The Legislature won’t give teachers any more money, but it won’t take any more money from retailers. The House yesterday shot down House Appropriations chief David Anderson’s effort to turn carcass Senate Bill 106 into a last-minute tax hike on retailers. Rep. Anderson proposed reducing the credit retailers get for collecting sales tax. Senate State Affairs was willing to send that idea to the floor for debate, perhaps not as an endorsement of this tax hike, but at least, as Rep. Anderson suggested, as a vehicle for other revenue enhancements and budget-balancers.
The full House was having none of that. SB 106 went down 26–41. That’s one less vote against taking money from retailers than the votes on SB 35 (just minutes before the SB 106 vote) that erase the Schoenbeck Amendment that guarantees a certain amount of sales tax goes to raising teacher pay.
So let’s be clear: the South Dakota Legislature remains committed to ensuring that retailers get 1.5% or $70 a month, whichever is less, of all the sales tax they collect for the state, but they are abandoning the far more substantive and publicly beneficial commitment that K-12 teachers receive 64% of the new half-cent sales tax.