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State Lawmakers Eye Record Amount Of One-Time Money
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State Capitol
SDPB

As state lawmakers prepare for the upcoming session, they’ll handle a record amount of one-time money.

Governor Kristi Noem outlined her vision for spending those dollars during the annual budget address. Most state lawmakers like her proposal.

That record amount of one-time money hovers in at around $224 million. Typically, the legislature has anywhere from $5-$15 million in one-time money to spend.

Lawmakers are committed to not using one-time revenues to create ongoing expenses, a relic from the Daugaard years that have carried into the Noem administration era.

Kent Peterson is a Republican representative from Salem. The incoming Majority Leader says the biggest issues in Pierre tend to revolve around money and balancing the state’s budget.

“We’ll be balancing our budget for the 132nd year in a row,” Peterson says. “We’ve never dealt with this type of one-time money. There is some tremendous opportunities in front of us and it’s my goal that we can help leverage those into things that can not only benefit our state today, but for many years and generations to come.”

Most of the one-time dollars come from a bump up in sales tax collections from large wind-farm investments federal coronavirus stimulus dollars.

The biggest project Governor Noem proposed for the money is a $100 million dollar investment in broadband internet across the state.

She also wants to tuck $50 million dollars away into a rainy day trust fund, in the case of any upcoming economic uncertainty.

Sioux Falls Democrat, and Minority Leader, Jaime Smith says putting $50 million dollars into a trust fund makes him uneasy.

“That $50 million came from savings from coronavirus money that we offset costs with. I think there are things that we can do to our infrastructure, to our state, to our programs, perhaps, with that $50 million, besides sticking it away in a trust fund.”

Smith says Democrats, which are in a super minority in both chambers, will continue to focus on early childhood learning, healthcare, and housing.