Published March 1, 2009 | March 2009 issue
Gov. Michael Rounds and lawmakers are taking an aggressive approach to a projected budget deficit of $134 million by the end of this fiscal year.
The state is likely to receive more than the current deficit from the federal stimulus package. But Rounds has said he wants to try to balance the budget without it. State workers are expected to accept a wage freeze in order to limit the number of job cuts that might otherwise be proposed. Rounds also suggested reducing some programs or funding support, including closing the state's school for the deaf, eliminating state support of the State Fair and closing the Division of Arts.
Rounds has also proposed several broad measures to increase tax revenue, including the repeal of a number of tax exemptions. The governor is also proposing hikes in some 200 fees covering everything from driver's licenses (currently $8) to water permits. Some fees were last increased decades ago.
—Ronald A. Wirtz