Task Force report talks up need for new revenue
Two weeks after their final meeting, members of the Blue Ribbon Task Force reported to Gov. Dennis Daugaard that new money is needed to help cure the teacher shortage ailment in South Dakota.
Among the recommendations (click here to read about additional suggestions) reported, none may be bigger than the group’s recurrent referral to “at least $75 million in new ongoing funding” being needed to bring the state average teacher pay to $48,000, which was the recommended goal of the Task Force.
The recommendation appears to suggest that existing dollars, such as those from the capital outlay or pension funds, would not be included in the $75 million figure suggested to be needed.
In fact, the Task Force report recommended the elimination of the Pension Levy to be supplanted by a $0.263 increase in the general education levy to match the revenue previously generated. The Task Force noted the change should not be considered new money.
The report did not contain any recommendation on Capital Outlay because no consensus was reached by the Task Force, however, discussion during their meetings included a shift in $.50 of the capital outlay levy to the general fund, which could generate an estimated $37 million, but the task force did not agree on this recommendation. Discussion on Capital Outlay will continue during legislative session.
The Task Force report notes solving the teacher shortage will “require significant ongoing revenue” and the group recommended an increase to the state’s sales and use tax to supply ongoing revenue.
A presentation by the S.D. Department of Revenue revealed a one percent increase in sales tax, was estimated to generate $206 million in revenue if year round, $72 million if the increase was a four month (June-Sept.) seasonal increase and $107 million should it be a six month (May-Oct.) increase.
The South Dakota retailers offered conditional support of a one percent increase to the sales tax.
Blue Ribbon Task Force’s report is the final step in their process, but is the first step in the lengthy process of adding new money to K-12 education. More information may become available following Gov. Daugaard’s budget address on Dec. 8.
ASBSD will provide updates on the governor’s budget address on the ASBSD Blog and Twitter feed.
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