Should lodging places get increased state rates?

State government’s Board of Finance faces at least one meaty discussion at its meeting Tuesday.

It’s a request from the South Dakota Hotel & Lodging Association to discuss the state rate for hotel stays for state employees.

The current rates set by the board for in-state lodging are $55 per night during the months of September through June and $70 per night during July and August.

Rick Murray, representing the association, spoke to board members at the July 17 meeting. Lodging businesses need to charge rates that keep pace with rising expenses, he told them.

Liza Clark, state commissioner of finance and management, responded that state government was in the same spot in July regarding tight revenues as earlier in the year.

Clark said state government agencies were asked to cut their budgets and it wasn’t a good time for the board to move forward with higher rates for lodging.

She suggested the topic be brought up again at the November meeting.

The latest report on revenue from Clark’s agency carried this summary: “Through 4 months of FY2018, total actual ongoing receipts were $8.3M lower than the adopted estimate, down from $2.7M below estimates last month.”

In other words, state government’s financial situation turned three times worse in one month.

Another item on the board’s agenda is the topic of debt write-offs. The state Department of Corrections wants 126 write-offs that total $239,924.45. The state Department of Human Services requested one write-off for $710.94.

The meeting Tuesday starts at 2 p.m. CT in the governor’s large conference room at the Capitol.

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