The South Dakota Legislature's Executive Board wants to get its hands on the state budget proposal sooner. Hence, they offer Senate Bill 10, which makes three budget deadline changes and one important policy change that should make it easier for citizens to study the Governor's budget proposal.

Senate Bill 10 moves the deadline for the Governor's submission of his budget proposal from the first Tuesday after the first Monday of December to the second Tuesday after the first Monday in November. In election years, that means we'll get the budget proposal one week after election day. We all will get three or four more weeks to study the Governor's proposal and offer our input to our legislators. That's good for democracy!

To help the Governor meet that earlier deadline, SB 10 moves up the deadline for state offices to submit their budget requests from October 15 to September 1. SB 10 requires copies of those requests to go to the Legislative Research Council by the same date, rather than the current deadline of November 1.

In a sign that legislators feel as if they aren't being kept in the budgetary loop, SB 10 makes one more change. Current state law says that "The commissioner of administration, attorney general, state treasurer, state auditor-general, secretary of revenue, state auditor, and the executive director of the Board of Regents shall render such advice and assistance, and furnish such information to the Bureau of Finance and Management as may be requested."

SB 10 adds "or the Legislature" after the BFM, requiring that the above-named state officials be as responsive to requests for budget information from legislators as they are to the executive branch.

Making the Governor and state agencies do their homework a few weeks earlier means crafting a budget with perhaps a little less economic data. But it allows legislators and the rest of us to participate in the budget process sooner. Do pass!