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Governor Noem delivers budget address

PIERRE, S.D. — South Dakota Governor Kristi Noem gave her budget address to state lawmakers on Tuesday.

Noem has proposed increasing the budget reserves to 14% of the general fund. It currently is 12%.

Noem said general fund revenues grew 15.7% in fiscal 2021 that ended June 30, three times the normal rate for South Dakota. However, Noem reminded legislators that stronger revenues result because people and businesses are spending more.

She said South Dakota also received “a giant handout” from Washington, D.C. She said it should be spent in South Dakota because it would otherwise go to other states.

Noem said she wants to prioritize improvements to infrastructure, the workforce and public safety.

She proposed $660 million on water and sewer projects. With local and federal dollars, there could be about $1.5 billion in investments.

“With these efforts, we will be able to provide clean water for our communities for years to come, even as they grow and expand. And we will be able to ensure the continued success of our agriculture industry and new industries as they move into our state,” Noem said.

The governor also wants to spend $200 million on workforce housing. Local governments and developers will pitch in for a total investment of $600 million.

She also recommends a 6% pay increase for state workers, a 6% increase for our health care providers and a 6% increase in education funding – funding that Noem says should go to educator salaries.

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