South Dakota lawmakers appear poised to pass at least one significant tax cut during the 2023 legislative session, but with negotiations ongoing, it is unclear which tax will be cut and who will benefit. Making that choice -- to cut the food tax, to cut the overall sales tax or to reduce property taxes -- will depend on political considerations and whether the state's revenue surplus is seen as temporary or more permanent.
A bill now under consideration by the state Legislature seeks to find the right balance in assessment of juvenile offenders to determine which should be sent back to school and which should be sent to jail. Developing a suitable assessment tool and process has proven challenging as school officials say they are handling too many delinquents but advocates for reform at the same time push for greater alternatives to juvenile incarcerations.
The ongoing teacher shortage in South Dakota public schools is worsening at a time when political pressure on educators is rising, the teaching profession has been devalued by some government officials, and Gov. Kristi Noem has proposed a reduction in new education funding for 2023-24 compared to 2022-23. Meanwhile, colleges and school districts are seeking their own solutions to encourage young people to enter the teaching profession.
As invasive zebra mussels have spread west across South Dakota, now infecting Pactola Reservoir in the Black Hills, a growing number of advocates and officials have criticized what they say is a slow and inadequate response by Gov. Kristi Noem and the Legislature to prevent further spread of the mussels that can damage waterways, infrastructure and fisheries.
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