(SD)-Daugaard Proposes Cuts, Freezes, And Reserves To Meet Shortfall
PIERRE, S.D. (SD)- South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard gave his annual budget address to the Legislature yesterday, outlining spending priorities that are limited for a second year by disappointing tax collections.
Daugaard, a Republican who is term-limited next year, said state forecasts are projecting a shortfall for the current budget year of nearly $34 million that he proposes to address through a near split of reduced spending and cash sources such as budget reserves.
The governor's budget has no money for pay raises for most state workers but does have $632,000 to address low pay for some positions, and while it makes no adjustmen inflation in K-12 per-student aid, it does propose boosting K-12 aid by over $20-million dollars because of enrollment growth.
The governor's spending plan is a starting point for the Legislature to use in reshaping the current budget and approving the next budger during the legislative session that begins in January and runs into March.
House Majority Leader Lee Qualm praised Daugaard's plan to resolve the shortfall, calling it a "fiscally responsible" approach, but House Minority Leader Spencer Hawley is unhappy and frustrated over the worker pay and K-12 aid issues
Eric Ollila, head of the largest state's employees union, says he's "very disappointed" with the pay freeze for most state workers. The executive director of the South Dakota State Employees Organization calls the lack of raises and rising health insurance costs an "affront" to hard-working state employees who must do more and more.
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