S.D. state government expects another big bucket of COVID-19 aid from Congress

Capitol News Bureau

PIERRE, S.D. (KELO) — The governor’s budget office released a summary Monday showing state government expects to get nearly $1.8 billion, while Sioux Falls, Rapid City and the 66 counties would see $211 million directly from the U.S. treasury, under the latest round of federal coronavirus aid from Congress.

South Dakota’s three Republicans in Congress, U.S. Senators John Thune and Mike Rounds and U.S. Representative Dusty Johnson, voted against the Democrats’ $1.9 trillion national package that President Joe Biden signed into law March 11. About $350 billion is specifically for coronavirus state and local recovery funds.

The state Bureau of Finance and Management estimated $978 million will distributed to South Dakota from the new act’s state fiscal recovery fund. The first half of the funding would be sent in early May and the second half within the following year.

The federal government will directly pay county governments $172 million directly while Sioux Falls and Rapid City will share $39 million. State government gets $62 million to redistribute to local governments.

State government will also have $116 million available for coronavirus-related capital projects but the Biden administration hasn’t issued guidance yet for those uses.

South Dakota K-12 school districts also would have $382 million available from the third round of funding and would need to submit reimbursement requests to the state Department of Education. “The priority of all those funds is to address COVID in one way or another,” Tiffany Sanderson told legislators Monday morning. She is state secretary of education.

State government’s budget could be adjusted in a special legislative session or in the 2022 regular session, according to Sanderson. She said applications must be distributed to school districts in the next 60 days. The state department received 2/3 of the money last week and awaits federal guidance.

“It’s going to throw our system for a couple years, or a few years,” House Appropriations co-chair Chris Karr said. Sanderson said it’s for one-time uses related to COVID and there needs to be “a good on-ramp” back to South Dakota’s traditional operations. Representative Steven Haugaard said the committee needs to see a report on how school districts spent the aid.

State government has distributed nearly all of the$1.25 billion in 2020 federal COVID-19 aid.

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