Radio Update Report 6:30pm (Audio)
Democrats and Republicans are in agreement that the state needs to continue to provide educational support. For the first time in many years, South Dakota schools are seeing a growing number of student enrollment. The legislature recently killed a bill that would shift four million dollars of K-12 funding onto local property taxpayers. Lawmakers believe the state should take responsibility for educational funding which increases the budget deficit to nearly forty-million dollars. Republican Senator David Knudson says even though the lawmaker's goal is to decrease the budget deficit, education is not the area to decrease funding.
"We are going to spend more money on K-12 education in fiscal year 2011, that's just the dynamics of a growing population of students," Knudson says.
Senator Knudson says it will be a challenge to find places to cut spending and hard decisions will have to be made to decrease the budget deficit.
Governor Mike Rounds says the legislature could have less money to work with than originally planned. Rounds says he expected fiscal year 2010 to be down 3.2 percent from 2009. He says based on Christmas sales, collections are now projected to be down 6.2 percent. Rounds says the legislature isn't basing the new budget on these numbers yet, because there is still another month of data to add before projections are finalized for the coming year.
"The revenues are not there yet, this recession clearly is not over, we have not bottomed out yet," Rounds says.
Rounds says one of the biggest issues continues to be sales and use tax. He says the revenues collected for 2010 were nearly $18 million less than actual revenues for 2009.
Rounds says he's still asking the legislature to not spend more than $32 million from the reserve funds for fiscal year 2011.
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