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March 2, 2016

Senate Approves Teacher Pay Bill

The Senate voted to approve HB 1182, which will raise the state sales tax from 4% to 4.5% as part of a plan to increase teacher pay, reports the Rapid City Journal.

Any bill that proposes raising taxes needs a 2/3 majority to pass, and just as in the House, the Senate vote ended with a 2/3 majority plus one. The bill goes to the Governor for approval now, and if he signs it, the new tax will take effect June 1st.

The bill is the result of recommendations made by the Blue Ribbon Task Force assembled by the Governor to address being last in the nation for teacher pay, and upcoming teacher shortages. Several teachers in the state echoed the Task Force's recommendations, explaining that fewer and fewer people are going into teaching, and that it is difficult for South Dakota to compete with nearby states for the best teachers when our pay is so low. Dave Davis, a Rapid City School Board member as well as a member of the task force, says this bill is not a "cure-all" but is "certainly a step in the right direction."

For more information on teacher pay and the 2016 Legislative session, please visit our news archives.

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