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A legislative committee has endorsed Gov. Dennis Daugaard's plan to amend the South Dakota Constitution to make it clear that the state budget must be balanced.

Jim Seward, the governor's legal counsel, says language in the constitution now implies that the state budget must be balanced. He says new language expressly requiring a balanced budget is needed to maintain the state's good bond rating, which will help get low interest rates when special authorities issue bonds for building projects.

The proposed constitutional amendment says the governor must propose and the Legislature must pass a balanced budget each year. Reserve funds could be used to balance the budget.

If the full Legislature endorses the proposal, the proposed constitutional change will be put on the November ballot for a statewide public vote.

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