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Governor's Column: Living Within Our Means





Living Within Our Means

By Governor Kristi Noem

July 19, 2019

 

South Dakotans value the dollar. We don’t spend money we don’t have. We live within our means. We understand the importance of the bottom line.

 

Whether it’s a family-run tourist attraction in the Black Hills or a farm in the James River Valley, small businesses and families don’t get to spend money they don’t have, and the government shouldn’t either. In my first address to the legislature as governor, I promised that fiscal discipline would be the foundation of my governorship. Because fiscal discipline creates stability in the state. Fiscal stewardship sets us up for success.

 

On June 30, we finished the fiscal year with a $19.4 million surplus. This is good news. We were able to tuck that money into our state reserves, further securing our investment into the future.

 

If you look at our financial report, you’ll see that ongoing revenues finished lower than we projected. This is partially due to the tough ag economy and the extreme weather we experienced earlier this year. Folks just weren’t out spending as much. Thankfully, we made some decisions in advance that reduced our spending, and even with the smaller revenue stream, we were able to stay in the black and boost our state reserves.

 

It’s also important to note the conversation surrounding online sales tax that we’ve been having for about a year now. It’s still early, but it is good we didn’t budget for any additional sales and use tax from online and remote sellers as this year’s overall sales tax numbers didn’t hit the projections. We’ll continue monitoring the data coming to see how the Wayfair decision and the tax changes impact our state’s bottom line.

 

And we will continue living within our means.

 

Earlier this year, I worked with the legislature to develop and enact a balanced budget for fiscal year 2020, which started July 1. In this budget, we provided a 10 percent funding increase for nursing homes providers and set aside $5 million to help us rethink the systems of care for our parents and grandparents. We increased teacher pay by 2.5 percent. We raised support for technical institutes. We invested in Ellsworth, bolstering our national defense. We designated substantial funds to confront our meth epidemic and internet shortage.

 

We’re addressing critical needs, and we’re operating on a balanced budget – without raising taxes. I am committed to maintaining this legacy of fiscal responsibility.

 

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