S.D. legislators’ salary raise strains budget

Capitol News Bureau
KELO Pierre Capitol building legislature

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — South Dakota legislators will get $958.41 more for serving next year. The raise to $12,850.80 means the Legislature’s budget will be short $61,114 unless lawmakers supplement it.

Tamara Darnall, chief fiscal and program analyst for the Legislative Research Council, explained the details Monday to the Legislature’s Executive Board. She said the 2021 amount was based on a state law that says a lawmaker’s salary shall be one-fifth of the South Dakota median household income reported by the United States Census Current Population Survey.

The daily reimbursement for expenses during session remains unchanged at $151.

Senator Jim Bolin, a Canton Republican, referred to how much the salary went up: “I’m quite surprised by that.” Darnall replied, “That’s how much it increased by.”

Representative Spencer Gosch, a Glenham Republican, said other states and the federal government should take a similar approach.

Senator Jim Stalzer, a Sioux Falls Republican, cautioned that the 2018 law works both ways. “We probably need to be ready for a decrease next year because of COVID,” he said.

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