Governor Daugaard’s Weekly Column: Being Good Stewards Of Taxpayer Dollars

daugaardheader Being Good Stewards Of Taxpayer Dollars

A column by Gov. Dennis Daugaard:

DaugaardThroughout my time serving as governor, good stewardship of taxpayer dollars has been my goal. Two pieces of recent news can assure South Dakotans that state government is handling their money responsibly.

On June 30, we closed the fiscal year with a budget surplus. Our ongoing revenues came in higher than projected and our expenses came in lower than budgeted. Revenue growth for the completed 2015 fiscal year exceeded estimates adopted by the Legislature last March by $10 million, or 0.71 percent; and state agencies demonstrated fiscal restraint, spending $11.5 million less than appropriated, or 0.84 percent.

Each year when we make budget projections, we try to make estimates that are as accurate as possible. There’s no way to project the exact numbers, so it’s better to err on the side of a surplus not a deficit. Through the Bureau of Finance and Management’s diligence, we were pretty close this year. Our projections were 99 percent accurate.

The good news of the surplus follows on the heels of a recently released report from the Mercatus Center in which South Dakota was ranked third in the nation for fiscal condition. The study is based on the comprehensive annual financial reports from each state for fiscal year 2013. The study compares states by their abilities to pay short-term bills, meet long-term spending obligations and increase spending. The study also takes budget and trust fund solvency into account.

In the study, we ranked just behind Alaska and North Dakota – and that’s something to be proud of. While Alaska and North Dakota derive a large percentage of their revenues from oil severance taxes, we must rely on other revenues more closely tied to economic activity.

When I took office, balancing the budget was my number one priority. Now, for four years in a row, we have maintained structural balance in our budget and we’ve done so without using one-time revenues or rainy day funds.

In a time when many other states are adopting rosy projections and employing budget gimmicks to justify overspending, South Dakota is acting responsibly. We don’t spend money we don’t have, we keep our budget structurally balanced and we seize opportunities to spend in the short-term where it can lead to savings. These practices reflect the responsible values of South Dakota citizens.


9 thoughts on “Governor Daugaard’s Weekly Column: Being Good Stewards Of Taxpayer Dollars”

      1. Yeah, it’s a shame the rest of SDan’s don’t get a big raise either. Teachers are not the only SDan’s with low salaries. But the answer is not to subsidize everyone’s salary with a govt handout; after all, sooner or later that govt is going to run out of money or people are going to quit working and paying in to support everyone else. This is, as Margaret Thatcher, said, “socialism works until we run out of other people’s money.” Teachers have a powerful lobby and we hear about their wages all the time; how about the state auditors who make very little either and have a college degree and work year round? How about every other group who does not have a powerful and loud voice advocating for them?

        1. Good points, Springer; it’s too bad that Porter is such a socialist that his answer to everything is more government and higher taxes. I don’t think the guy’s ever had an original thought in his life-it’s all out of the socialist playbook.

  1. He is messing up the educational system, letting roads etc go to hell, increasing homelessness, and continuing low paying jobs, and oh yeah SD is no longer a good place to do business!!! Have you seen we tanked in rankings

    1. You’re right, WU; the government should control everything and should take everyone’s money and divide it up as they see fit. I understand that you don’t believe in personal responsibility, but don’t ruin the country because of your worship at the alter of a failed ideological system.

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