As he has since 2011, Gov. Dennis Daugaard opened the latest legislative session with his State of the State address on Tuesday (Jan. 10).
Gov. Daugaard touched on a number of topics during the address, but maybe none as noteworthy – and surprising – as his announcement that South Dakota and Internet giant Amazon had reached an agreement for the online retailer to begin collecting and remitting sales tax on online purchases for the state beginning in February.
Gov. Daugaard referred to the agreement as a “big step in the right direction” after noting during his budget address in December – where he proposed a one percent increase in funding for schools – that sales tax revenue came in lower than adopted projections for fiscal year 2017 and online purchasing was a large reason why.
Amazon will begin remitting the sales tax collections in March.
More good news related to sales tax came by way of Gov. Daugaard citing the success of the revenue generated for teacher salaries from half-cent sales tax increase passed last year.
“We are already seeing success from those changes,” Gov. Daugaard said, adding that the state’s average teacher salary had climbed to nearly $47,000 and schools were seeing fewer teachers leave the profession and receiving more applications for open positions.
The increase in the state’s average teacher salary saw an estimated 11.9 percent, or nearly $7,000, increase from last year and schools received an average of $526 more per-student. Senate Bill 35 proposes the target average salary for teachers next year be raised to $48,985.
The governor also promoted an expanded state program that increases the rating of capital outlay bonds or certificates issued to schools and provide them with better interest rates during the address.
South Dakota’s State Aid Pledge Program allows school districts to pledge State Aid payments as additional security for capital outlay bonds or certificate, which will have better interest rates due to the program’s AA+ rating. You can learn more about the program here.
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