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On Feb. 13, the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Appropriations adopted revenue projections for Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 and FY2019 state budgets. Fortunately, since I offered my budget proposal in December, more recent months of revenue collections have been stronger. These months of improved revenue, coupled with the economic stimulus expected from federal tax cuts, portend better future revenue.

For the current fiscal year, FY2018, the revenue projection has increased by $16.3 million. For FY2019, the revenue projection has increased by $18.8 million. As we plan spending within these projections, we must remain committed to principles of fiscal responsibility and conservative management. It is important that we use non-recurring revenue for one-time expenses only, and that we appropriate dollars for recurring expenses only with revenue which is expected also to recur.

There is no better place than South Dakota to live, work and raise a family. This is why Site Selection magazine named South Dakota the number one state for achieving the American dream.

We also have a high quality of life, with an abundance of outdoor recreational opportunities, safe communities, good schools and quality post-secondary education opportunities. Based on EPA standards, we have one of the best safe drinking water records in the nation. Our air is clean, too. We are one of just five states in the country that has never had a “nonattainment area” under the Clean Air Act. We have good roads. Our highways rank second in the nation for overall performance and cost-effectiveness. .

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The safety net programs we administer are well-managed. Our Medicaid program is run so well that we are the only state in the nation that has had a continuous exemption from federal audit requirements. Our Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program — or “food stamps” — has been ranked #1 in the nation for its procedural accuracy. This earned us half a million dollars in rewards from the federal government last year. And our child support program is #2 in the nation for overall performance and cost effectiveness.

If we consider all of these things and what we have achieved in the last seven years — structurally balancing the budget every year, securing AAA status, raising teacher pay, investing in our roads, improving our criminal justice system — then we have good reason be proud of the state that we call home, and good reason to be hopeful for the future. Take a minute today and appreciate your state. I know there is nowhere else I would rather be and no other people I would rather be with.

Dennis Daugaard is the governor of South Dakota.

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