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Gosch Plan Peanuts for Teacher Pay, Political Suicide for Candidates

House Majority Leader Brian Gosch (R-32/Rapid City) is at war with Rep. Lee Schoenbeck (R-5/Watertown) over raising teacher pay. Rep. Schoenbeck has thrown in with the Governor and the Blue Ribbon plan to fund teacher pay by raising sales tax; Rep. Gosch maintains that we can boost teacher pay from existing revenues.

Unlike Rep. Lance Russell (R-30/Hot Springs) and the Democratic caucus, Rep. Gosch hasn’t taken the time to write out his plan in the form of a bill. He’s given some details to the press, the most important of which appear to be the following:

  1. Instead of adding $67 million in new money to K-12 funding right now and every ongoing year, Rep. Gosch seems to think adding a third of that amount is plenty. Both plans leave South Dakota last in the region for teacher pay, but while the Governor’s plan raises teacher pay $8,000 to get us to 37th in the nation and within a couple hundred dollars of North Dakota, the Gosch plan moves us from 51st to 50th to leave us a risible $6,000 behind North Dakota.
  2. Rep. Gosch relies on cuts to social services. At Saturday’s Aberdeen crackerbarrel, Apsire executive director Jennifer Gray asked why legislators would consider an alternative plan that would boost K-12 by cutting Medicaid providers like her. Senator Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) and Senator David Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) said that’s just “scare tactics” and “gamesmanship,” that the alternative plan only cuts money that’s been budgeted but not spent, but if the 2016 budget appropriates X and the 2017 budget appropriates X minus $20 million, that’s a cut, and that will be called a cut in every campaign speech and flyer issued by challengers. Grasping the electoral impact of such an unpalatable trade, Rep. Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) says “No” and “Hell no!” to cutting Aspire to fund K-12 pay raises.

This is a lot of huff and puff over a plan that still isn’t written down as a formal, debatable proposal. Rep. Gosch and friends have had three months since the release of the Blue Ribbon panel’s report. They submitted no bill outlining the Gosch plan. They offered no amendment in Thursday’s debate on House Bill 1182, the Governor’s half-cent sales tax funding mechanism for the Blue Ribbon plan. They were talking about the plan in desperate defense of their nays on HB 1182 this weekend, but KSOO’s Rick Knobe says that after asking legislators to send him details, he hasn’t received any such details. Gee—if a prominent member of the media were asking me for my legislative plan in the run-up to another debate, I’d be getting right back to him with my plan text to impress him with my awesome idea as well as my openness. So stiffed by his legislators, Knobe concludes the Gosch caucus has no viable plan:

Two conclusions can be reached:

  1. They don’t have a plan.
  2. The plan they have won’t get the job done and they know it. They want to kill the Gov’s plan first and then “come to the rescue” with their cheap plan, which won’t do enough to make the difference most of us know is needed.

For the record, I have no problem with conservative thinking.

I do have a problem with Tea Party Legislators, who see a problem, acknowledge its validity and yet don’t offer viable solutions in a timely fashion for comparison.

That’s not being conservative, that’s being wrong [Rick Knobe, “No Plan from Tea Party Republicans on Education,” KSOO Radio, 2016.02.21].

Gosch’s plan isn’t a solution; it’s a thinly veiled defense of a failing status quo. Rep. Scott Craig (R-33/Rapid City) says that’s not so… but he hears the voter heat and is switching his vote to yea for this afternoon’s reconsideration of HB 1182, the most important bill in the Legislative hopper. Rep. Gosch, Rep. Greenfield, and the rest of the Republican resistors, join Rep. Craig in dropping your ill-formed, half-hearted (no, third-hearted!), and political unviable alternative and solve the problem of uncompetitive teacher pay… now.

30 Comments

  1. Rorschach 2016-02-22

    Rep. Craig put himself on the hot seat because of his flakiness. He told everybody he was going to vote for the Governor’s plan. They thought they had the votes, then he switched without telling anyone. No wonder the Governor insisted that he publicly announce his vote switch to make it impossible for him to back out again. When you say one thing and do another it makes you look foolish – as Rep. Craig has found out.

  2. Jenny 2016-02-22

    Cory, what time is 1182 this afternoon? Let the whole state of SD know so we can listen and watch it live! We need to hold them accountable! Pass the damn bill!

  3. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-22

    House starts at 2 p.m. Central; HB 1182 is #4 out of seven bills on agenda, but House can change that order (and did so when they first took up HB 1182 two weeks ago).

  4. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-22

    Ror, can we document the Governor’s insistence that Rep. Craig announce his switch publicly? Isn’t it simpler to conclude that Pastor Craig wanted to spend the weekend getting happy phone calls?

  5. Curt 2016-02-22

    Gosch’s suggestion (it’s certainly not a ‘plan’) includes diverting excess FMAP funds (about $15M this year, he says) from the Social Services budget and requiring the school districts to dip into reserves for anything beyond that. There are problems on many levels with that, among them the fact that the ONLY school district operating in Mr Gosch’s legislative district (RC Area Schools) has no excess reserves to use for salaries – or for any other purpose. He also ignores the element of the Governor’s plan that caps reserves and directs additional funds toward teacher salaries.
    Gosch is serving in his 9th session and has risen to the position of ‘Majority Leader’ not by accident. He likely has something up his sleeve. Why he still refuses to reveal it is anyone’s guess.

  6. Steve Sibson 2016-02-22

    “Isn’t it simpler to conclude that Pastor Craig wanted to spend the weekend getting happy phone calls?”

    Versus getting bullied?

  7. Steve Sibson 2016-02-22

    Curt, it is easier to buy politicians/lobbyists off with money than it is to tell them they have to give up those increases for the sake of increased teacher pay. Taxpayers are not paying attention anyway, and won’t remember they denied sales tax increases in 2012.

  8. Daryl Root 2016-02-22

    Tax increases equal legalized stealing. It’s just plain wrong to make people, who often make far less than teachers, to pay even more to a bunch of greedy educators who only claim it’s about the students when it’s really only about their paycheck. If one has a taxpayer funded job and they make more than the average taxpayer, they need to shut up and be grateful for what most people DON’T have. Our spending per pupil isn’t last in the country, so why is teacher pay. Obviously, the dollars aren’t getting spent correctly. If this is so important, how about across the board cuts in all other spending. Government needs to do what families have to do, prioritize.

  9. Curt 2016-02-22

    Sorry, Sibby – I’m having trouble following you. Who – according to you – is trying to buy off whom, and for what purpose?

  10. larry kurtz 2016-02-22

    following sibby is a wild goose chase.

  11. Steve Sibson 2016-02-22

    Curt, the establishment (both parties) are buying off crony capitalists (the so-called progressive replacement of free markets). And education has simply become a function of providing workers for the crony capitalists, bureaucrats for the governmental regulators/controllers, and consumers for those who can’t and/or won’t do the first two.

  12. larry kurtz 2016-02-22

    The only free market is the black one, Sibby. Pick a lane, little dood.

  13. Curt 2016-02-22

    You’re right, Larry.

  14. Steve Sibson 2016-02-22

    Yes, Larry is right. Free markets were destroyed by the progressives prior to the Great Depression. Actually the black market is also regulated and not free. Ever hear of the CIA?

  15. larry kurtz 2016-02-22

    the wild goose chase has just become a snipe hunt.

  16. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-22

    Does Mitchell water infect blog commenters with an uncontrollable desire to turn every blog post into a discussion of their irrelevant hobbyhorses? Tara, Lynn, Sibby… why must you turn every discussion into a recitation of shibboleths that turn off every new reader from participating in the discussion?

  17. larry kurtz 2016-02-22

    Chemicals in the James River watershed poisoning Mitchell’s water supply? Say it ain’t so.

  18. Cully 2016-02-22

    The Jim River has District 2 upstream of Mitchell…

  19. Jeff Endrizzi 2016-02-22

    Cory, I struggle with any new bill that increases taxes/fees/whatever anyone calls them. However, I agree the funds are needed to increase educator pay (including Tech Institutes). The issue is real (last in the country in pay), and the naysayers have not brought a different plan for debate. If this bill doesn’t pass, we may just see some educators leave the State, because they will have been abandoned.

  20. larry kurtz 2016-02-22

    At least one legislator wants to exempt food from a sales tax increase: are candy bars, sugary drinks, high fructose barbecue sauce and the stuff served at restaurants not in that category?

  21. Madman 2016-02-22

    I felt abandoned ten years ago and left teaching. Many of my fellow teachers whether good or bad have moved on from teaching. This isn’t a new fight and this isn’t going to end this session either. The state is investing in businesses to move into South Dakota to provide low paying, low skill level kinds of jobs instead of investing in the youth and giving them the opportunity to learn from the best teacher’s available. To have a chance to experience programs that build skills both in the school and outside of the school through several other youth programs.

  22. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-22

    Ever notice that when Sibson talks about crony capitalist or liberal republicans he never gives names or incidents of their greed?

  23. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-22

    Jeff, I’m glad you’re with us on this one. I’m seeing a big surge in public outcry on this issue compared to previous years. The attention to this issues suggests your sentiments are part of a larger critical mass of popular will to finally act on teacher pay. The House’s action today may indicate that the smarter people in the room recognize that critical mass and are voting to serve the popular will and keep their seats.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-22

    Larry, Senate Bill 151 includes that zero percent tax on food as part of the Dems alternative K-12 funding plan. It defines food as follows. “Food” in the SB 151 definition excludes hooch, pop, candy, vending machine chow, and prepared food. The Republicans on Senate State Affairs killed SB 151 today.

    Senate Bill 161, also from the Dems, is the straight-up food tax repeal, with revenue loss offset by raising sales tax on everything else to 4.35%, that Dems have tried in previous years. It defines food the same way.

  25. grudznick 2016-02-22

    Elizabeth May should stop selling convenience store sandwiches to kids who can’t pay tax and make them buy a loaf of bread and slab of salami. Maybe give them for free some of those little miracle whip packets. They could eat for weeks. If she really cared, I mean.

  26. Steve Sibson 2016-02-22

    “naysayers have not brought a different plan for debate”

    That is false. There are many options. But you people are believing the crony capitalists’ decptions. They are using teachers as political pawns in order to tax the poor and give tax breaks to the rich. And Cory is supporting that too.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-22

    Daryl, taxation is not theft. Taxation is the price we pay for civilization. Corruption is theft. SD Republicans whip you into a froth shouting such silly slogans while they pick your pocket with EB-5, GEAR UP, and other crony deals.

    I don’t like higher taxes, but I recognize when we have to pay them to maintain our civilization. When I do pay those taxes, I expect every penny to go to public goods, like competitive wages to fairly compensate teachers for the work they do. I want that money going to teachers, not Mike Rounds’s old pals.

  28. grudznick 2016-02-22

    Are teachers the only public servants who deserve your taxes, Mr. H? I, for one, say the janitors and plumbers in our schools and courthouses are vastly underpaid. They deserve your respect too, and they work all year without even having to jump up and down screaming “look at us damnit, we work all year!”

    Teachers start to tread on light branches when they claim they are the only ones deserving. I’m just sayin…look out for 1.2.3.4 coming back in a hard way and nobody will beat it back after giving the teachers raises.

  29. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-23

    Teachers are not the only public servants who deserve our taxes. Janitors, cops, snowplow drivers, groundskeepers, public defenders, and so on all deserve our respect.

    However, are we suffering a critical shortage in those areas that threatens the foundation of a basic public institution?

    I urge all underpaid workers to jump up and down and demand fair wages. After thirty years, it may finally be working for teachers (many of whom are too busy grading essays, doing the Common Core busywork thrust upon them by educrats, and working their second jobs and too cowed by other political pressures to make much noise about their lot in life).

  30. Baby Moon 2016-02-23

    Sounds to me like Gosch is not doing his job (which, I assume, is legislating). Why not? Can’t draft a bill? Doesn’t feel like he has to draft a bill? Doesn’t think he really has to have a plan (that is, legislation)? Just tell people “no” and you as the all powerful and mighty legislative Gawd gets his wishes? What is going on here? His constituents just vote him in and then absolve themselves of all responsibility for his irresponsibility? Thanks, Gosch constitutents, for letting other South Dakotans take it up the tailpipe. SD legislature is is a pathetic joke full of sweaty Old Spicers who cannot solve problems. Frankly, Republicans and their insatiably greedy philosophy and agenda are wrecking our society.

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