Week 7

On February 22, 2008, in Letters from Val, by Valentine Rausch

Week 7 of the 2008 session.

Hello again from Pierre.

This week in appropriations we heard the economist’s projections for the revenue that they feel will be available for the 2009 fiscal year. The Bureau of Finance and Management and the Legislative Research Council each made a presentation and then a sub-committee of the joint appropriations met to try and decide which, if either, we will use for the general bill’s projected revenue. I was appointed to sit on that sub-committee and the future is not bleak or doom and gloom, but the revenue stream has slowed and finding extra monies to increase the Governor’s recommended budget will be difficult at best. The final number from the Sub-committee for the revenue number will be revealed on Monday.

The Governor recommended in his budget that for the 2008 budget we would need to use $29,000,000 from the reserves to cover all of our commitments, things such as flooding, wildfires, energy savings loan fund, etc. He also thought we would need to use $5,000,000 to cover our budget for 2009 fiscal year. So now with the revenues slowing a bit we will need to use even more out of the reserves. We will continue our work of looking for things that can be cut or cut back and reviewing the requests still waiting to see if they can be funded. A lot of work to be done yet in our last 5 days.

There will be a lot of debate next week on several bills, some of which include eminent domain, liquor license, education funding, state employee salaries, health provider fees, public safety, well you get the idea. Always a challenge to make everyone happy and often times we do not accomplish that goal. I’m sure this year will be no different.

With the end of session coming soon, the associations have started to become fewer and fewer. Even some of the lobbyists have been able to go home with their work done for the session.

The legislature had a visit this week from the Madison 4th Grade students, they are our little legislators. In their classes they elect all the positions in the House and Senate and actually practice passing bills. They also adopt us and write us letters. Then as a finale to their project they come to Pierre and visit with us and then watch us during session. What a great experience for them and a treat for us. Many school groups have been to Pierre during session, but this is the only one that gets to come on the floor and visit with us.

If you are in Pierre, please look me up, I love to meet with those who make the trip.

As always please contact me with any of your legislative concerns at 605-880-5015 or valrausch@hotmail.com or rep.rausch@state.sd.us Thank you and God Bless, Val


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