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NPR News

South Dakota Is Asking Congress For Flexibility In Spending Relief Aid

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This story is part of an NPR nationwide analysis of states' revenue and budgets during the pandemic.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem's state budget managers anticipate a nearly $40 million dollar decrease in anticipated revenue over the course of the fiscal year that goes through June 30, 2021.

Liza Clark, the chief financial officer for South Dakota, says the state ended the last fiscal year with a $19 million surplus partly because of across-the-board spending cuts once the coronavirus outbreak reached the U.S. Also, to the extent that South Dakota officials determined the state could, it used federal CARES Act dollars from Congress to further cushion the blow.

But going forward, the Bureau of Finance and Management expects state revenue to come in about 2.25% lower than anticipated.

Mark Quasney is the state's economist. He says he's optimistic about the state budget because South Dakota is not seeing a revenue decrease year over year.

"In light of the fact that this is the greatest recession—in terms of severity—for some of these numbers in terms of employment and GDP decline and all of that that we've really seen since the great depression or post-WWII era."

Governor Kristi Noem is calling on Congress to allow states to use federal COVID relief money for revenue replacement.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB's Rapid City-based news and political reporter.

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