South Dakota Rep. Scott Craig on Education Tax Vote Switch

South Dakota Rep. Scott Craig

South Dakota Rep. Scott Craig

At the Rapid City Legislative Crackerbarrel meeting today, South Dakota Rep. Scott Craig was one of the featured speakers (video below).

Craig used his time primarily to address his change of heart on HB 1182, the education tax increase.  The bill was voted down earlier this week, and Craig was one of the “no” votes. However, a vote to reconsider the bill was cast yesterday (to reconsider the bill on Monday), and the reconsider vote passed. Craig sent out a press release last night stating that he was going to change his “no” vote to a “yes” for the vote on Monday.

Craig said that like everyone who voted “yes” to 1182, even the “no” votes are committed to education. However, they were holding out to find a way to provide a teacher pay increase without raising taxes.

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Craig said that after the vote that day, he saw something he didn’t expect.  He said “a bomb went off, and we couldn’t stop the bleeding.” He said his “my emails lit up.” and he heard “lengthy, thoughtful stories from teachers” about what they go through. Craig said he heard from people throughout the community who felt we needed to have the tax increase. He said he believed the “no” vote caused a lot of grief, and that he believes he needs to do something to encourage the teachers.

Craig said he would like to put any and all bills for raising teacher pay side by side so legislators can choose the best one.

He also said that even if the governor’s plan (HB 1182) passes the House, it will probably be tweaked in the Senate.

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Craig said the legislature really does support teachers, but is struggling to find the best way to do that.

The video below features Craig’s statement in full.

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Bob Ellis has been the owner of media company Dakota Voice, LLC since 2005. He is a 10-year U.S. Air Force veteran, a political reporter and commentator for the past decade, and has been involved in numerous election and public policy campaigns for over 20 years. He was a founding member and board member of the Tea Party groups Citizens for Liberty and the South Dakota Tea Party Alliance. He lives in Rapid City, South Dakota with his wife and two children.
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  • Dawn Johnson Pence

    He’s only changing his vote because his wife is a teacher, i suspect. Sickening. So much for being a conservative. Teachers make far more money than most SD’tans, yet they work far less hours. I’m a former teacher and i think they are paid plenty for what they do for the amount of hours and days they put in every year. So what if we are last? Our cost of living is also one of the lowest in the country and we have no state income tax. When i was teaching, i knew of a teacher who thought they could make more money moving to MN to teach. Within a year, they were back because when they figured in the higher cost of living and the much higher taxes, they ended up making less in the long run.

    • Bob Ellis

      Good points. Pay is lower in SD for most vocations, but then, so are taxes (at least for now) and cost of living in general. I’ve lived in several states, and know many people in other states, and usually the “extra” money they make gets eaten up by those things…and then some.

      The last time I looked at statistics, our test results were somewhere in the middle of the country (which roughly means “average”), even though we spend far less on education. Likewise, places like D.C. lead in spending yet have some of the poorest results.

      In other words, more money does not necessarily mean better results. There is a lot of crap that can and should be cut out of the “education” budget, and that could go to increase teacher salaries.

      Of course, the thing that could boost our academic performance more than anything, is exactly the thing no one wants to talk about, and even fewer people want to do: have more parental involvement in educating and motivating our children. But it’s easier to drop them off at a government education facility and press on with our busy lives for most of the day, pretending someone else is responsible for our children’s education or lack thereof.