A week after announcing emergency pay raises to prevent the staffing shortage in our state prisons from getting even worse, Governor Kristi Noem announced pay raises for the South Dakota Highway Patrol.
The Bureau of Finance and Management says Noem is moving $513K in the budget to gives troopers and specialists an extra $1.50 an hour. This budget move comes as a surprise to the legislators who write the budget:
Members of the Appropriations committee, like House Chair Chris Karr (R-Sioux Falls), say much remains unknown about where the money came from.
“The Appropriations committee met the same day (August 24th) that these were announced,” Karr said. “We had BFM in front of us, and this was not mentioned.”
Rep. Linda Duba (D-Sioux Falls), also a member of the Appropriations committee, says she still has questions about the funds as well that have not been answered. Including how they were paid for, what is the long term commitment for the budget to them, and why the changes weren’t reported beforehand to the committee.
…“I’d say you’d have to ask the Governor why she doesn’t want to communicate with the legislature and the appropriations committee, and have discussions about spending dollars in the interim to determine how much of an emergency this is,” Karr said. “And also, why we didn’t have an opportunity to discuss what the commitment is that she is making for future budgets.”
Both Karr and Duba say they intend to ask BFM and DPS specific questions about the raises during their next Appropriations meeting on September 15th [Austin Goss, “DPS Pay Raise Announcement Lacking Details, Lawmakers Say,” KSFY, 2022.09.01].
When Sioux Falls mayor Paul TenHaken wanted to give cops and other city workers a raise a couple months before his election, he still had to get approval from the city council. You’d think that when the Governor wants to hand out more cash to her personal bodyguards and other state police, she’d at least have to check in with the Legislature that worked so hard to craft the budget and explain how she’s balancing the books.