PIERRE, S.D. – In her half-hour-long budget address to a joint
legislative session on Tuesday, Gov. Kristi Noem proposed 4% increases
for education, health care, and state employee salaries, emphasizing
these budget items as the “Big Three” priorities.

However, she also cautioned the assembled legislators regarding
additional spending.

“Before we discuss how we’re going to invest dollars, I want us to have
a quick family discussion,” Noem said. “Last year, the legislature spent
tens of millions of dollars that wasn’t in my budget recommendation.
Clearly, I signed that budget, but this year will be different. I am
committed to budgeting conservatively, spending within our means,
returning money to the taxpayers, and focusing on our priorities. I hope
that you will agree with me on that approach.”

The remaining COVID-19-era federal aid, amounting to about $105 million,
is earmarked for water projects, according to Noem.

Through cost savings, Noem explained, the amount has increased to about
$125 million.

Despite the passage of a 0.3% sales tax “holiday” last session, sales
tax revenues continue to exceed projections, Noem noted.

The Governor emphasized that her budget prioritizes “people over

“I am not proposing conservative spending because our economy is weak,”
Noem said. “I am proposing conservative spending because we are strong –
and I want South Dakotans to continue to thrive for generations to

Noem requested just under $7.3 billion in spending from federal, state,
and other sources for fiscal year 2025, almost $100 million less than
the legislature appropriated for FY 2024.

The state legislature will consider the Governor’s budget proposal and
their own spending ideas when the 2024 session begins Jan. 9, 2024.


-Todd Epp
South Dakota Broadcasters Association