SOUTH DAKOTA

South Dakota lawmakers have voted to assign about $2 million in surplus revenues to five state agencies facing layoffs and program cuts because of the elimination of state lottery revenues.

The South Dakota interim appropriations committee voted on Oct. 13 to restore some budget cuts approved in September, with the money to come from gaming taxes, hunting charges, and other fee-supported activities, said Chris Eitemiller, fiscal analyst for the state's Legislative Research Council.

The department of environment and natural resources will get $1.3 million, the tourism department will get $360,000, the health department will get $122,000, the personnel bureau will get $38,450, and the Legislative Research Council will get $35,000. The legislature also authorized the health department to immediately spend a $180,000 federal grant it has applied for if the money comes through.

The interim infusion is needed because of the unexpected $36 million budget shortfall that hit the state when the South Dakota Supreme Court ruled this July that South Dakota's video lottery was unconstitutional.

In a special session last month, the legislature approved $28 million in budget cuts and the use of $8 million in reserve funds to balance the 1995 general fund budget of $602 million.

"We did make the cuts, but we found some of the state revenues were a little higher than projected, so the legislature is transferring in what it can to ease some of the cuts it had to make," Eitemiller said.

A proposed constitutional amendment on the Nov. 8 ballot will let voters decide whether the lottery will be revived. If they vote yes, Eitemiller said, lottery officials could resume video lottery operations by December.

-- Cris Carmody, Chicago

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