SD House wants another ballot attempt to change cement plant payoutsPIERRE — The state House of Representatives decided Monday to ask South Dakota voters a second time whether they want to change how much money is taken annually from the state’s cement-plant trust fund.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — The state House of Representatives decided Monday to ask South Dakota voters a second time whether they want to change how much money is taken annually from the state’s cement-plant trust fund.
Voters rejected a proposed change to the state constitution in the 2010 election. Now legislators are trying to put a simpler version on the November ballot, so that four percent of the fund’s value would be taken, rather than the specific amount of $12 million.
The next move is up to the Senate, whether the proposed constitutional amendment goes to a statewide vote this fall.
House members voted 64-3 Monday in favor of offering the change to voters to decide.
The original $12 million amount was based on expectations a decade ago that investment earnings would exceed 5 percent annually. But huge fluctuations in the investment markets since then have diminished the trust fund’s value.
The new proposal would take 4 percent of the fund’s rolling four-year value. The prime sponsor of the plan is Rep. Paul Dennert, D-Columbia. He acknowledged Monday that only $9 million to $10 million might be transferred in the first year after the change.
Dennert said the fund, however, could grow gradually and would be producing $12 million annually, once it cracked the $300 million mark. The fund’s ending values have bounced between $195 million and $242.7 million during the past three fiscal years.
“I just think this is a logical thing to do,” Dennert said.
The 4 percent method is used for determining payouts from two other state trust funds for education and health care.
Also speaking in favor was Rep. Dan Dryden, R-Rapid City. “It would assure the fund will be here long into the future,” he said.