Gov. Kristi Noem approves $7.4 billion budget for South Dakota in 2024
Gov. Kristi Noem approved the whopping $7.4 billion state budget for the 2024 fiscal year, after weeks of veiled threats to veto the spending bill.
Education and state employees will receive a 7% funding increase, a percentage the Legislature and the Governor differed on. Noem originally called for a 5% increase in her December budget address, but lawmakers chose to go above that number.
Additionally, certain Medicaid community service providers, like nursing homes, will be reimbursed at 100% methodology and while hospitals will also receive a 5% funding increase.
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Gov. Noem still critical of South Dakota's large budget
In Noem's letter to the lawmakers explaining why she signed the spending bill, she was critical of the different Big Three spending increases.
"While I understand the motivation behind this change, this sets a bad precedent and risks one or more groups being left behind in future years," she wrote.
The 2024 budget also includes tuition assistance for National Guard members, freezing tuition at public universities and technical colleges in the state and future Medicaid expansion costs.
While the Legislature expects high revenue funds for 2024, an estimated $2.38 billion, Noem was critical of that projection in her letter and the decision to spend money on certain items in the budget.
More:Why Gov. Kristi Noem's long-touted bills were killed in the S.D. Legislature this session
"I agree that our economy is strong... I've put significantly more funding into our reserves in recent years. Only time will tell if it was a wise decision to spend these additional dollars," Noem wrote.
Fate of South Dakota sales tax cut still unknown
However, it's unclear if Noem will approve of a nearly-veto proof bill to lower the overall sales tax from 4.5% to 4.2% until 2027.
Noem has called Rep. Chris Karr's bill a temporary tax holiday.
If the tax cut bill is vetoed, lawmakers will return to Pierre on March 27 to decide by a two-thirds majority to overrule the Governor's decision.
This article originally appeared on Sioux Falls Argus Leader: South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem approves $7.4 billion budget for 2024