South Dakota political leaders take stands as session begins

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January 14, 2013

South Dakota

By Jennifer Springer

PIERRE, South Dakota: Key political leaders in South Dakota took political stands before the 2013 session officially began.[1]

Governor Dennis Daugaard and state senator Corey Brown said on January 7 that the Legislature "needs to be cautious in its budget work during the 2013 session," adding that it’s possible that lawmakers will need to come back later in the spring to further adjust the 2014 budget.[1]

Democratic representative Bernie Hunhoff disagreed, urging more spending by the Legislature in the 2013 session, and suggested that lawmakers provide more money in state aid to schools and should adopt the Medicaid expansion available to state governments under the federal Affordable Care Act.[1][2]

Daugaard predicted “a day of reckoning” for the federal government and he said South Dakota must “be very careful” to prepare for federal budget cuts.[1] Approximately 40 percent of state government’s $4 billion budget comes from federal aid of various sorts.

“I don’t think we can rely on the federal government having the money tomorrow, because right now they don’t have it,” Daugaard said.[1]

State senator Brown said South Dakota would face an estimated $50 million to $70 million in federal reductions to state government under the fiscal-cliff cuts that will take effect if Congress doesn’t reach a new deal this spring.[1]

Another key discussion facing the Legislature in 2013 is whether to spend all of the one-time revenue that is expected to be available from unexpected windfalls, such as bank taxes.[2]

The 2013 session opened on January 7 and runs for 38 working days.

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