Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The Democrats Can Be Real Leaders In Education Pay Reform

The SD Democrats are saying that they are willing to put forth their own proposal in trying to get SD in line with the rest of the region when it comes to teacher pay.  At least that is what the Argus Leader of today is telling me.
South Dakota Democratic lawmakers pointed out holes in the Blue Ribbon Task Force's recommendations Tuesday and said they aimed to put forth a plan of their own to counter them. 
State Rep. Paula Hawks, D-Hartford, and Sen. Billie Sutton, D-Burke, at a press conference in Sioux Falls said they saw shortcomings in the governor-appointed task force's suggestions for updating the state’s 20-year-old funding formula and increasing teacher salaries. 
"The biggest items were left undecided or incomplete," Hawks said.  
From the article I wonder if they are missing out on one of those key items: Going beyond sales tax to pay for the needed income.  As I have mentioned earlier, the Blue Ribbon Panel seemed to have ignored the idea of paying for the education funding increase.  We need to not put this just on sales tax, but instead include all those that benefit from education in this state (sales, income, corporate tax).  When we spread it out to include everyone, then there is more vested interest in the situation and less pain for any one group.  You can set up the income tax for those earning more than $350,000 for single or $700,000 for married at 3% (just random numbers), a corporate tax of 3% for corporations making more than $500,000 (more random numbers), sales tax of .5% increase with an exemption on food and cloths sales (like Minnesota).

Mr. Sutton is correct when he says the Blue Ribbon Panel failed its job.  (From the above Argus Leader article)
“The plan that we are currently looking at is just a layout and that was not our call," Sutton said. "If we’re just going to paint with a broad brush, I don’t think we did our job." 
Hawks and Sutton said they planned to draft their own plan along with Sen. Troy Heinert, D-Mission, on how the state should fund its teachers' salaries. They said it would provide more specific directives and they hoped others legislators, along with Gov. Dennis Daugaard, would support it.
The Democrats can not, I repeat, can not pick a funding mechanism based on what the Governor wants, but should develop one that comes across as fair and balanced for all citizens of the state and then let the GOP stand up against a common sense approach.