South Dakota lawmakers eliminated a $36 million budget shortfall late Friday through cuts and the use of reserve funds.
The legislature approved $28 million in budget cuts and the use of $8 million of reserve funds to bring the $602 million general fund budget for fiscal 1995 back into balance, said Janelle Toman, Gov. Walter D. Miller's press secretary.
The special legislative session was called after a Hughes County Circuit Court judge ruled that the governor violated the state constitution by ordering a $15 million cut in the state revenues distributed to local governments. The case was brought by counties that were facing revenue cuts. Judge Steven L. Zinter ruled that the governor could not enforce the cut without approval from the legislature.
Under the plan approved by the legislature, personal property tax replacement revenues for counties and other local governments in the state will be cut by only $13.7 million, Toman said. She added that the use of the reserve funds reduced the amount of overall budget cuts.
The budget shortfall was caused by a South Dakota Supreme Court ruling in July that found the state's video lottery was unconstitutional. The lottery, which generates about $63 million annually for the state, was shut down following the high court's ruling.
Voters will decide the constitutionality of the lottery Nov. 8 when they consider an amendment that would allow it in the state.