A recent South Dakota Supreme Court decision that outlawed the state's video lottery has raised questions about the constitutionality of budget cuts that were implemented to replace lost video lottery revenues.

Janelle Toman, press secretary for Gov. Walter D. Miller, said last week that a group of South Dakota counties has filed a lawsuit over the anticipated loss of a total of $15 million of state revenues allocated for counties.

Last month, Miller said that the money for counties was pan of budget cuts needed to balance the state's current $602 million budget in the aftermath of the state Supreme Court decision. The counties' suit contends that Miller was not allowed to cut the budget under the constitution, Toman said.

Hughes County Circuit Court Judge Steven Vinter, who heard the suit last week, is expected to issue a decision this week, Toman said.

In June, South Dakota's highest court ruled that the state's video lottery, which generates about $63 million annually, violates the state constitution because it includes games of chance, such as blackjack and keno.

The decision went into effect on Aug. 12, forcing the state to implement a plan to make up for the lost video lottery proceeds. The Supreme Court refused a request by the state attorney general to delay the effective date of the decision until after Nov. 8. On that date, South Dakota residents will vote on a constitutional amendment that would allow a video lottery in the state.

South Dakota does not issue general obligation debt.

-- April Hattori, Chicago

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