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Thursday, March 11, 2010

SD House Withholds $4.5 Million from Kids, Hands $38 Million to Foreign Oil

As the South Dakota Legislature moves toward negating the annual funding increase promised to K-12 schools by state law, consider this:
  1. In voting for the hoghoused Senate Bill 22, the State House would save 1.2%.
  2. According to the governor's budget book, total state aid this year is $375 million.
  3. 1.2% of that figure is $4.5 million.*
  4. At the same time, the House hoghoused Senate Bill 195 to make sure that TransCanada still gets big tax refund on its Keystone pipeline. One source tells me that refund is worth $38 million.
Apparently, the State House can't come up with $4.5 million to fulfill its legal promise to our school districts. But the State House can come up with $38 million to give a tax break to a foreign corporation.

The conference committee that will attempt to reconcile Senate Bill 22 is an even split for and against the zero increase: Senator Garnos and Reps. Faehn and Noem (ayes) and Senators Knudson and Nesselhuf and Rep. Lucas (nays). Worth noting: Knudson has been trying to make pipelines ineligible for tax refunds.

By the way, local Senator Russell Olson voted yesterday for the zero increase.

*Update 08:13 CST: The new GOP list of budget amendments includes two amendments (mh and mi) to restore the 1.2% increase. By their figures, those increases could mean $10.9M to $18.5M more for K-12 education.

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