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SD Budgetary Address today

December 2, 2014

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Updated: Changed title of this post, originally I had a stated it was the State of the State address. Apparently I didn’t have enough coffee this morning. The title has been corrected to note this is the budgetary address.

I’m back from a short catch-up-on-work vacation and should be blogging daily(ish) again. To kick off the 2015 political year, today will be the South Dakota budgetary address by Governor Daugaard. It will be broadcast at 1pm Central on the SDPB website. Over at the Argus, David Montgomery said there won’t be too many surprises in this budget address.

It is worth mentioning one portion of Montgomery’s story:

Last year, Daugaard emphasized the state’s tough financial situation before his December budget proposal — and then surprised the state by announcing a huge windfall from the state’s Unclaimed Property Fund that paid for tens of millions of dollars of new spending.

There’s not likely to be anything like that this year. Unclaimed Property revenue was trailing expectations through October, and Daugaard budget chief Jason Dilges said nothing significant had changed through mid-November.

Venhuizen said attention paid to Unclaimed Property revenues has actually cost the state money. Because more people are aware South Dakota has millions of dollars in abandoned property, more people are looking up and claiming their unclaimed property.

There are two takeaways from this Unclaimed Property revenues being down. First, it is great to see that more people are getting their money back from the state. But secondly, maybe the legislature (and Governor) should be leaving unclaimed property alone. This is money that is held in the public trust (similar to water) and technically should not have been used as it was last year. During the State of the State address last year Governor Daugaard announced he was taking $30 million dollars of Unclaimed Property dollars to pre-fund Building South Dakota. Last year many people (including me) said it was unwise to touch this ‘extra’ money because it could be claimed by the rightful owners. It also has to be realized that the sudden surge of unclaimed money last year came from the legislature changing the law so the State can take money after three years of being “unclaimed”; that was down from the previous five years. It should be interesting to hear what Daugaard has to say about these funds not meeting expectations throughout the year.

I’ll be live-tweeting the event and plan to do a post afterwards.

PS. Thank-you to everyone that have been contacting me the last couple weeks wondering why I wasn’t blogging anymore. I did not abandon this blog. I just had to get caught up with my businesses.

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