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October 03, 2012 05:52 PM

Initiated Measure 15 Opponents Speak Out

Sioux Falls, SD

In just more than a month, South Dakota voters will have many important decisions to make, including the fate of Initiated Measure 15.  If approved, it would increase the state's sales tax from four to five percent and that money would go to K-12 education and Medicaid.

Tuesday, those in favor spoke out.  Wednesday, those who oppose the measure spoke publicly for the first time.

A group with the simple name "Defeat Initiated Measure 15" says it has a simple message to South Dakota voters.

"$180 million is far too much money to try and replace a $60 million shortfall," Mike Held said.

Mike Held represents the group. He laid out the reasons why people should vote 'no.'  In addition to the amount of money, he says it's not fair for education and Medicaid to benefit while other groups that also experienced cuts do not.

"The infrastructure needs, the higher education needs in this state, the state employee needs in this state is left standing in line while these two groups end up being first," Held said.

Just this week, those in favor of Initiated Measure 15 took their campaign to the next level by advertising on television.  The campaign group says they don't plan to do so and will remain a grass-roots effort.

Supporters say funding cuts have hurt education by limiting opportunities for students and creating larger class sizes.  Those against the measure say it bypasses South Dakota's legislature.

"Who is going to be next in line to get their directed, dedicated funds by a vote of the people?  If we go to that kind of method of government, we will have the challenges you see in states like California and otherwise," Held said.

But the final decision will be made by the people in November.

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