South Dakota Constitutional Amendment O: Cement Plant Trust Fund

Full text of the amendment is as follows:

Title: An Amendment to the South Dakota Constitution changing the method for distributions from the cement plant trust fund.

Explanation: In 2001, the $238 million in proceeds from the sale of the state cement plant were placed in a constitutionally created trust fund. Currently, the Constitution requires a yearly transfer of $12 million from the cement plant trust fund to the state general fund. In addition, under certain circumstances the Legislature must authorize distributions of cement plant trust fund earnings for the support of education.
Amendment O replaces the existing method for cement trust fund distributions. The amendment would require a yearly transfer of 4% of the market value of the cement plant trust fund to the state general fund for the support of education.

Yes” is for changing the method for distributions from the cement plant trust fund.
No” will leave the Constitution as it is.

It would seem that the point of this is to change the distribution to go into education rather than the general fund. I do not see why such a change is necessary (falls into the same area as the school suing the state for more education funding). I believe we are currently not do as much as we can with education funding as it now stands. Increasing the funding does not address underlying issues (lack of competition, etc) which cause state schools systems to provide generally poor investment returns.

If the current setup is not broken (as I do not believe it is) then what value in changing things around? Over time, one would imagine that the trust fund will be depleted and then this all goes away, but for the time being it would seem the current approach is satisfactory.

Constant Conservative recommends a “No” vote on Amendment O.