South Dakota

To: Interested Parties
Fr: White House Communications
Da: April 22, 2009
Re: The Obama-Biden economic plan: creating jobs, strengthening the economy for South Dakota families

Facing the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, President Obama started his Presidency with decisive action -- proposing and quickly passing the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).  Since the bill went into effect, the ARRA has already helped put money back in the pockets of 95 percent of working Americans, created and saved jobs across the country and made key investments in our community to help kickstart the economy.  To ensure that the funds are spent efficiently and effectively, President Obama tasked Vice President Biden with overseeing the implementation of ARRA, and projects have already begun to come in under budget across the country.   As the President prepares to introduce the details of his budget and further plans to revitalize the economy, here’s a look at how his policies have impacted South Dakota in the first three months of his administration.


Working Families:

  • Making Work Pay: The President’s tax-cut – which covers more Americans than any in history – is putting more than $200 million back in the pockets of more than 300,000 hard-working South Dakota families.
  • $5,460,031 to support child care for working families.


  • $13,167,500 in block grants to foster energy efficiency in building, transportation, and a wide range of other improvements.
  • $24,487,296 to support the weatherization of homes, including adding more insulation, sealing leaks and modernizing heating and air conditioning equipment.
  • $23,709,000 to the State Energy Program, available for rebates to consumers for energy saving improvements; development of renewable energy projects; promotion of Energy Star products; efficiency upgrades for state and local government buildings; and other innovative state efforts to help save families money on their energy bills.


  • 214,969,571  dollars potentially available to South Dakota to lay the foundation for a generation of education reform and help save thousands of teaching jobs at risk due to state and local budget cuts.

Health Care:

  • $599,233 to fund 1 new Community Health Center, which will serve an estimated 2,100 patients and create a projected 15 jobs.
  • $1,353,892 to expand services at 6 existing Community Health Centers, which will expand service to an additional 3,621 patients and create or save a projected 13 jobs.
  • $485,000 to provide meals to low-income seniors.
  • $20,496,315 made available in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) to protect health care for the families hit hard by the economic crisis and some of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.
  • $580,657 in vaccines and grants to ensure more underserved Americans receive the vaccines they need.


  • $183,027,359 in highway funds to help build and repair roads and bridges.
  • $11,289,101 to repair and build public transportation infrastructure.
  • $9,099,968 to address airport safety and security, infrastructure, runway safety, increased capacity, and mitigation of environmental impacts.

Law Enforcement:

  • More than $4.9 million for state and local law enforcement assistance available through the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant (JAG) Program.  The JAG Program supports a variety of efforts such as hiring and support for law enforcement officers; multijurisdictional drug and gang task forces; crime prevention and domestic violence programs; and courts, corrections, treatment, and justice information sharing initiatives.


Thanks to the Obama Administration’s American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, real impact is already being felt across the state.

Gov Rounds: Stimulus Will Prevent State Aid to Schools From Being Reduced. "Gov. Mike Rounds says money from the federal stimulus measure will help South Dakota balance its state budget in the next three years without making as many program cuts as had been expected. The governor says the stimulus money will allow the state to avoid using reserve funds to balance the budget. He says it also will help restore about half the spending cuts he had proposed in January. Rounds says state aid to schools will likely not be cut, money will be available to help keep the State Fair, and the Birth to Three program will be saved. The Legislature expects to finish the state budget next week." [AP, 3/3/09]

Stimulus Funding for South Dakota Wind Power Incentives Encouraged Molded Fiber Glass Company to Hire More Workers, Cooperative Power Supply Network and Basin Electric Power Plan to Build New Wind Farm. "The stimulus package also contains means to attract capital for wind-power development, Nelson said. There's also optimism in Aberdeen regarding Molded Fiber Glass Cos., which laid off about 30 employees in late January. The company makes windmill blades for wind-energy operations. Molded Fiber, which opened last year, is once again looking for employees, according to the South Dakota Department of Labor. The company also plans to participate in a job fair scheduled for March 17 in Aberdeen. In October, about 220 worked at the plant… The Cooperative Power Supply Network, which includes the East River co-op and Basin Electric Power Cooperative based in Bismarck, N.D., is going forward with its plans for a 150-megawatt wind farm near Mitchell or Winner, Nelson said." [Aberdeen American News, via Energy Current, 3/4/09]

Stimulus Money Will Prevent the Governor from Having to Cut Many State Programs, Including a Program to Help Children With Developmental Delays and the Medicaid Adult Dental Services Program. "What a difference a $790 billion federal economic stimulus bill makes. The $500 million to $600 million South Dakota expects to receive with the passage of the stimulus bill will allow the restoration of almost half of the $58 million Gov. Mike Rounds proposed cutting from the general fund budget. This will let him rescind several controversial program eliminations… In December, Rounds announced $12 million in proposed budget cuts, and in January said the state would have to cut an additional $46 million to deal with an ongoing imbalance between spending and revenue. In that harsh scenario, millions would have been cut for Medicaid health providers, teacher salaries and other programs. Popular programs and appropriations were zeroed out, such as Birth to 3 to help children with developmental delays; the appropriations to the state fair and the Division of the Arts. The South Dakota School for the Deaf would be closed, and the Archeological Research Center would be eliminated… Knudson said the final budget the Legislature presents to Rounds will include a State Fair appropriation of about $500,000. The Archeological Research Center would be funded at half its former level but can make up the difference by raising fees for archeological services to the state Department of Transportation and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources. ‘The Division of Arts will be retained. But it's hard to tell what the funding will be on that one,’ Knudson said. Heidepriem said a half-cent boost in the tourism tax devoted to the Division of Arts is being considered that would ensure long-term funding. Even if that proposal fails, though, ‘I’m confident we will be able to muscle the arts council into the budget somewhere,’ Heidepriem said. Birth to 3 will be saved, along with the Medicaid adult dental services and the food sales tax refund, according to Knudson." [Argus Leader, 3/9/09]

South Dakota Education Association President Credited The Stimulus Bill For Restoring Education Funding In The State Budget. "The state’s largest teacher union is expressing appreciation to state lawmakers who, despite a weak economy, were able to restore education funding this year. The South Dakota Education Association (SDEA) was aware going into this year’s legislative session that economic conditions in South Dakota would be a challenge, but the organization been pleasantly surprised by the funding decisions lawmakers made, including a per-student spending increase of three percent. Sandy Arsenault, SDEA president, says districts located in sparsely populated areas of the state and schools with both increasing and decreasing enrollments will also have their funding restored. The federal stimulus dollars couldn’t have come at better time to help South Dakota schools, she says. "Without the money from the stimulus package, South Dakota educators would be having a much different conversation right now. School districts across the state would have been looking at much deeper cuts than they were already making. We’re very thankful that Senator Johnson and Representative Herseth Sandlin understood investing in education was a key component for getting our economy back on track. So, yeah the stimulus dollars were very important." Opponents question the lasting effects of the stimulus plan once the states have allocated and used the one-time monies. Arsenault agrees, the package gives only a two-year reprieve, but stresses the cash infusion is critical at a time when state revenues are down. "That makes it more important that we don’t lose sight of the value of investing in a quality public education. In the end, the investment we make today in education will ultimately make our economy stronger. In the long run, we have to do that. We have to continue that fight. Now is not the time to curtail education funding. Now is the time to increase it." [Public News Service, 4/3/09]

Butte County South Dakota Seeks COPS Grant to Hire New Deputy Sheriff, Animal Control Officer. "Some local police departments are seeking federal funds to help put and keep more cops on the street.  Through the stimulus bill that was recently signed into law, nearly $1 billion was dedicated to the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program in addition to the $550 million already set aside for 2009.  Belle Fourche and Butte County law enforcement officials are hoping to take advantage of funding that could assist both the city and county in adding officers… The city of Belle Fourche is looking to use funding from the program to add a full-time animal control officer, something the department has been without. Recent concern from residents about animals at large could be addressed properly if the department is awarded the funding.  Butte County Sheriff Fred Lamphere is looking to add a deputy through a COPS grant. After losing the $60,000 contract to patrol Orman Dam last year, a deputy position had to be terminated, Lamphere said... ‘This COPS grant is an area I can pursue and hopefully get something done with,’ Lamphere said… Lamphere said the funding will hopefully be available to Butte County, but would know more at a later date. He said departments could fill out a question and answer form online to determine if they are eligible, which he thought Butte County would be. Lamphere said the county would also have to determine the true cost, as the department would need additional equipment and another vehicle if a sheriff's deputy were to be added." [Black Hills Pioneer, 4/20/09]

Lawrence County Filed for COPS Grants to Hire More Officers. "Lawrence County Sheriff's Office Chief Deputy Joe Harmon said the County Commission gave the sheriff's office permission to file for grants to hire two deputies. They would be paid between $30,000 and $38,000 each, Harmon said.  If the county receives word they have been approved for the grants, then they will decide if they want to hire them, he said.  Spearfish Police Chief Pat Rotert said his department has taken advantage of the COPS program before and will attempt to do so again this year.  Rotert said he will apply for a grant to hire one officer. The program would pay the officer's salary for three years and the city would pay a fourth. He said the department has several officers who were hired through the COPS program and then retained by the city. Rotert said he would find out by the end of the year if the city qualifies for the grant." [Black Hills Pioneer, 4/20/09]

Three South Dakota Airports Receive Nearly $9.1 Million In Stimulus Funds For Runway And Terminal Renovations. "The Federal Aviation Administration is providing South Dakota with nearly $9.1 million in federal stimulus funds to help with projects at three airports. The Mitchell Municipal Airport will get $6.7 million to rehabilitate a runway. The Pierre Regional Airport will get about $1.4 million to help construct a terminal. And the Municipal Airport at Martin will receive more than $1 million to rehabilitate a runway. U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood says the airport projects will create jobs and will boost the long-term safety and economic vitality of airports." [KCAU-TV, 4/9/09]


Mitchell Airport Will Undergo Its Largest Capital Project In 60 Years With The Help Of A $6.7 Million FAA Grant. "Mitchell Municipal Airport soon will undergo its largest capital project in more than 60 years, aided by a multimillion-dollar federal stimulus grant. Public Works Director Tim McGannon learned Thursday that the airport will receive $6.7 million from the Federal Aviation Administration. McGannon said the grant will go to rebuilding Mitchell Municipal Airport’s 12-30 main runway, so named because it runs southeast-to-northwest on a 120-degree to 300-degree compass heading. It is the largest capital project undertaken at the airport since it was built in the 1940s. The money is from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, which includes $1.3 billion the FAA can use to improve air transportation infrastructure. The reconstruction of the 7,000-foot runway and improved lighting was already part of a five-year capital improvement plan for improving the airport facility, McGannon said. Under that five-year plan, engineering design originally was scheduled for completion in 2010 and runway reconstruction by 2011. ‘With the price tag, we weren’t sure we were ever going to be able to get the money to do it,’ he said.  George Bittner, a member of the airport board, said the cash windfall is ‘good news for the airport.’ ‘With the new funds, we’ll be able to complete both projects by this fall,’ he said. Other members of the board are Tom Case, Ray Roby, Darren Brewster and Dave Muth. City Councilman Scott Houwman is an ex-officio board member. McGannon credited the board with stepping up the project timetable when its members learned that federal stimulus funds might become available for shovel-ready projects…Plans will be ready in about a month and a half, the project will be put out to bid in 30 to 60 days, and the project should be completed by the end of September, said McGannon. The city plans to keep the second 5,500-foot north-south runway open during most construction, said McGannon." [Mitchell Republic, 4/3/09