Gov. Dennis Daugaard
South Dakota is a state with a low tax burden. We are one of only seven states without a personal income tax. We also have no corporate income tax, no business inventory tax, no personal property tax and no inheritance tax. People who live here get to keep more of their earnings. We are a state that instead relies on a sales tax. Unfortunately, sales tax revenues have been below projections every month of the current fiscal year, which began in July. The farm economy is one reason for weakness in the sales tax. Another reason is the continued growth of online sales.
This past week, the state budget office issued South Dakota's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, or what those of us within state government sometimes refer to as "the CAFR." The Bureau of Finance and Management made the report public on the Friday before New Year's Day. Just like a business, each year South Dakota prepares audited financial statements. These statements are required by law, and are used to qualify us to receive federal funds. The report is also reviewed by agencies which evaluate our state's credit worthiness.
For a state like South Dakota, with five times as many cattle and twice as many hogs and chickens as we have citizens, livestock health is a big deal. We all know the tremendous impact the livestock sector has on our state's economy, but it's easy to forget the connection between livestock health and human health. Livestock disease control techniques have advanced rapidly in recent years in response to worldwide disease epidemics. Since 2013, South Dakota has seen outbreaks of four new diseases not previously seen in the United States.
The years go faster as one gets older, and as 2016 closes, I have been thinking back on the past year. As always, Linda and I have much to be thankful for. We are also remembering four good friends and great South Dakotans who we lost this year.
Christmas is a special time in South Dakota, and it was no less special in the 1880s. Laura Ingalls Wilder, author of The Little House on the Prairie series, lived on a homestead near De Smet, and wrote about Christmas in Dakota Territory in "The Long Winter."
The week of the annual Budget Address is always a busy time in the Capitol Building, and this year is no exception. The halls are filled with Christmas trees and with hundreds of visitors who come to see them. We also welcome newly-elected legislators, incumbents and those whose legislative service is ending, to discuss the state budget for the upcoming year. After the address, I travel to different parts of the state for my budget tour where I lay out the good news and the bad news of South Dakota's economy.
In 1963, Gov. Archie Gubbard signed a bill into law which requires governors to submit an annual budget report to the Legislature. The report must be given to each member of the state Legislature on the first Tuesday following the first Monday in December. The law says "the Governor may present such report to the Legislature in person." On Tuesday, Dec. 6, at 1 p.m. in the state House, I'll honor the tradition of presenting that report in person to the Legislature by giving the annual Budget Address — and I'll start by talking about the state's revenue picture.
When she was in the third grade, Linda Krutzfeldt received a Colorado blue spruce seedling. It was 1986 and a South Dakota Department of Agriculture forester was giving an Arbor Day presentation at Linda's school in Huron. To go along with his presentation, the forester brought little trees for the children.
During the 2016 session, the state Legislature passed a package of three bills, based on the recommendations of the Blue Ribbon Task Force. The purpose of these bills was to direct new funding to school districts to increase teacher salaries. I'm pleased to report that this effort has been a success. A new survey by the state Department of Education indicates that the average teacher salary is $46,924. This represents a one-year increase of 11.9 percent.
In 1956, President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed into law the National Interstate and Defense Highways Act, creating the interstate highway system. Along with 41,000 miles of roadway came construction of interstate rest areas, which served a dual purpose: to provide basic services for motorists and give travelers a place to get out, stretch their legs and rest.