From the Watertown Public Opinion, Speaker of the House Mark Mickelson was out on the road yesterday to promote his ballot measure increasing taxes on tobacco products to help fund tuition for Tech Schools:
Over a luncheon with Watertown school, business and community leaders, South Dakota House of Representatives Speaker Mark Mickelson, R-Sioux Falls, advocated for the tax increase that, if passed, would potentially raise $30 million annually, with $20 million going toward decreasing student tuition and fees at the state’s four technical institutes. The other $10 million would go into the state’s general fund.
Although Mickelson acknowledged there is little correlation between tobacco and technical institutes, he had a simple explanation as to why the potential ballot measure is looking at raising only the tobacco tax: It’s easier.
Polling conducted by Mickelson’s associates showed about 65 percent support for the tax.
“We only picked tobacco because the public will support it. It’s that simple,” Mickelson said. “We already know the public supports tech students. But it’s a lot harder to get people to reach into their pocket with their support. We think this is a place they will reach into their pockets to support it.”
I think my concern is that it seems that as a funding mechanism, it’s unreliable, especially since the increase in taxes may make the funding source even more unstable than it already is. That was one of the problems with proposals to put video lottery down as a source of education funding. Because what do you do when people stop using it?
What are your thoughts on all this?