South Dakotans years from now will look back on the 2022 Legislative Session as a time when significant investments were made to benefit our entire state. More than a billion dollars’ worth of one-time investments were approved by legislators, including $600 million for water infrastructure, $200 million to develop housing infrastructure, and $20 million for broadband expansion.
Investments in higher education included expanding cyber-security programs, enhancing research capabilities, and improving technical education facilities. We are enlarging the State Health Lab to meet public health needs, improving the Cultural Heritage Center, and addressing concerns with the existing well at Capitol Lake and developing a master plan for the veterans’ memorials near the lake.
Ongoing increases include a six percent raise for state employees, education, and health care providers. We added more than eleven million dollars for the Board of Regents and Board of Technical Education to provide a tuition freeze for postsecondary students.
The state’s total General Appropriations budget is contained in HB 1340, and was the last bill adopted at the end of the Main Run. This is the annual bill to appropriate money from the state treasury for “the ordinary expenses of the legislative, judicial, and executive departments of the state, certain officers, boards, and commissions, and support and maintenance of the educational, charitable, and penal institutions of the state for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022.” According to the chair of the Senate Appropriations committee, this is a structurally balanced budget rooted in discipline. One-time dollars are for one-time expenses and not ongoing programs. The total state budget in HB 1340 is just under $5.8 billion. It has 43 fewer FTEs than last year’s budget.
As legislators made adjustments to the budget adopted a year ago and worked to craft next year’s budget, we were concerned about the impacts of current inflation. Additional funds were added to our state budget reserve to help deal with future economic uncertainty, which I believe is a prudent fiscal approach.
I am thankful for the diligence and the extra time that members of the Appropriations Committee took in making sure that we have a fiscally conservative budget for our state. Complete budget details are available on the Legislative Research Council website at sdlegislature.gov.