Apparently, Speaker of the House Mark Mickelson has been a busy man. In addition to his proposals on keeping ballot measures to be in-state affairs only, he’s also proposing a significant increase in what South Dakota’s would pay for taxes on tobacco products. From the Argus Leader:
South Dakota should hike taxes on cigarettes to help bring down tuition at the state’s technical institutes, Rep. Mark Mickelson said Monday.
The Sioux Falls Republican submitted two proposals this month to the Secretary of State’s Office that would increase the tax on tobacco from 35 percent on wholesale products to 45 or 55 percent and bump up the prices on cigarettes. Up to $20 million of the revenue could then be used to lower tech school tuition and provide scholarships.
Mickelson, who helped spearhead a 2016 effort to recognize tech schools as separate from K-12 schools and universities in the South Dakota Constitution, said the effort is essential to making the schools more competitive in the region.
Sin taxes are easy targets for legislators who want to raise money for projects, because they don’t affect everyone at large, but I question how many republican legislators will want to sign on to a tax increase in an election year… Much less cast a vote in favor of raising taxes without seeking funding possibilities from other sources.
There were a couple legislators whose support of raising taxes for teacher pay knocked them out, and more money for teachers had been sought for literally decades. Tech schools being on their own is a brand new development, and it is questionable if they have sufficiently made their case to the public yet.
Stay tuned on this one. The big issues for the 2018 session are already starting to form.