PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota senators voted 34-0 Thursday for reducing state government’s general-fund spending for the current budget by $167 million and offsetting a lot of it with federal COVID-19 aid.
SB 64 then went to the House as lawmakers wrapped up the main run of the 2021 session. It also earmarks $15 million of new one-time spending for communication upgrades, airport projects, State Fair and court access.
“The majority of those general fund cuts were due to federal dollars,” Chris Karr said. Taffy Howard praised him and the rest of the committee for opening the budget-assembly process. “It was a record year as excess revenue went,” she said. Representatives backed it 58-11.
Legislators also saw an unusually large number of one-time spending requests made through individual pieces of legislation that were triggered by the availability of federal coronavirus aid and passed many of them in recent days.
Bryan Breitling told senators the legislation was “the product of many, many, many hours” of teamwork and cooperation among legislative staff, the governor’s budget office, Senate and House appropriators, Senate and House leadership and Jean Hunhoff. She’s lead co-chair for the Joint Committee on Appropriations.
Breitling highlighted investments in projects such as more access for developmentally disabled, buying new equipment at the technical colleges, upgrading state government’s airplane fleet by trading in two older planes, better coverage through new transmitters for the state-radio system and more disease prevention staff.
He said the shifts from general to federal funding included $81.9 million for public health and public safety employee payroll. Another $94.9 million came through Medicaid savings.