SD Legislature has more cash to play with

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota lawmakers are projecting they will have more money available than previously anticipated when they craft the state budget.

The Legislature's Joint Committee on Appropriations set state revenue projections Tuesday that are millions of dollars higher than those in Gov. Dennis Daugaard's budget from December.

The panel adopted a $1.64 billion target for the upcoming budget year 2019, up about $18.8 million from December. Lawmakers also set a roughly $1.59 billion current-year ongoing receipts target, which is over $16 million higher than December.

The decisions come on the heels of climbing tax collections. Committee member John Wiik, a senator, says the numbers are cautiously optimistic.

Sen. Larry Tidemann, co-chair of the panel, says officials would like to fund increases for education, Medicaid providers and state employees if the dollars can be found.