- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 13, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota ended the 2016 budget year with money to spare, sending $14.1 million to budget reserves and marking the fifth consecutive year of surplus, Gov. Dennis Daugaard said Wednesday.

Revenues grew by an unexpected $3.6 million over economic estimates lawmakers approved in March, and state agencies spent $10.4 million less than budgeted for the fiscal year that ended June 30. Overall general fund receipts totaled roughly $1.5 billion for the budget year, and South Dakota has nearly $160 million in reserves.

“This marks the fifth year in a row that we have maintained structural balance in our budget. This was my number one priority when I took office,” Daugaard said in a statement. “Even with our revenue stream being soft the past few months, all areas of state government were able to spend fewer tax dollars than appropriated to contribute to the budget surplus.”

Areas of lower spending included $2.4 million in lower-than-expected state employee health insurance costs; $2 million in lower utility spending from the Board of Regents; $1.3 million from the state Department of Human Services because of vacancies at the South Dakota Developmental Center and lower-than-expected operating spending; and $1 million in lower Department of Social Services program expenditures.

South Dakota saw notable growth in the bank franchise tax, insurance company tax and severance taxes.

The state’s goal is to be in good shape to propose a balanced fiscal year 2018 budget and have one-time money available to spend in the current budget year, Bureau of Finance and Management Commissioner Jason Dilges said.

Sales tax collections, the biggest state revenue source, accounted for 58 percent of general fund receipts in fiscal year 2016. Collections were about 0.7 percent below target, but grew nearly 3 percent over the previous fiscal year.

Sales tax receipts grew about 1.6 percent in fiscal year 2015.


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