Senate Passes HB 1182 Unamended; Sales Tax for Teacher Pay Goes to Governor for Signature

The South Dakota Senate voted 25–10 this afternoon to pass House Bill 1182, Governor Dennis Daugaard’s proposal to raise our state sales tax from 4% to 4.5% to fund competitive teacher pay. The bill passed without amendment, so it goes to the Governor for his signature.

HB 1182 is projected to raise $107 million in new revenue. Under the Schoenbeck House Amendment, 63% of that revenue will go toward raising K-12 teacher pay, 34% will go toward property tax relief (acknowledged in floor debate as a carrot to draw support from commercial property owners), and 3% will go toward increased pay for vo-tech teachers. In conjunction with Senate Bill 131, HB 1182 is expected to raise the average teacher pay in South Dakota from last in the nation, $40,023, to 37th in the nation, $48,500.

According to what I heard on the SDPB audio feed, the roll call sounded like it went as follows:

Senator Vote HB 1182
Bradford aye
Brown aye
Buhl O’Donnell aye
Cammack aye
Curd aye
Ewing aye
Fiegen aye
Frerichs aye
Greenfield nay
Haggar nay
Haverly aye
Heineman nay
Heinert aye
Holien nay
Hunhoff aye
Jensen nay
Monroe nay
Novstrup nay
Olson nay
Omdahl nay
Otten aye
Parsley aye
Peters aye
Peterson aye
Rampelberg aye
Rusch aye
Shorma aye
Soholt aye
Solano aye
Sutton aye
Tidemann aye
Tieszen aye
Van Gerpen nay
Vehle aye
White aye
aye 25
nay 10

In more good news, House Appropriations passed Senate Bill 131 on a 9–0 vote this morning. House Appropriations also amended SB 131 to change the target student-teacher ratio for South Dakota’s smallest schools from 12.5 to 12.0. That change will increase the amount of funding allocated to schools with enrollments under 600.

31 Responses to Senate Passes HB 1182 Unamended; Sales Tax for Teacher Pay Goes to Governor for Signature

  1. Sorry to post this here at this point, but OMG
    GOP Senator: Even If Trump Meant It On The KKK, He’s Still A Better Choice Than A Democrat
    Yes, he actually said that.

  2. The governor needs to unceremoniously veto Heineman’s private school giveaway bill and endorse her primary opponent. Who knows, maybe he recruited her primary opponent.

  3. (Just wait, Oldhag, I’ll get to that. But we’re talking history here.)

  4. Mr. H, were you there to glare down at the senators from the front balcony?

  5. mike from iowa

    No place for comments on most recent post,Master,again. :)

  6. mike from iowa

    This state should now be known as the state of CAHeidelberger Perserverance and Persistence.

  7. owen reitzel

    What a great day for education and our kids and grand-kids. It’s about time.
    My wife is a long time teacher and SDEA member and I know she’s happy as can be.
    I’m sure that my dad, a longtime teacher, is rolling in his grave. He’s smiling down in disbelief I’m sure. Dad fought hard for teachers-even getting into a nasty letter writing campaign with Janklow. It’s sad that he didn’t live long enough to see this.

    One of his best students was a young man name Cory Heidelberger and I’m sure he’s as proud as can be. Now win that senate race Cory!

  8. Mike Kokenge

    Cory, have been a loyal follower of your blog for several years now. As a general rule I am in lockstep agreement on nearly all of your issues you blog about. But this one? I am not convinced. A Regressive tax, regardless of who it helps, is still just that. A regressive tax. Sioux Falls claims to be, at least according to ourhighly esteemed mayor, the economic engine that drives all things in our state. Even at that, half the kids in the SF school district qualify for free or reduced lunches. More and more parents are falling from the ranks of the middle class to the working poor. There is a reason why the message of Bernie Sanders resonates with so many younger struggling parents. Sorry, but to me, a regressive tax is not the answer.

  9. Darin Larson

    Mr. Kokenge- Give a poor kid a fish and he eats well for a day. Give a poor kid a good education and he will eat well for the rest of his life.

    The $20 that the average poor kids family would pay in extra taxes a year is not enough to truly have an effect on the child’s life. Give a kid $20 and it could provide 5 happy meals a year. Give a kid a good teacher and a good school and they can lift themselves and future generations from poverty. A good education and a great teacher can change a child’s life profoundly. That was what was at stake with 1182.

  10. owen reitzel

    Well said Darin.
    I agree Mr Kokenge that the sales tax is regressive. I think most people here think so as well.
    But this is a start. A lot educators have been fighting for this for decades and as my earlier post stated many are no longer here to this day.
    The Democrats tried to minimize this by increasing the sales tax 1% and take the tax off of food. But obviously didn’t pass.

  11. Grudz, alas, no. I attended yesterday and missed the really good stuff today. I’ll make up for my absence next year and report from (and to!) the Senate every day of Session.

  12. Owen, winning that race now becomes essential. I must go to Pierre to ensure that we do not slide back from the gains made in this Session and resolve the flaws in this plan, like the regressive tax.

  13. Mike, I agree, a regressive tax is not the answer. Neither is taking no action this year to attack the teacher shortage. Much as I wanted a different plan, every sign pointed to the idea that the 2/3 votes would not coalesce around any plan other than the Governor’s. Your vision, Mike, and mine, and Lanny’s and every fair-minded policymaker’s says do a progressive tax. But all of us together don’t outweigh the 70 votes in the House and the 35 votes in the Senate, among whom we cannot beg, borrow, or steal 47 and 24 votes for my sixer surtax or any other tax plan.

    Mike, do you think any other plan could have passed this year? And Mike, if no other plan was possible, would you vote for no action and another year of last-in-the-nation teacher pay over 37th-in-the-nation teacher pay and a 12.5% increase in our statewide regressive sales tax?

  14. Roger Cornelius

    If these republicans are true to their heart with their concern of the poor being hurt by this tax, they could actually do something like relieve healthcare burdens and pass Medicaid Expansion tomorrow.
    C’mon you republicans, show South Dakota how big your heart is.

  15. John Kennedy Claussen

    As Democrats in South Dakota, we use to be the Party of George McGovern and the Party in favor of a progressive tax system for South Dakotans.

    Overtime, however, we have become a political party that has sent some to Washington to support measures like Kemp-Roth, bankruptcy reform without credit card reform, the Iraq War, the Bush tax credits and to oppose Obamacare (in one instance). Even going so far as to try to run past Republicans as Democrats, and chiding one Democrat that they are not Democratic enough in Washington even though those who alleged such charges were the ones who supported the aforementioned Republican legislative victories of supply-side economics and unjust wars; and now apparently we send Democrats to Pierre to support regressive tax systems.

    In recent years some within the South Dakota Democratic Party have told us “To Take it back,” but today we gave it back. Back to the wealth class in South Dakota as the South Dakota Democratic Party did not do enough to offer a just alternative to the Republican plan in Pierre to enhance teacher pay for South Dakota teachers, rather they became the water boy to the Republican Party and its agenda to protect some at the expense of the many and they gave the wealth class greater confidence in holding on to their regressive tax system and the state’s dependency upon it.

    Yes, teachers do deserve more pay, but South Dakotans also deserve a two party system. When Democrats capitulate to Republicans in South Dakota on education or any major issue, they fail their duty as a major party and in this case they failed the poor and the working poor in our duty to protect their economic interests, in turn.

    Some will claim the poor and working poor are better off now because of higher teacher pay opportunities in the state from this measure – a trickle-down theory which will uplift the lower classes do to a better educational experience spurned from the positive attributes of more, better, and longer tenured teachers through higher teacher pay. It is actually a trickle-down theory I subscribe too, but the ends no not always justify the means when the mean used was not the only route nor the most just route. This year in Pierre, the Republicans could have never solved this crisis without the help of the Democratic Party, but instead of taking the GOP to the ropes on this matter Democrats chose to be the water boy for the GOP and the wealth class and decided to give instead of taking it back…..


  16. Darin Larson

    JKC, will all due respect, you are living in fantasy land. The choice this year was 1182 or the crumbs that Bryan Gosch could pull out of the seat cushions in the capital. The choice was not comprehensive tax reform or 1182. The choice was too little too late or 1182.

    Your strategy would have resulted in a bad deal for education that would have kicked the can down the road and we would have continued to run education funding into the ditch. What would the budget increase for education look like next year after we strip everything bare this year?

    The Republicans are also in the midst of a fight for their party’s soul. Your strategy would have let the tea party drive the bus into the ditch. Instead, Democrats helped to run the bus over the tea party dark-agers.

    Your strategy would have emboldened the tea party types and made the moderates shrink away in defeat. Instead, the tea party is licking their wounds or lashing out like a wounded animal in primary races.

    Worse than all of this, teachers would have felt abandoned by the Democrats and the deterioration of education in this state would have accelerated. Try explaining to educators and voters that you didn’t vote for a 20% pay increase because you wanted to overhaul our tax system first. Good luck with that.

    Democrats hold the high ground on the issue of education funding in South Dakota and we have not abandoned the high ground on the issue of regressive taxation. We will fight the latter battle another day. Sometimes in war you concentrate your forces for attack in one area where you know your enemies defenses are weak. Your strategy is akin to a Banzai charge– honorable suicide.

  17. larry kurtz

    Could someone direct me to the legislation that increases spending for the law enforcement industry?

  18. John Kennedy Claussen

    Darin, I have never called for “comprehensive tax reform” in this session. What I have called for is the need to find the funds for increased teacher pay within the given budget. Unlike a 2/3s vote needed to raise taxes, adjustments to the budget would have only required a 51% majority. If you have 2/3s of the legislature made of Democrats and moderate Republicans who are willing to raise taxes then certainly you can find the 51% to find the funds within the budget.

    The totality of your argument against my position assumes that I am advocating tax reform over teacher pay at this point, but I am not. I am advocating a more just plan for increased teacher pay which only needs a 51% majority and the “Tea Party” would still be in the minority with my strategy and advocacy; because many within the “Tea Party” would still be in the minority do to their utter distain for increasing teacher pay, which ought to be just find for the rest of us to further expose the “dark-agers” quality of that wing of the GOP.

    There would be no “kicked the can down the road” reality with my strategy because the problem would have been solved. It would have only taken a 51% vote.

    Frankly, if you worry about empowering the “Tea Party” with my strategy, the reality of a tax increase actually increases their political arsenal instead of deteriorating it.

    You then reiterate in your comment the claim that I want to overhaul our tax system in 2016. I never said that, I must say it again do not put words in my mouth or comments, but let us not make our tax system any worse either. Teacher pay and tax reform are realistically two mutually exclusive goals for Democrats in terms of timing but not mechanics. When one position dictates the outcome of the other by making our state even more dependent upon a regressive tax system we then we make it impossible to be a champion of both in contemporaneous terms.

    Yes, our fellow Democrats in Pierre have taken “the high ground on the issue of education funding in South Dakota,” but they have realistically abandoned tax reform in doing it in the relative future, however.

    In conclusion, my position is not a “Banzai charge,” nor am I Seal. Because you do have too be a Seal to get 51%, but you might have to be one to get a 2/3s majority; and the greater dependency upon our regressive tax system in this state with the help of HB 1182 is the true “Banzai charge- honorable suicide” if you are sincere about having the ability to affect true tax reform in this state in the near future while at the same time making us more dependent upon our current regressive tax system with a tax on the poor to increase teacher pay, however.

  19. There’s no place for you in Pierre, John. They couldn’t debate you.

    They’d bury you. Or someone would.

    Stace is coming back. Maybe a tag team?

    I wrote my above sarcasm last night and let it simmer, John.

    Run, not only would I support you with effort but I will open my checkbook!

  20. John Kennedy Claussen

    Thank you Les, regardless of whether I ever run or not it is still imperative, that as a Party, the Democratic Party needs to have a more consistent and realistic message both nationally and in this state. Nationally, we need to find an equilibrium between the thinking of the “New Democrats” and the Socialists, and in here in South Dakota we just need to be more consistent. How can we be the political party of increased minimum wage for our workers, Medicaid for our workers, and end to unreasonable fees and interest costs on payday lending if we can also have a flippant attitude about our regressive tax system in this state?

    The trickle-down theory that increased teacher pay helps the students from poor and working poor families to have a brighter future is a trickle-down theory I buy, but it should not be funded in a way that is primarily complicit to the interests of those who often advocate other trick-down theories as well to protect the interests of the wealth class at the expense of the poor and the working poor. We must be a Party of more than one interest group, not just for teachers nor just for the poor and the working poor, but the totality and the logic of our political philosophy as a political party must be of a sound calculus and our current policy positions as a Party do not add up.

  21. Les, I’ll bring Stace around and get him to join my caucus.

    (Just imagine that for a moment: Stace Nelson and me, both in the Senate.)

    John KC, I acknowledge that HB 1182 is a sign of how far down the SDDP has been beaten, how powerless we are to advocate positions truest to our values to obtain our policy goals. The obvious solution here is progressive tax reform to capture more wealth to cover higher teacher pay. The obvious progressive tax is some form of income tax. Everybody says it’s suicide to advocate that, so we can’t advocate a viable alternative to HB 1182.

    The TEA Party caucus was just as powerless. They couldn’t muster a coherent written plan. Gosch never advanced an amendment. Novstrup stammered out his amendment, but he couldn’t establish that the numbers added up. Thus, the TEA Partiers couldn’t muster the votes.

    Dems and TEA Partiers together would have added up to 18 in the Senate and 35 in the House. We’d have to have pulled 6 more Senators and 12 more Reps to make an alternative plan work. But forging that three-way coalition was harder than forging the two-way coalition of Daugaard-Schoenbeck Republicans and the Democratic caucus.

    None of that makes HB 1182 great policy. We’ve simply solved one problem—one big, pressing problem that had to be solved—by making another ongoing problem, our regressive tax system, significantly worse. I look forward to measuring the relative gains and losses from this policy choice.

  22. John Kennedy Claussen

    Well, it is obvious we could debate this forever, apparently ;-). But all we would have needed would have been 18 in the Senate and 36 (one off) to get the necessary 51% majorities for budget changes, right?

    I think tax reform, although an admiral goal, is long term in this state, unfortunately, but preventing a greater dependency upon a regressive tax system is realistic. But instead of seizing upon that opportunity, we have made the capability to achieve tax reform less attainable because we have now increased the size of the state budget.

    On a side note, I do feel the new pressures from e-commerce trade will severely challenge our current sales tax system in ways which will make that reality itself the unintended catalyst of any true tax reform in the near future, however. And what will happen, when that happens? Well, education will be told it has its 1/2 cent when times are hard and they will be told to just live with it. The current education plan under HB 1182 forces education interests into its own universe, where they could be left to hang politically and financially in the future thanks to e-commerce.

    If the answer to this dilemma I allege is to find more funds from the budget in the future with or without true tax reform, then why is that reality not realistic now? Unless you are going to assume there will be even more pro-education legislators in the future; and absence true success in ending gerrymandering in this state how can you truly guarantee more pro-education legislators in the future?

  23. Mike Kokenge

    “Give a poor kid a fish and he eats well for a day. Give a poor kid a good education and he will eat well for the rest of his life.”
    ~Darin Larson

    That all sounds really great….on paper. I agree to some degree. Better high school teachers can make better high school graduates. But, what poor kid can afford an $80,000 for profit college education? Not many. Very, very few in fact. The few college grads we do get that come from the ranks of the poor have one thing in common. They get the hell out of SD, and head for greener pastures out of state. So what does a poor kid in SD get with a really great high school education thanks to a really great high school teacher? Jobs very similar to this one. An occupation group listed as Office and Administrative Support. There are 65,750 such jobs in this state. 32,900 of these workers earn less than $13.50 an hour. 16,450 of this work group earn less than $11.00 an hour. Entry level pay in this job grouping is $9.30 an hour. We’re talking about kids who very well could have been 3.5 gpa students in high school, but coming from the poor and not being able to handle an $80,000 college education, enter the work force as high school grads. Bottom line? Poor families suffer again and again with a system geared to put the burden on who? The poor.

  24. Darin Larson

    JKC, in the words of Cuba Gooding Jr., SHOW ME THE MONEY!

    We can find it in the budget you say. Unless your theory is that most of the Republicans in the House and Senate, and those on appropriations in particular, love to increase taxes for no reason in particular, I have to conclude that the money isn’t there. Whose ox were you going to gore? You sound dangerously close to Phyllis Heineman who said its a $1.5 billion budget so we can find it somewhere, anywhere, Bueller, Bueller, anyone, anyone?

  25. Darin Larson

    They had their chance to find the money lying around when they cut education by 10% in FY 2011 and in the ensuing years. It’s not there. Don’t be a dupe for the dark-agers.

  26. Right on, Mike.

    Start by rethreading the needle in our ed system. Belle Fourche has for example turned out electricians in senior graduating classes. Some of the most successful business folks in our country did it with 5th grade educations and many of our high school seniors cannot count change.

    The teachers should be the ones innovating our system instead of waiting for the world to change around them.

    I’d grease the skids on education any way possible if I could see we were getting another mile per gallon out of the system getting the grease.

  27. Darin Larson

    Les, people like you kill me. We have been getting a great return on our education budget thanks to our teachers. That has been the problem. The legislature did not believe there was a problem with the level of education funding because our test scores were still solid. I had this exact conversation with an influential legislator a couple years ago when I was arguing for more funding.

    Now, low and behold our test scores have fallen and we are last in the region in the latest National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) Results for 2015. So, should we invest more in education funding? No, by your logic now we shouldn’t invest anymore funding because scores are low and we should not reward a poor job.

    There you have it folks: darned if you do a good job on little money or darned if you don’t do a good job on little money. Welcome to education funding South Dakota style!

  28. So the 50% +/- you prep for college over a 12 year run with few exit skills that fall into the 9-13/hour jobs Mike was speaking of don’t have something to do with scores?

    Why are you not railing for a new deal for those kids?

    It isn’t people like me who kill you, Mike. I’m not sure who they are. Most likely kids you tried to push through a square hole in 12 years of not acknowledging they might have been round hole individuals. Probably isn’t your fault, you were doing what the job required or more.

    I am more than willing to stoke the ed fund with all the money you could burn if the % that leave high school for the job market have some marketable skills.

    BTW, Darin, I think it is our law enforcement you are speaking of folks killing. A raise for them? Most are under teacher salary in SD.

  29. John KC, while there is no easy path to tax reform, I disagree that the teacher-pay plan makes tax reform harder. Quite the contrary: this year’s debate is getting Republicans to offer the same critique Democrats do about the regressivity of the sales tax. They may just be faking it to suit their TEA impulses, but the words are there, on the record, and we can work to hold them to those words.

    The increased budget needs are not an absolute barrier to tax reform. If the teacher-pay plan works, school districts will fight to keep it, and pressure to cut taxes will be better countered by pressure to at least make taxes fairer.

  30. Mike, Les, I regret that I don’t have a better argument for you, but from the start, the Blue Ribbon panel said this plan is not about getting better test scores or improving graduation rates or raising student career earning potential or any boosting any other K-12 student performance metric. Recall the Soholt Assumptions: “We are assuming that teacher training is good. We are assuming that teachers are doing a good job. We are assuming that kids are getting out of the system in good shape.”

    This plan is about making sure we keep what we have. Our dwindling teacher corps has been holding the line; these pay raises make sure we can stop our losses.

    This plan isn’t about getting better mileage. It’s about finally changing the oil and tuning the engine that we’ve driven hard without proper maintenance so it doesn’t quit running altogether.

  31. No problem with that, Cory.

    Don’t forget, it’s been 36 years plus since we started computerizing our cars. Kids are falling through the cracks in our system at rates beyond alarming and guys like Darin who offer up some good arguments don’t touch that part of it.