Flip the Couch: Legislature Finds $58.3M in FY2017 Budget Cushions

Next year’s funding for teacher pay, state employee raises, and other items remains in limbo on the last regular day of the Legislative Session (while legislators have spent how much time grandstanding about guns and bragging up their xenophobia?). But Appropriators have found the cash to balance out the revenue shortfall in this year’s budget.

Senate Bill 32 is the annual vehicle for revising the current state budget. The Joint Committee on Appropriations yesterday dug through the couch cushions and found $58.3 million of spare change. SB 32 cuts $53.6 million from the budget, raids $4.7 million from existing funds, and adds $16.0 million to a variety of line items, yielding a net cut in FY2017 spending of $37.6 million. SB 32 also cuts 51 full-time equivalents (22 from the closed STAR Academy, 17 from Department of Social Services) and adds 14 (12 at Northern State!) for a net FTE cut of 37.

Here are some of the major budget changes department by department. Remember, these are figures just for the remaining four months of this fiscal year:

  1. Department of Executive Management loses $482,000.
  2. Department of Tourism gets $229,000 more for tourism and $58,000 more for arts (evidently bracing for the hundreds of thousands of federal dollars the Emperor will cut from funding the arts in South Dakota to pay for his weekly vacations).
  3. Department of Social Services loses $16.1 million. Let’s hope that’s because the economy is looking up and fewer South Dakotans are applying for assistance.
  4. Department of Health gets $140,000 for family health and $1.76 million more for health care in our prisons.
  5. Department of Transportation loses $103,000 (it’s not snowing that much, anyway).
  6. Department of Education sees $20.6 million less for K-12 general funding and $747,000 less for the vo-techs, but they get to spend $80,000 on technology in schools.
  7. Highway Patrol gets $953,000 more in federal funds.
  8. The Board of Regents campuses lose $3.70 million. The Board of Regents central office gets $2.47 million. (What was that you were saying last fall about administration, Dr. Schaff?)
  9. The National Guard loses $112,000, mostly in federal funds.
  10. The state veterans home loses $886,000 in state funds but gets $990,000 more in federal funds.
  11. Department of Corrections loses $1.17 million.
  12. Department of Human Services loses $1.92 million, about half of that federal.
  13. Unified Judicial System gets $1.17 million.
  14. Attorney General gets $158,000, plus another $181,000 shifted from the court automation fund.
  15. School and Public Lands loses $16,000.
  16. Secretary of State gets $150,000.

SB 32 tops off the general fund by raiding the following accounts:

  1. Veterans home operating fund: $1,500,000.
  2. Private activities bond fund: $911,625.
  3. Telecommunications fund for the deaf: $800,000.
  4. Court automation fund: $500,000.
  5. Video lottery operating fund: $500,000.
  6. General militia fund: $180,000. (Incredibly, in the midst of foreign invasion, Senator Neal Tapio actually voted for this cut in our vital military reserves!)
  7. South Dakota Certified Beef fund: $104,000 (leaving $670.17?).

$58.3 million in budget wiggle room. Dare I compare that budget cushion to the $67 million the House wants to take away from the half-penny sales tax dedicated to teacher pay?

4 Responses to Flip the Couch: Legislature Finds $58.3M in FY2017 Budget Cushions

  1. No comment. Yes, that’s my comment.

  2. And then – BAM – we found the money!

    It’s really kind of simple. If you need the money, then you can find it. If you want the money, then there just isn’t enough.

    It’s a funny how we don’t embrace The Blues like the rest of The South.

  3. Was there any info on the tax generated by Amazon sales. Have heard nothing about that.

  4. And we won’t, Gracie. The state won’t release any specific info about sales tax remitted by a specific business. The money is in the estimates; they just won’t tell us.