South Dakota voters approve balanced budget amendment - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

South Dakota voters approve balanced budget amendment, defeat sales tax increase


South Dakota voters decided the fate of seven constitutional amendments and initiatives while at the ballot box on election day.  Two amendments passed, while five others were defeated.

South Dakota's governor and legislature will be required to submit a balanced budget and pass one. Amendment P was passed by vote of 208,784 or 64 percent in favor and 114,989 or 36 percent against. Supporters like Governor Dennis Daugaard have said that it puts safeguards in place. Opponents claimed it would have weakened the state's constitution.

Amendment M, which would have given corporations more flexibility, was defeated. The yes vote 93,529 or 30 percent. Those voting no totalled 221,811 or 70 percent.

Amendment N was also defeated by a vote of 121,658 or 37 percent in favor and 209,419 or 63 percent against. If passed it would have repealed the reimbursement rate for state lawmakers that was set at five cents a mile in the state's constitution more than 100 years ago.

Voters approved Amendment O which changes how cement plant trust funds are distributed, requiring a set, yearly transfer into the state general fund for education. The vote was 57 percent in favor and 43 percent against.

The next three measures were all defeated. Initiated Measure 15, which would have increased the state sales tax by a penny taking it from four to five percent. The vote was 57-percent against the measure and 43 percent in favor. The money would have funded K-12 public education and Medicaid. Supporters had said it would help children and the most vulnerable. Opponents said it would force taxpayers to pay an additional $180 million a year in taxes.

Referred Law 14 was defeated. It would have established the "Large Project Development Fund" where contractor excise tax revenues would be used by the South Dakota Board of Economic Development as grant money for projects that are bigger than $5 million. 58 percent of voters were against the measure and 42 percent were in favor. Supporters said it would help bring in jobs and industry. Opponents said it costs too much and doesn't provide enough accountability.

And finally, Referred Law 16 was also defeated. Considered an education reform act, it would have established a scholarship program for college students who become teachers, create math and science teacher bonuses and merit bonuses, as well as eliminate teacher tenure. The vote total was 68 percent against and 32 percent in favor.

Supporters said it's a multi-million dollar commitment to teachers that would have improved student achievement. Opponents said it would result in standardized programs and shift control of a child's education from school boards to politicians in Pierre.

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