2020 SD Legislature: So far, state's economy is weathering pandemic

By: 
Rep. Steve Haugaard, District 10

As the months go by, we are receiving more reliable information as to both the virus and the impact of the virus on our state. We are now hearing that a vaccine is likely being finalized. We have also received data concerning the revenue that has been received by the state from the usual sources, not including the federal dollars.  

Last week, our fiscal staff delivered our revenue numbers and identified the fiscal year ending shortage as only about $4.5 million. That is just slightly over 2 percent of our annual general fund expenditure. We maintain a reserve in the range of 10 percent for “rainy days”.  So, even without the federal funds, we could still weather this storm.  

The legislature’s fiscal staff stated that: “… May taxable sales show an improvement from the lows of April; however, the services industry continues to show weakness. What remains to be seen is the effect on retail trade and the services industry once the increased unemployment benefits expire and the economic stimulus payment dollars are all spent.” “Retail trade taxable sales show positive increases each month so far in 2020 despite the effects of COVID-19.”

So, the state government’s financial picture is not looking too bad. However, we continue to seek the best way to distribute any available state or federal funds which are intended to mitigate the damage suffered by individuals and businesses. Again, I welcome any input you might have concerning those needs.  

One of the other real impacts is the social and emotional toll the virus is taking. There are ongoing problems in the form of reduced or lost income, strained family relationships, fear of either getting the virus or transmitting the virus, uncertainty about the future of work or school, missed experiences and opportunities, and many other concerns. So, I am very much interested in your input as to those needs which are a little more difficult to quantify but just as important. At a minimum, let’s remember to be supportive of those who are experiencing those challenges as well as the financial strain the virus is causing for many.  

Your input as to these and any other issues of concern are welcomed. Please email me at Steven.Haugaard@sdlegislature.gov. You might also want to go to the Legislative Research Council’s website www.sdlegislature.gov to listen to any of the recorded meetings and to see the latest news from the Legislature. I look forward to hearing from you.

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