I have only been on Rick Knobe’s Viewpoint University a couple of times. Did he catch something from me? In his latest column for KSOO, Knobe says we must end our “pathetic and embarrassing status” of paying teachers the least in the nation. As a fiscal solution, Knobe dismisses more sales tax as bad for the working masses and says we need to talk about a state income tax:
The Governor’s Blue Ribbon Task Force on teacher pay and teacher shortage, needs to discuss, not cuss, the pragmatic and wise decision of adopting a corporate/business income tax.
…For the record, I am NOT anti-business, and I don’t think profit is a dirty word. I understand the need for business to earn enough to pay bills, update facilities and technologies, hire and train workers, expand when needed, and pay the owners and/or stockholders a reasonable return on the risk of their investment.
A business income tax does not have to be punitive or confiscatory. It can be written to yield enough to answer the need for more investment in education and not cause a flight of future investment to other states.
…It’s time for us to quit accepting good enough. We need to invest in EXCELLENCE. That starts in the classroom. Our students and their teachers deserve the best [Rick Knobe, “Solution to Teacher Pay, Shortage Issue: The ‘I’ Word,” KSOO Radio, 2015.09.21].
Somewhat more lefty Michael Larson notes that Rick Knobe may not proposing political suicide for the members of the Blue Ribbon K-12 panel. Larson reviews the Harstad Poll—scientific, but poorly proofed and funded by SDEA, schools, and Dems, and coming from a Boulder, Colorado, group that usually works for Dems—which tells the Blue Ribboneers that South Dakotans support certain income taxes more than they support more sales tax:
An option that received the most positive response was increasing state taxes on corporations [headquartered] in other states at 70 percent followed by taxing the income on people making over $500,000 a year at 59 percent, increasing the summer sales tax by one penny at 56 percent, the corporate profits tax… at 53 percent, and lastly [a] state tax on car rentals, hotels and motels at 51 percent [Harstad Research Associates, “South Dakota Statewide Survey,” June 2015].
Knobe lives up to Larson’s call for all of us to be bold in proposing real solutions for our teacher-pay crisis. But it’s funny how “bold” in South Dakota simply means saying out loud that South Dakotans are ready to shed traditional assumptions and use an income tax to make vital investments in K-12 education.
p.s.: Whatever the funding source, the Harstad Poll shows that since 2012, the percentage of South Dakotans agreeing that our K-12 schools need more funding has risen from 62% to 73%. Wow—how big a majority do we need to get the Legislature to act?
Additionally, the percentage who say South Dakota teacher pay falls short has risen from 63% to 79%. The percentage who say South Dakota pays teachers too much rounds to zero.
Just for Grudznik: asked to rate the performance of teachers as excellent, good, fair, or poor, South Dakotans approve of teachers’ work 77% to 17%. They split on K-12 administrators, 44% to 47%. They nuke legislators on school funding, 19% to 77%.
And for those of you wondering if the sample might have oversampled folks with kids in school, consider that 65% of the respondents said they do not live with children age 18 or under. (1% said they don’t know—which… what… how do you not know if you have kids in the house?!)