Governor Kristi Noem says the state could have $125 million dollars in extra one-time money.
That’s on top of nearly $225 million dollars of additional revenue the governor has already projected.
Democrats say that’s partly because the state didn’t spend all of its federal stimulus money to fully respond to the coronavirus pandemic.
Governor Noem says the state is in a historic position.
That’s because of what she calls a ‘principled approach’ over the last year. It’s a reference to Noem’s decision to keep the state open, while others ‘were shutting down.’
“I believe it was our commitment to conservative principles that put us in the position that we’re in today. It was our respect for the rights of the people. It was our commonsense conservative values and the principles we hold dear in America. In short, it was our trust and respect for the people who we serve,” Noem says. “Going forward, we should trust this model and continue to stay true to what we believe in.”
Noem never imposed statewide stay-at-home restrictions early in the pandemic. There has not been a statewide requirement to wear a mask. The governor did close schools last spring. And after a COVID outbreak at the Smithfield Foods meatpacking plant, she issued an executive order keeping elderly residents in their homes.
Since then, Noem has resisted calls to respond to the pandemic. More than 1800 South Dakotans have died.
The federal government flooded the state with about $5 billion dollars in stimulus money.
State Senator Reynold Nesiba says the state is doing well because of that money, some of which is still unspent.
“There were farm commodity payments, there were direct payments from the treasury, there was an extra $600 a week for those that were unemployed, there were PPP loans on top of the $1.25 billion in [Coronavirus Relief Funds] dollars,” Nesiba says. “Much of the CRF dollars we’ve been able to re-code as general funds. That’s the main source of that revenue.”
State budget wizards will meet this week to set revenue targets. From there, lawmakers will start to create the state budget.