Gov. Noem highlights key issues and spending plan in budget address

PIERRE, S.D. — Pay raises for state workers, educators and health care providers, a couple hundred million for workforce housing and a work center in Rapid City for women inmates are some of the highlights of Gov. Kristi Noem’s $5.7 billion spending plan addressed on Tuesday.

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As a state that continues to see growth, South Dakota has its unique issues with many of them addressed in Noem’s latest budget address.

Gov. Noem laid out her recommendations for investments Tuesday to South Dakota lawmakers. The allocations focused on needs in the state ranging from infrastructure to saving for the state’s future.

“Today with inflation rising to unimaginable levels, our nation’s future is even more uncertain,” said Gov. Noem “That’s why today, I’m proposing we save more than 14% and put it into our budget reserve fund.”

Noem’s proposals allocate for more than $200 million to address the state’s housing shortage which is an issue legislators share concern over.

“Probably my top three priorities this session are housing, housing and housing,” said State Rep. Mike Derby.

Another recommendation is to use $600 million in American Rescue Plan Act dollars with matching capabilities from cities and counties for new water and sewer projects.

The ask gives West River legislators hope as they lobby for a new pipeline to help a growing area.

“If we want to expand, keep our ag businesses fruitful, building new facilities, the base is expanding and we rely on new housing,” said State Rep. Becky Drury. “People are moving to South Dakota, you have to have water to do that.”

Legislators are also pleased with more of the governors recommendations for a 6% bump for teachers, the allocation of $10 million for building some 137 new campsites in Custer State Park and funds for South Dakota’s tourism industry.

“The levels that we’ve seen the last two years have been unprecedented and more people have come to our parks than ever before and especially to Custer State Park” said Gov. Noem. “So doing this project now makes sense because we have the revenue to do it.”

After speaking with many legislators who were elated with most of the governor’s recommendations, they’re also aware of what lies ahead in the next legislative session that will be held in a month.

Categories: Politics & Elections, South Dakota News