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Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Question 4: SD Wages Low, Housing Unaffordable

Eve Fisher says we live in a great state, but housing kills folks budgets; how do we bring more high-paying jobs instead of the "endless influx" of minimum wage service/factory jobs?

Patricia Stricherz:
  • Legislature has been working on it by bringing in higher ed, masters programs, Homestake mine
Jerry Johnson:
  • involved in problem at local level, it's not easy!
  • good opportunities move overseas, close down branch facilities
  • no easy answer
  • must provide education opportunities: only 21% of our HS grads go on to university
  • need to encourage opportunities in secondary ed
Gerry Lange:
  • Finland makes college education free to kids who can get it done, views education as an investment that's worth paying for
  • There is no free lunch; we have to pay for what we want in education and everything else
  • Teacher salaries a disgrace; Republican majority won't listen on efforts to raise those salaries, are content to be last in the nation

Russell Olson:
  • In Legislature, we've invested $8.7M in research centers across the state
  • DSU is getting a new research grant
  • $54M economic impact in return!
  • Must invest in education
  • USD's Ralph Brown questions whether SD is 50th in everything; adjust for cost of living and taxes, and we're 10th in the nation
Scott Parsley:
  • Real money for teachers: we're still 50th in the nation.
  • Real issue is creating new wealth
  • We can do that with energy. Energy can be one of our greatest catalysts for new wealth.
  • University research is great investment, but we need to invest also in inviting energy-related business to come here, just like Iowa and Minnesota do (you've seen the windmills there: "we have better wind, but they have better incentives")
  • SD has a bad image elsewhere: folks ask Scott why SD isn't willing to invest in education, and that perception hurts us. Businesses think about that.
Mitch Fargen:
  • huge proponent of R&D and higher education
  • Homestake very good
  • higher ed means higher paying jobs
  • graduate programs are important; increase 'em
  • K-12: "it all begins down there"

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