Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Governor Rounds reports on South Dakota's use of Federal Stimulus funds

From the official State of South Dakota site. Gov. Mike Rounds (R) will be leaving office due to South Dakota's term limit law.

PIERRE, S.D. – Gov. Mike Rounds announced today that the state Bureau of Finance and Management has submitted the second quarterly report required by the federal government under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA).

Data submitted by South Dakota show that state government, through Dec. 31, has spent $276 million of the estimated $655 million in federal stimulus funds currently allocated to state agencies. The report also shows that 845 jobs were created or retained during the fourth quarter of 2009 as a result of stimulus funding to state government.

“South Dakota has shown that it has been able to efficiently get the stimulus money into the state economy,” Gov. Rounds said. “Nationally, grant recipients have expended only 23 percent of their allocations – on average – while South Dakota’s number is an impressive 43 percent.”

The funds are intended to be fully used over three fiscal years.

State government used $78 million in stimulus funds to balance the budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2009; another $101 million in stimulus money will be used to balance the current state government budget, leaving about $70 million in stimulus funds to plug into the budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2010.

“These federal funds have helped balance the state budget, but they will run out after next year and it’s imperative that next year’s budget be as frugal as possible,” Gov. Rounds said. “The economy has shown little sign of recovering in the near future, and state revenue collections continue to be weak.”

Of the $655 million allocated to state government in South Dakota for recession relief, $287 million is for infrastructure -- such as roads, bridges, water systems, building repairs and energy projects; $186 million will be used for education; $134 million will be used for public assistance programs, including unemployment assistance; $27 million will be used for public safety; and $21 million is for other necessary state services.

“We used much of the stimulus funds, where the rules allowed, for roads and water projects,” the Governor continued. “The next generation of taxpayers will end up paying for the increased federal funds we have received, so they should benefit from these improvements.”

South Dakota sent its ARRA quarterly report to federal officials Thursday. It is not due until Sunday, and the federal government won’t count the reports as late until Jan. 15 because the federal guidance on how to count jobs was recently changed in late December.

“I commend state agencies and departments for the hard work they did to get this voluminous amount of financial information into the quarterly report,” the Governor said. “The information has been posted on the state’s Web site, with a link from State citizens can examine the exact data submitted to the federal government and be assured that the money was spent prudently.”

The Governor said no stimulus funds were used for additional personnel to compile the information.

South Dakota stimulus data, including reports on stimulus funds that went to other units of government in the state, will be available on the federal Web site on Jan. 30, said Jason Dilges, commissioner of the state Bureau of Finance and Management.

“In the spirit of government openness and transparency, information on ARRA funds is posted on our state Web site in real-time, as soon as any ARRA funds are spent.,” Dilges said. “Some of the numbers from the initial reports may be refined as we work with the federal agencies during the January review phase, but a massive amount of work went into our efforts to be sure that we met all of the federal reporting requirements and could accurately account for all of the funds, as of Dec. 31.

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