DECEMBER 7, 2021

SDDP Statement on Gov. Noem’s 2021 Budget Address

South Dakota Democratic leaders issued the following statements in response to Governor Noem’s budget address.

SDDP Chair Randy Seiler:

“While Governor Noem might not want to admit it, South Dakota’s budget is seeing a huge boost thanks to President Biden’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA). This budget allocates $850 million in ARPA funds and state revenue is up 15 percent as President Biden leads the country through a strong economic recovery.

“South Dakota is already seeing the benefits of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal, receiving over $60 million for statewide water project funding. Overall, South Dakota can expect to receive $2.8 billion in infrastructure funds.”

House Democratic Leader Jamie Smith:

“This year’s budget is a whole different ball game because we have a lot of money to allocate, and we look forward to working with the Governor on the many areas where we agree. With the economy bouncing back from COVID-19, Gov. Noem agreed with our request to raise pay for teachers and state employees. While we recognize this is a large increase, it only keeps pay even with inflation, and we would have liked to see even higher increases. Plus, with such a large amount of available funding, Democrats would like to see direct payments to South Dakotans.

“We are glad to see funding for workforce housing through Local Infrastructure Improvement Projects (LIIP). That’s an important step to address our housing shortage, but we still have a lot more to do to address housing affordability for South Dakotans.”

House Democratic Whip Erin Healy:

“While this budget invests in start-up and one-time costs for childcare, to really address the needs of South Dakota families we must allocate ongoing funds to hire and pay childcare providers competitive wages. At the end of the day, it’s people that care for our kids, and one-time investments in facilities won’t get the job done.”

Senate Democratic Whip Reynold Nesiba:

“South Dakota open positions are a result of brain drain as our highly-educated young people leave the state for better economic opportunities. The state’s fiscal deficits have been addressed, but now we need to address South Dakota’s ongoing deficits in education and healthcare.”