you include both reserve funds. That’s a big chunk of money.”

Others say dipping into the reserve fund is unlikely…

Lt. Governor Matt Michels says reserve funds levels help South Dakota keep a triple A credit rating.

“If we’re knocked down from that, then floating bonds, that is issuing debt for the animal lab or for a stadium at one of the universities, regardless of how it’s paid for, that will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars more per year for interest,” Michels says.

Republican leadership says cuts aren’t on the table, but rather just reducing some of the governor’s proposed increase in spending.

Some lawmakers say they expect the farm economy to pick up, boosting sales tax revenues.