Should South Dakota increase taxes on tobacco to raise money for technical schools?
That’s a question voters will answer in next month’s election.
Initiated Measure 25 would increase the tax on a pack of 20 cigarettes from about $1.53 to $2.53. The tax on wholesale tobacco products would also go up from 35 to 55 percent.
The measure says that some of that money would go to technical institutes.
“It’s mostly just to address workforce. We have high tuition for our two year technical schools, and the only way to solve that is to find an additional source of revenue,” Rep. Mark Mickelson said.
Mickelson proposed the initiative. He says technical schools can help address some of the workforce problems the state is facing.
However, people opposing the measure say it leaves many educational opportunities out.
“When it comes to preschoolers, K-12 school or the four year universities,” Steve Westra said.
Westra is the chairperson of Vote No on IM-25.
“We have a pattern in the state of South Dakota of taking these funds away from their intended sources and diverting them right into the general fund. There are no guarantees that this money will ever find its way to the technical schools,” Westra said.
“I would just offer this legislative research fiscal note that says, ‘Yes. $20 million goes to the technical schools,'” Mickelson said.
Millions of dollars that voters could decide how to spend.
To prepare you for the election, KELOLAND News has set up a page with voting information and details on the other five issues, along with the candidates, on South Dakota’s November ballot.
You’ll also want to be sure to join us for Inside KELOLAND – Ballot Issues Explained.
On Sunday October 28 KELOLAND News is going through the ballot and looking at both sides of every issue.
It will air at 10:30 p.m.