Noem announces $86 million budget surplus


SIOUX FALLS (AP) – South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem announced Monday the state finished the last fiscal year with an $86 million surplus.

Tax revenue hit a 30-year high, the Republican governor said, and finished $62 million over what was estimated. The state also spent about $24 million less than what was budgeted for the fiscal year that ended on June 30.

Noem credited the state's “respect for freedom and our continued emphasis on fiscal responsibility” for the financial windfall, though federal coronavirus relief funds sent both to taxpayers and state government also fueled the surplus. The state government has received over $2.2 billion in federal COVID-19 relief funds – money that was pumped into businesses and used to cover state expenses tied to the pandemic.

The governor has pointed to the state's growing economy as evidence her mostly hands-off approach to the pandemic worked.

"Our low unemployment rate, strong labor force recovery, and terrific tourism numbers are generating historic revenues for the state,” she said in a statement.

The $86 million surplus was transferred into the state's budget reserves, as required by state law. The state's total reserves are now $302 million.

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