…and Other Number Crunching!
Senate Bill 141, the update of South Dakota child support laws delayed last month by misguided anti-child-support activists, comes before Senate Judiciary tomorrow (Tuesday) morning at 8 a.m. Expect supporters to present some basic math on how SB 141 works.
I’ve run the numbers and discovered the following facts about how SB 141 affects the child support table:
- Two separated parents making net monthly income of $1,050 or less (that’s $12,600 or less a year) see their child support obligation drop. SB 141 decreases the child support obligation for the poorest parents of two or more children by over 70%.
- Since July 2009, when South Dakota last updated the child support formula, the Consumer Price Index has increased 10.73%
- SB 141 imposes a 10.73% increase on child support obligation on no parents making less than $22,151 a month ($265,812 per year).
- There are two exceptions to that statement, one based on two inverted digits in the current table, one based on two inverted digits in SB 141, which I have pointed out to Senator Rusch in hopes of a correcting amendment in committee tomorrow.
- The average increase across all income brackets under $20K ranges from 2.72% for parents of six children to 3.31% for parents of one child.
- The current table caps child support obligations beyond the $20K bracket. that means parents with monthly net of $21K, $25K, $50K, and so on have the same child support dollar obligation as parents making $20K. SB 141 raises the cap bracket to $30K.
- Parents making more than $20K thus see larger increases than parents making less. The average increase in monthly child support obligation for parents netting $20,001–$30,000 a month ranges from 22.29% among parents of five children to 23.01% for parents of three children.
- If we average figures for parents netting $2,000 or less a month ($24,000 or less a year), SB 141 lowers the share of net monthly income obliged to chld support.
- For parents of one child in that income range, the share drops from 24.34% of monthly net to 23.41%.
- For parents of three children in that income range, the share drops from 38.57% to 34.80%.
- Almost no parents jointly making less than $3,200 a month ($38,400 a year) see SB 141 increase their child support obligation as a share of their net income by more than half a percentage point.
As made clear in the Child Support Commission’s December 2016 report, SB 141’s changes are based on objective economic analysis. As shown by the numbers above, the new formula spares many parents the full cost-of-living adjustment that a straight reading of the Consumer Price Index would justify.