Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations Discusses COVID Funding

The Interim Joint Committee on Appropriations (JCA), co-chaired by Rep. Chris Karr (R-Sioux Falls) and Sen. John Wiik (R-Big Stone City), held its first meeting of the 2020 interim on May 27.

The Committee discussed and adopted Letters of Intent to be sent to various state agencies. A Letter of Intent supplements a piece of legislation with specific policy guidelines and viewpoints held by the Committee during approval of that appropriation or legislation.

The West River Health Science Center (WRHSC) Letter of Intent was adopted and the Black Hills State University will present at the 2021 legislative session on the WRHSC. The role of the WRHSC is to provide a one-stop service for students who wish to purse a nursing or health-related degree. The immediate goal of this center will be to greatly expand the pipeline of students who wish to pursue a health-science career, particularly nursing. The goal is to double all programs in healthcare at all regent programs as well as technical college efforts. Last summer, SDAHO reported on the SD’s registered nursing demand by 2030.

In addition, Liza Clark, CFO Bureau of Finance and Management (BFM) provided an update on COVID-19 funding and budgetary impacts related to COVID-19. Highlights include:

Revenue: Sales tax is up 4.5% compared to a year ago, it is down 0.9% compared to the Legislative Revised estimate for the month of April. In total, ongoing general fund revenues were $18.1M lower than the estimate for the month of April. Data on state sales and use taxes that businesses collected in April will become publicly available the first week of June.

Expenses: Medicaid and the State Health Insurance are expected to experience savings due to lower occupancy rates such as in Nursing Homes and decrease in volume of non-essential services.

6.2% increase in FMAP: $28M for the first two quarters of 2020 general fund savings, expires upon termination of the public health emergency.

$1.25B State of South Dakota COVID Funding: Entities receiving funding will be subrecipients of the grant. BFM continues to seek guidance from the US Treasury on coding, eligibility, hazard pay of employee time related to COVID. The state plans on hiring a CPA firm to help attest, justification of federal grant funds prior to audit.

2% Provider Inflation: JCA deferred the Letter of Intent till the next meeting later in June, for base funding to increase Medicaid provider inflation by 2% for all provider groups in effect July 1, 2020.

The SD BFM provides a listing of useful links on federal guidance, funding allocations, and other documents related to Coronavirus Stimulus with implications to the South Dakota state budget.