Gov. Daugaard pitches final budget recommendation, unveils portrait

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Dennis Daugaard delivered his final budget address at the Capitol on Tuesday.

He talked about new revenue from online sales tax, balancing the budget, and the fiscal legacy he leaves behind. In the speech, Daugaard outlined his priorities in his proposed $4.8 billion budget.

He said he’s worked across the aisle to end the year in the black. And as this is his final spending plan, he also said goodbye to his colleagues and the state as a whole.

Daugaard was optimistic when he stepped up to the podium in front of a standing-room-only crowd in the House Chamber.

“Overall the general economic and revenue outlook is generally positive,” he said as he began his speech.

He outlined his proposed budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1. The governor says sales tax collections are on the rise, following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling requiring out-of state retailers to charge sales tax.

But that extra cash isn’t in the budget. Daugaard says it’s too early to see how much the state had brought in.

“Prudent course is to wait until we have the facts,” he said. “And for now, I’m recommending we don’t budget for any sales tax revenue.”

Daugaard also recommends three increases, all 2.3 percent. They’re for reimbursements to medical providers, for state employee wages, and for funding for K-12 schools along with technical schools.

Some lawmakers, like State House Rep. Tim Goodwin, liked what they heard.

“I was really happy with it,” Goodwin said. “I think it looked good. I can’t see any concerns or any runaway spending.”

Daugaard also pitched a one-time payment to Medicaid of $6.2 million and an additional $7.3 million to the South Dakota National Guard Readiness Facility at Rapid City Regional Airport.

Many legislators said Daugaard has left a legacy of fiscal responsibility within the minds of South Dakotans. Governor-elect Kristi Noem succeeds Daugaard next month and wants to continue that work.

“The number one priority in my budget in the coming week is making sure the budget is balanced and making sure we do it without raising taxes,” Noem said.

She had a seat at the table in drafting the budget, adding she’ll use it as a springboard into her own budget in the upcoming session. She also said there were a few items that she and Daugaard compromised on.

“We really appreciate him opening the door and including us and to see how those debates and revenue numbers and where spending was occurring.”

As he wrapped up his final address, Daugaard said the people of South Dakota embrace hard work, determination, and dignity on a day-to-day basis.

“That’s why I love South Dakota,” Daugaard said. “And that’s why it’s been my great honor to be your governor. And that’s why I know our best days are still yet to come.”

After Daugaard presented his address, many gathered downstairs in the East Wing of the State House to unveil his official portrait. It will hang on the walls of the Capitol along with the likes of Mike Rounds, George Mickleson, and Bill Janklow

Artist Susan Brooke Durkee of Connecticut painted the portrait. It was funded entirely by donations from cabinet members and staff.

Daugaard’s final goodbye to the public will be at the State of the State Address next month. While holding back tears addressing his constituents, friends, and family, he said he looks forward to being a full-time dad.

Categories: National News, North Dakota News, Politics & Elections, South Dakota News