South Dakota Teacher Pay Bill Rises from the Ashes with House Approval
PIERRE, S.D. - The proposed half-cent sales tax hike that would help fund Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard's plan to raise teacher pay has survived a difficult political test.
House lawmakers voted 47-21 Monday to approve the bill, meeting the two-thirds requirement to pass through the House. It now heads to the Senate.
The proposal last week fell just one vote short of the two-thirds margin.
But supporters successfully pushed to have the bill reconsidered, and several lawmakers switched their votes on the proposal Monday.
Rep. Scott Craig (R) of Rapid City and Rep. Joshua Klumb (R) of Mount Vernon switched and voted yes.
Rep. Dennis Feickert (D) of Aberdeen switched and voted no.
Rep. Mike Verchio (R) of Hill City was excused from the vote. He previously voted no.
Advocates for the tax increase say the state needs a sustainable funding source to boost teacher pay. Opponents argue that education could be prioritized in existing tax dollars.
Most of the proposed tax increase would go toward teacher salaries, but a large chunk would go to property tax relief.
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