011410 Full Time Employee Reductions
By Jenifer Jones
State democrat leaders are looking at ways to manage the state budget. Over the next four years they want to reduce state funded full time employee positions, or FTEs, to the level they were at when the Rounds administration began seven years ago.
Senate minority leader Scott Heidepriem says there are many FTE positions that haven't been filled for a number of years. He says this unused FTE money is sometimes used for things other than salaries.
"If it's just an unfunded position that is representing a budgetary cushion within a bureau or agency that should be eliminated," Heidepriem says. "If you need a new computer, you should make the case to the appropriations committee you need a new computer."
Governor Mike Rounds says 71 percent of the FTE increases are paid for with federal dollars or other funds. He says cutting these won't help the state budget.
"It will significantly reduce the number of teachers in universities, the number of firefighters in the Black Hills, and so forth," Rounds says.
Both Democrats and Republicans agree that budget concerns are a main focus of this legislative session.
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