Initiated Measure 15 On SD Ballot
by Ashley Kringen, Reporter
October 22, 2012 9:47 PM
If you haven't already registered to vote in the November election, depending on where you live, it may be too late.
Monday was the final day to register to vote in South Dakota for the general election.
The Minnehaha County auditor's office was swamped all day with people rushing to finalize their voting status, either registering to vote or voting early by casting their absentee ballots.
One of the items on the ballot in South Dakota is “Initiated Measure 15,” which if passed, would include a major sales tax increase in the state.
The additional revenue would be split even between two select groups, K-12 Public Education and Medicaid.
Members of the Sioux Falls School District said voting yes to this measure is crucial to the state.
President of the Sioux Falls Education Association, Deb Merxbauer, said South Dakota schools have been under-funded for a long time and are in need of financial help.
"It will provide a steady dependable revenue that will allow districts to reinvest in programs and services for our students," said Deb Merxbauer.
If South Dakota residents vote yes for Initiated Measure 15, the state sales tax would increase from four percent to five percent on everything we buy.
Todd Thoelke, a Sioux Falls School District board member, said Measure 15, is all about local control.
Meaning, the individual school districts decide where the additional revenue goes.
"Our needs are different from Rapid City's and Aberdeen and Watertown. So, it needs to be up to the locals to know here's what we need, here's what needs to be funded instead of putting it in a pool and letting the state decide," said Thoelke.
There are those who disagree with the measure such as the organized group called "No on 15,” they said there are other needs in the state that could use additional funding, such as infrastructure needs, higher education and state employee needs.
Regardless, both sides of Measure 15 are battling for your vote and both group agree, people need to head to the polls to give this measure a fair outcome.
"It's your right and it's precious and it's something you shouldn't take for granted," said Thoelke.
"Go to the polls, study on the issues, study on the candidates," said Merxbauer.
If this measure is passed, the $180 Million and the receiving groups are locked in, neither the Governor, nor the Legislature, will be able to make changes.
The general election is November sixth, however early voting is taking place now and ballots can be cast at your county auditors office.