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Opt-out helps make up for lack of state help

The opt-out on property taxes has caused a lot of discussion in the letters section, most of it negative.

According to Raymond Ring, professor emeritus of economics at USD, the state has not provided enough money to local districts to keep up with inflation since about 2008. In fact, the state’s contribution has decreased over the last five years or so. Ring also states that school property tax as a percentage of personal income has decreased from 3 percent in 1977 to 1.5 percent today. A U.S. Census Bureau report in 2011 stated that over the last 10 years, S.D.’s per-student spending has been less than surrounding states and less than the national average. Federal tax rates have decreased for most of us since 2000, according to the CBO. It’s not as though we are taxed too much.

In April, the S.D. Regents approved a 5.8 percent tuition hike for students, which will mean increased costs of about $500 per student per year. The opt-out will cost middle-class taxpayers less than $200/year. The uproar over tuition hikes? Nada. Opt-out? Massive. Conclusion?

— Andrew Wilson, Rapid City

Schools an example of failed government

There was a card in the mail today from the people pushing the school opt-out property tax increase. Wow. Their mail piece tells all about how the Rapid City school system is failing miserably and has become worse in just the past two years - then the postcard asks me to give the same failed schools more tax money to maintain the status quo.

Just in case I'm not inclined to agree that pouring more tax money into a badly managed school system is a good idea, their postcard uses the following scare tactic: without the added money, children will become juvenile delinquents ... and that's really expensive. To top it off, their postcard makes the ridiculous claim that dumping even more money into a failing system will actually "save money and build stronger families". Mmmm ... tax-poor parents = stronger families, must be Common Core math.

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When the system runs amuck, stop enabling it. Only in government can you continue to fail and be rewarded. Who knew that the Post Office was the new education model? Stop the madness and vote no on the opt-out.

— Harold Samdal, Rapid City

Kooiker shows he really cares about city

As past chairman of the BID (Business Improvement District) board, I walked downtown many times with Mayor Sam Kooiker meeting business owners and shaking hands with many wonderful people. Mayor Kooiker cares deeply for Rapid City, its fine citizens, and the features that make Rapid City the greatest place to live in America.

 — Terry G. Nelson, Rapid City-Black Hawk

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