But I can recognize bogus arguments made against Initiated Measure 15. Two of the biggest fibs about Initiated Measure 15 are the following:
- IM15 is the biggest tax increase in state history.
- IM15 dumps much more money into education and Medicaid than has been cut.
The second claim above is also untrue, at least in terms of K-12 funding. Jon Walker provides the following numbers on our state per-student allocation for K-12 education:
per-student state aid
PSA if increased by 3%
I added the fourth column to show what would have happened to the state per-student allocation if we had followed the funding formula in 2011, 2012, and 2013 and increased education funding by 3%. We'd be at $5,251 per student. That would be $760 more than we are spending this year per student.
According to this year's sales tax revenue and K-12 enrollment, Initiated Measure 15 would increase state spending on K-12 education by about $720.
In other words, Initiated Measure 15 restores 95% of the funding that schools should have received if Pierre had not reneged on the K-12 funding formula for three years in row. Under IM15, compared to where they would have been under the the fiscal policies preceding 2011, our K-12 system will still be running short $40 per student, or a touch more than $5 million statewide.
IM15 is a big tax increase, but it is not the biggest in South Dakota history. And it does not put back into education more than has been cut. It actually falls just short of filling the gap our legislators have dug in the last three budgets.