KSOO’s Independent radio host Rick Knobe continues to urge the Legislature to raise South Dakota’s teacher pay. He said last November that he wasn’t terribly impressed with the Blue Ribbon K-12 panel’s plan. He still contends that the state should fund better teacher pay with a progressive income tax rather than more regressive sales tax.
But now that the Governor has filed the three bills that would enact his $67.4-million plan (less new revenue than the Republicans poured into roads last year), Knobe says we need to stand up for the plan and stand against the conservative naysayers:
Last week, some House Republicans began searching for other money, alternatives, to improving the status of education by raising the state sales tax by half a penny. That’s code for, “we don’t want to do much, yet we don’t want to get blamed for doing nothing.” And, “Our Governor is betraying his conservative principles. We need to bring him back into our fold.”
In this case, our Governor is correct and he is still right. Spending money on education is not an expense. It is an investment. Most conservatives know that investing in infrastructure, ie education and teachers, has a great return. Smarter kids. Smarter graduates. Smarter employees [Rick Knobe, “Vultures And Hyenas Are Gathering In Pierre,” KSOO Radio, 2016.02.03].
Knobe isn’t forsaking conservatism (“None of us want to waste money”). But it’s investment time, and we’ve cheated on our investment in K-12 education for decades.