Proposed budget to cut spending by 10 percent

PIERRE � South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard on Wednesday proposed a state budget that would cut spending by 10 percent in nearly every state agency next year.

Daugaard's budget plan includes $127 million in cuts to reduce spending of state general funds to about $1.1 billion in the budget year that starts July 1.

The 10-percent cuts include state aid to school districts and reimbursement to doctors and others who provide services to low-income people in the Medicaid program.

The Republican governor unveiled his budget proposal to a joint session of the South Dakota House and Senate.

Daugaard said the state has been running a structural deficit and counting on the federal government to make up the difference.

"We've been relying on our uncle � Sam � to fill the gap with stimulus money," he said.

The governor said his goal is to eliminate that structural deficit this year.

"We're going to be having to make tough choices for that to occur," Daugaard said.

Daugaard has repeatedly said he will not raise taxes, but instead wants to cut spending to match expected revenues for the budget year beginning in July.

Members of the Legislature have been eagerly awaiting Daugaard's budget proposal so they could work on putting together a final version of the spending plan.

Democratic leaders, in an e-mailed response, said they welcomed Daugaard's acknowledgment that state spending must be reduced but questioned some of the areas targeted.

"Many are cuts, we've proposed and supported for the past several years," said House Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff. "But we can't support the governor's goal to cut resources for schoolchildren, people with disabilities, and children and elderly with health problems."

View slides from Daugaard's budget address

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