More reactions on the 2021 budget surplus

PIERRE, S.D.(WNAX & DRGNews)-  South Dakota wrapped up the fiscal year with a surplus of almost eighty-six million dollars. State revenues were up sixty-two million dollars, and about twenty-four million dollars that was budgeted was not spent.

Senator Jean Hunhoff of Yankton, Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Appropriations, says the results reflects the past year.

Hunhoff says taxable sales were much better than expected.

Hunhoff says legislators are setting budget estimates with the best information they have at the time.

The eighty-six million dollars has been rolled into a special reserve fund as the overall general budget reserve is at its legal maximum.

South Dakota State Employees Organization executive director Eric Olilla says the increase in reserves comes as state employees are having to pay more for their health insurance.

Olilla says appropriators knew they were “low balling” state employees when they were working out the budget back in March.

While the state having a large “rainy day fund” may seem like a good idea to many, Olilla says the nearly 86-million surplus dollars could have been much better spent.

South Dakota’s year over year growth in fiscal year 2021 was $274.2 million or 15.7%, compared to a ten year average of 4.6%. Sales and use tax, which is the state’s largest revenue source, finished $26.6 million above estimates and grew 14% over the prior fiscal year, compared to a ten year average of 5%.

The nearly $302 million ($301.8 million) in the State’s budget reserve is an increase of over $100 million from the previous fiscal year.