We continue to unveil numbers from our exclusive KELO TV/Argus Leader scientific poll as we look at one of the ballot measures, Amendment L. It pertains to the state's cement plant and how much money the state gets from its trust fund. And judging by our numbers, voters aren't sure which way to lean.
The state sold the Rapid City plant in 2001 to a Mexican company for $238 million. At that time, the state passed an amendment that mandated a $12 million transfer annually from the cement plant trust fund to the general fund.
Amendment L would reduce that amount. Instead of $12 million, the state would only get 4 percent each year.
But it would also eliminate an earmark that says if the fund generates more than $12 million, leftover money goes to state education.
[Review poll results]
According to our KELO TV/Argus Leader poll, 27 percent would vote in favor of that. 38 percent say no, but 35 percent remain undecided.
A supporter of the amendment says the numbers show, voters are uninformed about Amendment L.
"I guess people haven't studied the issue and made enough contacts," State Senator, District 2 Paul Dennert of Aberdeen said.
Dennert, who sits on the appropriations committee, says the state can't keep taking $12 million in today's market.
"If the market doesn't turn around, my thought is that the fund could self destruct," Dennert said.
But opponents to Amendment L think a change to the constitution is uncalled for and could hurt education.
State Sen. Stan Adelstein of Rapid City is among the opponents of the measure who argues that the amendment would hurt education by reducing the amount of money in the general fund and eliminating direct payments to education entirely.
Our poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.
© 2010 KELOLAND TV. All Rights Reserved.