Initiated Measure 25 would increase tobacco tax to help tech schools

ABERDEEN, S.D. ( – While political races are heating up, a group backing Initiated Measure 25 is also getting the word out prior to the Nov. 4 election.

The measure is touting a tax on tobacco to help increase funding for technical schools in the state.

Mark Mickelson, Speaker of the House, is a main proponent of the measure.

One of the reasons he strongly supports the measure is the desire to bolster the workforce.

While he has nothing against four-year institutions, Mickelson said that tuition for technical schools is third highest in the nation.

The cost of attending a tech school in South Dakota is much higher than neighboring states, according to Dick Muth, chairman of Muth Electric, which employs hundreds of tech school graduates.

Some opponents argue that government shouldn’t intervene with people’s choice to use tobacco products.

David Benson, South Dakota Government Relations Director with the Cancer Action Network, says that everybody pays a price for tobacco use.