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(SD)-Daugaard Proposes 2.3% Spending Hikes For Raises, Schools, Medicaid

By: John Axtell Posted at: 12/04/2018 11:51 PM
PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - Retiring South Dakota Governor Dennis Daugaard delivered his Farewell Address and final budget proposal to a joint session of the Legislature Tuesday, proposing spending increases for education, state employees and Medicaid providers.
     The nearly $1.7 billion dollar general fund proposal for the 2020 budget year that starts July 1 lays the groundwork for GOP Gov.-elect Kristi Noem, who will formulate her own plan to be debated in the upcoming session. Noem says she'll be working on it over the rest of December ahead of being sworn in on January 5th
     Daugaard's plan for the upcoming year envisions roughly $53 million in spending hikes, including 2.3% increases for education, Medicaid providers and state workers.

      Republicans hold super-majorities in both the South Dakota House and Senate and incoming  Senate Majority Leader Kris Langer says it will be interesting to compare and contrast Noem's wishes with Daugaard's proposal, adding that Daugaard has done a "great job as our governor."

       Daugaard's proposal is getting a mixed review from South Dakota Democrats. State Party Executive Director Sam Parkinson says they can support funding hikes for public schools, state employees and community support providers, but that the budget plan is "most notable for what's not there" including no new funding for early childhood education and needs-based scholarships. In general, Parkinson called the proposal a "politics-as-usual approach."    

      After Daugaard gave his address and farewell speech, his official portrait was unveiled alongside the 31 portraits of the South Dakota governors that came before him. Connecticut artist Susan Booke Durkee, chosen through a national selection process, painted the portrait which shows Daugaard in front of the cornerstone of the Capitol building.

      He says it's emblematic of attempting to take care of the state's buildings and finances and keep South Dakota strong. Donations from current and past staff and cabinet members funded the portrait of Daugaard, who served in the legislature and as lt governor before becoming governor in 2011.


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