One of Governor Daugaard's highest priorities has been managing the state's finances. When Daugaard came into office, South Dakota was facing a structural deficit. In his first year in office, the Governor cut state spending by 10 percent for every agency and office of state government. The Governor's staff and cabinet secretaries took a 10 percent pay cut and Governor Daugaard cut his own salary by 15 percent. Through those difficult choices, the Governor and legislators balanced the state budget and placed South Dakota on a firm financial footing. For six consecutive years now state government has ended its fiscal year with a surplus.
Good stewardship has not always meant not spending for Governor Daugaard. In 2014 when the state received an unexpected windfall of $33 million, the Governor and the Legislature used that money to retire bonds early and to pay cash for a new veterans’ home rather than borrowing. The state was able to increase spending on education and Medicaid more quickly because of the savings enjoyed from those decisions.
State government's good stewardship has been paying dividends. In 2016 South Dakota’s consistently conservative fiscal operation and financial practice improvements were recognized by S&P, Moody’s and Fitch, which each awarded South Dakota with AAA status.
Additionally, over the past five years, South Dakota’s rating for fiscal transparency has improved from a D+ to an A-. Governor Daugaard’s emphasis on improving the state’s financial reporting resulted in the earliest issuance of the annual financial report in 20 years, and he issued executive orders requiring long term financial plans to be prepared and published.
To search South Dakota's financial data, visit Open.SD.gov.