Governor to present budget plans todayProposals started taking shape last summer.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — The speech at 1 p.m. today by Gov. Dennis Daugaard, outlining his budget recommendations to the Legislature for the 2014 fiscal year that starts July 1, 2013, is actually the mid-point of an annual process that takes more than six months to piece together.
It also represents a big gamble on predicting the economy far in advance.
The budget recommendation process begins in the summer when state government agencies develop their budget requests.
Those are submitted to the state Bureau of Finance and Management, which is the governor’s budget office, for review.
The next big step, the current one, is the governor’s recommendations in late November or early December to the Legislature.
The process ends at some point in late February or early March, when the Legislature formally approves the final version in the closing days of the legislative session.
Along the way the state finance commissioner, Jason Dilges, also tries to form the most accurate forecast possible for the economy a full year or more in the future and determine how state tax revenues will be affected.
That act of crystal-balling includes conferences with members of a state advisory team as well as individual conversations with international consultants and with representatives from businesses that are key pieces in South Dakota’s economy, such as credit-card banks.
Later, usually as late as possible in February, a panel of legislators engages in a version of the same leap of faith, taking revenue forecasts from the Legislative Research Council’s fiscal staff and from BFM, and making a final official estimate of how much revenue state government will receive during the next 16 months. This is why the Legislature waits to pass the budget as one of its last acts each session.
Daugaard’s recommendations today remained somewhat of an official mystery until the 1 p.m. speech. Unlike previous governors, he doesn’t provide advance briefings to statehouse reporters. His policy is that the Legislature should hear his message first.
South Dakota Public Broadcasting sent a team of radio and television reporters and technicians to the Capitol to provide live coverage of the speech and gather reactions from legislators afterward.
An archived digital copy of the coverage will be available later today at www.sdpb.org on the Internet.