PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota lawmakers put their stamp of final approval Thursday evening on a budget for state government totaling nearly $7.4 billion for the new fiscal year that starts July 1.
SB210 goes beyond what even Governor Kristi Noem had recommended to the Legislature back in December for some areas. Among the highlights:
7% increases for K-12 education and technical colleges.
A tuition freeze for students at the state’s public universities.
5% increases for health care providers.
7% pay increases for state government employees, with targeted increases to get some positions closer to market value.
The Senate passed it 29-3. The House followed 66-3.
Overall, the plan calls for $2,274,470,981 of general funds; $3,469,845,765 of federal funds; and $1,630,584,143 of other funds.
The Legislature has also passed dozens of bills that appropriate hundreds of millions of dollars in one-time or ongoing funding for specific projects.
The mood Thursday was clearly upbeat and genuinely unified as the budget bill was considered, with the atmosphere much different from some recent years. Republican Rep. Mike Derby, the House Appropriations chair, began his remarks by praising the governor for what she had proposed three months ago.
He spoke about a text he received this afternoon praising what the House and Senate appropriators had put together. “Great work,” the message concluded.
“That about sums it up,” Derby said.
The House committee’s vice chair, Republican Rep. Tony Venhuizen, likewise recognized Noem for providing a starting point and thanked the joint committee’s other 17 members. “It’s been a great year in appropriations,” he said.
Democrat Rep. Linda Duba said she was proud of what they had done and praised all of the legislators for coming to the Capitol every day since the 2023 session officially began the second Tuesday in January. She said together they produced “the most phenomenal budget” in her five years.
House Democrat leader Oren Lesmeister and Republican Rep. Chris Karr — the House committee’s past chairman — also spoke. House Speaker Hugh Bartels was recognized several times for his contributions. House Republican leader Will Mortenson delivered the final speech.
“We had a great year,” Mortenson said. “The best is yet to come. Let’s go get ’em.”