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Next SD State Budget Looking Better

November 11, 2011, 9:39 PM by Ben Dunsmoor

Next SD State Budget Looking Better
SIOUX FALLS, SD - Some state agencies may see small increases in the next South Dakota state budget.

That's a contrast to the deep ten percent cuts that most departments had to deal with last year.

Officials in South Dakota's Capitol are busy putting together the next state budget ahead of the governor’s December 6 address. They say the work done by the legislature last year to cut spending laid a better groundwork for this budget.

"The actions that the governor and the legislature undertook last year in regards to the '12 budget really helped us reset the equation of revenues and expenses," Jason Dilges the Commissioner of South Dakota's Bureau of Finance and Management said.

The state no longer faces a deficit because of the 10 percent cuts made in most areas of the budget, which means this year's budget looks more promising

"At this point in time I don't envision the drastic cuts that we saw last year in the budget process. I would envision we will have a little bit of money to spend, which again is pretty unusual compared to what we've seen over the last two or three years," Dilges said.

However, Democrats say last year's cuts to schools, nursing homes, and state agencies set back those budgets several years and even small increases this year won't do much to help those groups to rebound.

"We're still digging out of the bottom of the pit and so we're still going to be in the pit. We're still going to be in the hole," Democratic Representative Marc Feinstein of Sioux Falls said.

Feinstein says he'll push to give more money to schools, health care providers and state employees because small increases won't do much to restore all the money they lost last year.

"Those that took the hit they are still not going to be back to where they were, and that's discouraging. We don't want our teachers, the best and brightest here, to leave South Dakota. State workers, Medicaid providers, they work hard and they deserve fair pay for the work they are doing," Feinstein said.

And the legislature will have to work to balance out those budget concerns starting in a few weeks when the governor unveils what will likely be a less painful spending plan.

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