Gov's finance chief predicts budget surplusRevenue has been stronger than earlier estimated and spending has been less than budgeted.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — State Finance Commissioner Jason Dilges gave legislators Tuesday a snapshot forecast of state government’s financial status as the 2012 fiscal year draws to an end June 30.
“We’ve done our work here. We’re going to have surpluses as a result,” Dilges said.
He told members of the Legislature’s interim committee on appropriations that revenue has been stronger than earlier estimated and spending has been less than budgeted.
He said the decision made one year ago to force $127 million of budget cuts led to a balanced budget now. Just two years ago, when Daugaard was running for governor against Democrat Scott Heidepriem, one of the major campaign issues was a state budget situation that Heidepriem labeled a “crisis.”
Dilges said there have been strong tax receipts and state agencies are planning in some cases to return unspent money.
“It appears through 11 months we’re on track to not spend all of our budget,” he said. A 1 percent reversion appears likely and would equate to $13 million.
“It’s nothing to sneeze at.”
Dilges said Gov. Dennis Daugaard wants to make targeted re-investments. He acknowledged money needs to be restored in some instances but the overall theme is to sustain cuts as much as possible.
“This is going to be an ongoing endeavor,” Dilges said.