How did the Rhoden tax-levy bill wind up there?

Sen. Larry Rhoden’s legislation that would soften some of the governor’s recommended 10 percent cut in general-education aid to public school districts was sent to the House Appropriations Committee, where it is idling after a hearing Monday. The measure, SB 152, went through the Senate Education Committee for its first hearing. After further amendments by Rhoden, R-Union Center, on the Senate floor, senators voted 28-7 for its passage. One of the hang-ups right now for the Daugaard administration is the bill’s estimated $12 million impact on the state general fund. That undoubtedly is the reason that the measure was assigned to the House appropriators, who are holding it while they bring the full 2012 budget into alignment. The Rhoden bill is the only measure left in either of the appropriations committees, other than the general budget bill, HB 1251. The plus for Rhoden at this point is he has the only education-funding bill left that would reduce some of the governor’s proposed 10 percent cut. Dilges said the bill could be amended in ways that would eliminate the governor’s opposition. Whether those would be acceptable to Rhoden isn’t known yet, in part because he wasn’t sure what might be in mind.

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About Bob Mercer

I am a newspaper reporter in Pierre where I cover state government, issues and politics for the Aberdeen American News, the Black Hills Pioneer, the Mitchell Daily Republic, the Pierre Capital Journal, the Rapid City Journal, the Watertown Public Opinion and the Yankton Press & Dakotan. I began covering the Legislature in 1985 and have lived in Pierre since December 1986. I grew up in Wisconsin, worked my way through college, took my first full-time newspapers jobs in Wyoming, and have lived in South Dakota since the summer of 1984 when I moved to Aberdeen to join the American News. I worked for the Rapid City Journal as its state government reporter in Pierre from late 1992 through late 1998. I spent four years as press secretary and a senior aide to Gov. Bill Janklow during his fourth and final term from late 1998 through 2002. I returned to journalism in January 2003 as a self-employed reporter, providing state government coverage to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre and, depending on the year, Aberdeen newspapers. In 2008, the Aberdeen American News offered to hire me as full-time member of the AAN staff, with my reports continuing to be available to the Mitchell, Watertown, Spearfish, Pierre, Yankton and Rapid City papers. The new arrangement has been in effect since January 2009 as the seven papers continue their remarkable dedication to their readers and the general public, as the only South Dakota news outlets with a full-time reporter covering state government in Pierre throughout the year. In addition to focusing on the Legislature during the annual winter session and its various activities during the interim periods between sessions, I spend many days throughout the year -- traveling as often necessary -- to cover state government boards and commissions which oversee the state universities, technical institutes, outdoors, water, environment, business, public schools, banking, agriculture, utilities, health care and various other areas of public interest. I purposely don't register to vote because of my profession; the last time I recall voting in a presidential election was the first time, 1976, when I had just turned 18. I think I voted for Jimmy Carter over Gerald Ford. Make of that what you want, just don't make much of it.

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