Laws & Measures On SD Ballot
November 05, 2012 9:56 PM
The General Election is in reaching distance and on the South Dakota ballot, there are two referred laws and one initiated measure.
Referred Law 16 and Initiated Measure 15 both deal with education, where as Referred Law 14 is focused on adding money to benefit large economic development projects within the state.
Referred Law 14 would establish the large project development fund, meaning 22 percent of contractor's excise tax revenues will move from the state general fund to the “Large Project Development Fund."
From there, the South Dakota Board of Economic Development would use the additional monies to provide grants for construction of large projects within the state, exceeding $5 Million, such as laboratories and facilities for testing, agricultural processing and wind energy companies.
Supporters said this law would provide high paying jobs leading to community growth, where those against it said there’s no criterion for distribution of funds and that taxpayers won't know where the money goes.
Onto Initiated Measure 15, if passed, there will be increases to the state general sales and use tax rate from four to five percent, where the additional tax revenue will be split evenly between K-12 public education and Medicaid.
Both groups would receive $90 Million, totaling $180 Million.
Supporters said the measure is a solution to South Dakota's revenue problem, but opponents said there are other needs in the state that could use additional funding.
Then there's Referred Law 16, which outlines an education reform act.
There are five components to this reform, establishing a scholarship program for eligible college students committing to teach in the state's critical need subject areas, creating state-funded annual bonuses for eligible math and science teachers, developing a "Top Teachers" bonus program, awarded by local school boards, using a uniform statewide system for evaluating teachers and principals and eliminating state requirements for continuing contracts for teachers who don't achieve tenure by July 1st, 2016.
Those in favor feel it will aid education, but those against, including a number of teachers feel it will encourage teachers to stop helping each other in the classroom.
With many important items on the ballot, the polls on will determine what happens with these laws and measures come Tuesday night.
Early voters have until three p.m. on Tuesday to cast their ballot and the polls will be open until seven p.m. Tuesday night.