South Dakota lawmakers approve COVID-19 spending
PIERRE, S.D. — Special session day at the South Dakota capitol, tying up loose ends left by federal coronavirus relief spending.
With $1.25 billion available, lawmakers are left to approve funds that weren’t already defined by the CARES Act. Over $467 million has already been obligated to go to local governments, schools, state programs, and tourism. That left $598 million unassigned.
After a series of public hearings in September, the interim joint committee on appropriations outlined the remainder:
- $400 million for small business
- $40 million for small nonprofits
- $10 million for small business start-ups
- $115 million for community-based health care providers
- $15 million for acute care in hospitals
- $2 million for adult education and private non-accredited education
- $10 million for housing assistance like rent, mortgage, or utilities
- $5 million for destination marketing organizations advertising
For businesses or organizations looking to apply for funding, they must meet a number of stipulations laid out in the resolution. The application process opens on October 12 and closes October 23.
Governor Kristi Noem opened the session Monday morning, touting the state’s handling of the pandemic.
“In South Dakota, we didn’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. And the results have been incredible,” said Noem. “We had the fewest low-income job losses of any state in the region, and we’ve already recovered those losses. Our unemployment rate is the 4th lowest in America, already back down to 4.8%. When the virus first hit, every state’s economy shrunk. But our state had the 2nd smallest losses. We closed the 2020 budget year with a $19-million-dollar surplus. And our general fund revenues are up 8.7% so far this fiscal year.”
Both the Senate and the House passed the resolution. The resolution leaves the door open for the governor to adjust the amount of funding administered. She must report back to a special committee by the 10th of every month.