- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 12, 2016

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) - South Dakota’s Democratic legislative leaders are welcoming Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s proposal to put new revenue toward teacher pay, but they say more money is needed to address the problem.

Daugaard in his State of the State speech Tuesday asked lawmakers to pass a half-cent sales tax increase to improve South Dakota’s lowest-in-the-nation teacher pay so it’s competitive with neighboring states. It would raise more than $100 million, some of which would be put toward helping raise the state’s target average teacher salary to $48,500 per year.

House Minority Leader Spencer Hawley says the plan needs to be bolder. Democrats propose a 1-cent sales tax increase with a corresponding exemption on food. That would put about $130 million toward a target average teacher salary of $50,000.

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