Democratic Legislative Leaders Respond to Low Revenue Projections
PIERRE, S.D. – At their weekly press conference Thursday, State Senate Democratic Leader Sen. Billie Sutton of Burke and State House Democratic Leader Spence Hawley of Brookings responded to the revenue estimates adopted by the Joint Appropriations Committee this week for the remainder of this fiscal year and the next fiscal year, which are a combined $53 million below previously expected growth.
“Democrats recognize the need to live within our means, but we also believe we must continue to make smart investments in our people which will aid South Dakota’s short-term and long-term economic growth,” said Hawley. “We should use our rainy-day funds to make sure we do not cut planned investment in important priorities, like education.”
“In the words of an old saying, ‘We shouldn’t eat our seed corn.’ For too long our state has eaten our seed corn and failed to make the needed investments in people to give our state a larger and more stable economic foundation,” Hawley said.
Sutton and Hawley noted that Democrats had introduced the “Opportunity Agenda for Working Families” this Session, a package of legislation which would have helped level the economic playing field for working families through legislation guaranteeing paid sick and family leave for workers in large corporations, creating a pre-K pilot program and restoring childcare assistance, fully funding the Building South Dakota Program, fully funding a needs-based scholarship program, and repealing the sales tax on food.
“These commonsense pieces of legislation would have put money in the pockets of working families which they would have spent in their communities – which would be a boost for our state’s revenues,” Sutton said. “As a state, we have a moral obligation to support the economic liberty and freedom of the working class in South Dakota. Unfortunately, the six pieces of legislation advancing this agenda which have been heard in committee so far have been killed in committee on largely party line votes. We don’t think helping the working people of our state should be a partisan issue, but apparently our friends across the aisle feel differently – the six pieces of legislation heard in committee have only received 2 Republican votes combined.”
“As we head into the remaining weeks of Session, Democrats will continue to advocate for working-class families and to support legislation that respects the voters’ intent,” Sutton continued. “We will also continue to fight against budget cuts to education and healthcare providers by prioritizing available dollars in our budget. We all have a moral obligation to invest in people, not pet projects.”