As of June 30, 2011, the state of South Dakota finished fiscal year 2011 with a structurally balanced budget.
While many states around us struggled under the weight of deep deficits and partisanship, South Dakota kept its fiscal house in order. We made the tough choices so residents don't have to wonder if the Division of Motor Vehicles will be open or if their vacations to state parks will end in disappointment.
In short, our leaders led. We came to terms with the fact that, just like our families and businesses, state government cannot spend what it does not have.
South Dakotans are watching anxiously for the outcome of the federal debt-ceiling debate.
Across the country, people are seeing first-hand what can happen through fiscal irresponsibility.
We are determined not to fall into the same trap that has ensnared our federal counterparts. We will not spend unless we have the money. We will not spend reserves until they are gone and then borrow money to cover ongoing expenses. Doing so would lead down a path from which it is hard to return.
The best way to expand our tax base and provide more funding for important services is by creating jobs and expanding our economy.
Balancing the budget required tough choices. If we can work together to create more jobs, we will expand our tax base. That way, South Dakota will be able to afford more of the things that we find important without raising taxes just as we are emerging from the national recession.
Through hard work, we will continue to balance our budgets the South Dakota way. We won't rely on bailouts or loans or have government shutdowns. We will be self-reliant. We will persevere. We will continue to provide an example of a government that still works.