This week is a big week for teachers in South Dakota. After the delay tactic last week by House Republicans, HB 1182 will be voted on (hopefully) by SD representatives. Yesterday both the Rapid City Journal and the Sioux Falls Argus Leader had editorials supporting this bill.
The Rapid City (RC) editorial is really gung ho about the bill, especially because much of the funding will come “from tourists, rallygoers and other visitors.” Really, that makes it better? Doesn’t that mean that SD is relying on non-residents to pay for our children’s education? How cheap are we?
The RC editorial also states, “Companies and small businesses have the same recruitment and retention concerns and wonder why they should continue investing in a state that isn't willing to invest in public education at the level other states do.” SD often touts its great climate for businesses because of a lack of corporate income tax. So the businesses like the tax breaks but are concerned about education funding? What is wrong with this picture?
At least the SF Argus Leader pointed out flaws in HB 1182 including “Sales taxes affect the poor and working families to a greater degree.” This is my biggest concern with using a sales tax to fund education. This is why I prefer SB 151, which would increase the sales tax by 1 cent but exempt certain food items from the tax increase. This Senate bill is brought forward by several Democrats, which makes it unlikely to be passed by our partisan legislature. I hope it comes out of committee at least.