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Noem Signs Budget That Seemed “Really Irresponsible” Last Week

Three weeks ago, Governor Kristi Noem threatened to veto the budget if legislators did not enact her number one priority of this Legislative Session, repealing South Dakota’s unusual food tax. When legislators ultimately rejected the food-tax repeal and instead approved a reduction of the general sales tax rate from 4.5% to 4.2%, she called legislators liars for calling that tax cut a tax cut and said the approved FY2024 budget, Senate Bill 210, “seems like a really irresponsible budget“.

Yesterday Governor Noem signed SB 210 with this noteworthy reversal of spin:

South Dakota has long been a model of fiscal responsibility. Our taxes are low, we have a AAA credit rating, we balance our budget, and our fiscal reserves are strong. With Senate Bill 210, we continue this responsibility by providing a budget that is balanced and will improve the lives and wellbeing of the people of South Dakota [Gov. Kristi Noem, signing letter for SB 210, 2023.03.20].

The Governor thanks the Legislature for “funding the vast majority of my priorities” but chides the Legislature for certain deviations from her fiscal blueprint:

As is always the case, the legislature can make changes to my budget, as well. This year, the Joint Appropriations Committee estimated that our total revenues for FY2024 will be about $87 million higher than my Bureau of Finance and Management recommended in my budget. The legislature chose to spend this $87 million by increasing provider reimbursement from my recommended 90% to 100%, freezing tuition at South Dakota’s public universities and technical colleges, allocating an additional $11.4 million for future Medicaid expansion costs, and other items. I agree that our economy is strong, and I am responsible for ensuring that additional spending in our state’s budget is sustainable into the future. I’ve put significantly more funding into our reserves in recent years. Only time will tell if it was a wise decision to spend those additional dollars.

The legislature also deviated from a tradition of funding equal inflationary increases for K-12 education, healthcare providers, and state employees. While I understand the motivation behind this change, this sets a bad precedent and risks one or more groups being left behind in future years. I hope that the legislature will return to this longstanding tradition next year [Noem, 2023.03.20].

Noem’s letter does not mention her rejected food-tax repeal or the 0.3-percentage-point reduction of the sales tax. That tax cut, House Bill 1137, remains on the Governor’s desk. Evidently it was easier for her to spin the FY 2024 budget in her favor than it is for her to write up similar revisionism to cast the Legislature’s preferred tax relief as a victory for her administration and her agenda “to maximize freedom and liberty for the people of the state“.


  1. O 2023-03-21 08:01

    During the tradition of equal funding equal increases for K-12 education, healthcare providers, and state employees, which of these groups were not left behind from where they should be funded? I know misery loves company, but that ought not be elevated to a budgeting priority.

  2. grudznick 2023-03-21 12:30

    Everybody, including schools, can forgo one pay check a year. She should have vetoed it. Then given the biggest tax cut in history. Not the puny one that Mr. Karr fellow touted. His is as lame as he is red faced and bloated. She could have made a massive difference by vetoing the budget law bill. Huge opportunity missed here to teach some lessons.

  3. larry kurtz 2023-03-21 12:37

    To little surprise the assisted living, funeral home and florist industries do very well and now that brown workers can take the driver’s license exam in Spanish white people can spend more time snorting and shooting meth.

  4. All Mammal 2023-03-21 12:54

    Only annoyed snickers come out whenever our spend-happy politicians behave like they opened up their own moldy pocketbooks and generously wrote checks for the spending done in SD. They don’t grasp the truth they are doling out loot that sure didn’t come from them, us, or even graciously asking Uncle Joe nicely and saying thank you. They grandly make such a production of spending it, like they’re some charitable fat pockets handing out ponies to the hungry. It is delusional and dumb. No person laces on his or her boots in blue states to take public transportation to schlepp away at the salt mines thinking, “This is for your state savings account and investment portfolio, South Dakota. You are a sterling example of fiscal responsibility and my inspiration.”

  5. O 2023-03-21 16:31

    My Dear grudznick, I have fixed your last line for you how it should read if the Governor had chosen to veto this budget: Huge opportunity missed here to be taught some lessons.

  6. Mark Anderson 2023-03-21 17:17

    Gosh, on Krist’s statue (I would do a great one by the way) it should read “to maximize freedom and liberty for people of the state due to President Biden and blue state money “

  7. Arlo Blundt 2023-03-21 18:56

    Grudznick–take the lead here and forego one breakfast a week. Send the money to a food shelf in your area. Seems you want everyone to sacrifice but Grudznick.

  8. grudznick 2023-03-21 19:38

    That’s a pretty swell idea, Mr. Blundt. In fact, a better idea might be for grudznick to keep eating my breakfast and send some additional money to some of the helpful agencies here in Rapid City. Now I’m not talking the 12-egg-omlette sort of money one might spend at the Hot Cakes Cafe, but still a good Tally’s meat lover sort of bling. Good idea, Mr. Blundt, eat breakfast and share it too.

  9. Arlo Blundt 2023-03-21 22:13

    Grudznick…fine…I won’t have to pull my money out of the stock of GMA..Gravy Manufacturers of America.

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