The state of South Dakota continues to provide an example for the federal government in the ways of fiscal responsibility. Governor Dennis Daugaard recently announced that the state ended the fiscal year on June 30th with a balanced budget, thanks in large part to the state agencies spending less than what was allocated and the hard decisions made in the last legislative session. Not only did South Dakota end the year with a balanced budget, but it was done without raising taxes on our individuals, families, or job creators in our state.
This responsible action stands in stark contrast to the federal government's inability to exhibit fiscal discipline, let alone balance its budget. In fact, Washington has only balanced its budget five times since 1969. Not only has Washington not balanced its budget in years, the Democratic-controlled Senate has not even passed a budget in over 800 days. Congress' inability to hold itself accountable and spend less than it takes in each year is exactly why we need a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. I have been a strong advocate for a balanced budget amendment since my first year serving in the House of Representatives. Unfortunately, the Senate just had another opportunity to pass such a requirement, but rejected it along party lines.
In other good economic news for the state, we recently learned that South Dakota has been ranked third for states with the best credit health by an online credit comparison company, cardratings.com. The rankings were based on a combination of factors including credit scores, foreclosure rates, unemployment rates, and bankruptcy rates. With an unemployment rate of 4.8 percent, compared to the national rate of 9.2 percent, South Dakota's fiscal discipline continues to facilitate an environment of economic stability for the private sector.
I hope that the federal government takes a cue from South Dakota's economic policies before it is too late. If we do not reverse course on this dangerous economic road, responsible South Dakotans will end up paying the fiscal price for Congress' recklessness.