The increase in public funding for the private school scholarship reached the governor’s desk.
Senate Bill 71, which increases the private school scholarship fund total to $3.5 million form $2 million, passed the House Education committee on an 8-5 vote and the House on a 44-23 vote to send it to Gov. Kristi Noem for review and signature.
“This is a state tax credit. This is money that would normally go into the state coffers that is not,” Director of Policy and Legal Services Jessica Filler testified, adding that over a 10-year period that state money adds up to $35 million.
“That’s $35 million that isn’t replaceable.”
Filler noted that in the current year where there’s ample money available it’s easier to increase the funding for the program, “but I ask you to look” ahead.
“It’s a lot of money that can be spent on other programs,” Filler said.
Implemented in 2016, the private school scholarship program, which is funded by donations from insurance companies who receive a credit from the insurance company premium and annuity tax, has been adjusted in law multiple times, including last year when the provision in law making the program funding revenue neutral was removed.
“The program’s a good program,” Rep. Mark Willadsen told his fellow Representatives during the floor debate.
“It’s a terrible way to fund it.”
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