SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – This upcoming week includes four of the final five scheduled legislative days of the 2021 South Dakota legislative session.
For lawmakers in the Appropriations Committee, the challenge is dollars are here now, but they won’t be next year.
“So we’re taking that one-time money, somewhere around 95 million dollars, and determining the best use of that,” Rep. Linda Duba (D) Sioux Falls said.
“Everything here is just for a project or one time, and so, as we go on the road in fiscal year ’22, there aren’t dollars to support those projects any longer,” Sen. Jean Hunhoff (R) Yankton said.
The Appropriations Committee has to go through all of the requests for funding they’ve received and decide what portion of the state’s money goes where.
“You’d like to be able to fund everything, but that’s not the right thing to do. We always have to keep in mind, it’s tax payer’s dollars,” Hunhoff said.
Both Senator Hunhoff and Representative Duba say the decisions of the committee will be based on the impact allocations of money could have on certain areas.
“How is this going to impact people’s lives? How is it going to impact the economy and commerce? For example, the fifty million dollars needs-based scholarship grant, otherwise known as the Freedom Scholarship, when you look at that, we’re taking fifty million dollars and pooling that with the 150 million that has been committed to and then that becomes a perpetual endowment and that feeds the need of students who are least able to afford college,” Duba said.
This week brings big decisions for the Appropriations Committee.
“You know, it takes a lot of people and you’ve got, what do we have, 105 different personalities that come to the legislature and at the end of the day, you have to get the majority of them to support,” Hunhoff said.
“We only have a certain pool of finite dollars, we want to make sure that we’re good stewards, we know we have to balance our budget, but we want to make sure that we’re targeting the right groups, the right projects. Things that will bring South Dakota forward,” Duba said.
The Appropriations Committee hopes to have a budget plan ready on Wednesday to take to the House and Senate floors.