At today's crackerbarrel in Spearfish, I asked the District 31 legislators whether they would consider taking Governor Dennis Daugaard's $5-million subsidy for French cheesemaker Bel Brands out of House Bill 1060 and putting that money toward the need-based scholarship in SB 237 or other education proposals seeking to restore some of the $50-milion or so that Governor Daugaard cut from K-12 education in his first budget. Legislators Ewing, Romkema, and Johns demurred.
But known political troublemaker (a term I use with respect!) Jerry Apa came up to me after the show and asked how many jobs Bel Brands will create with its new factory in Brookings. I cited an article that said Bel Brands will hire 200 people to make its cheese and build its factory with an eye toward maybe expanding to hire another 200. That's $25K in state aid per job now, $12.5K if no other subsidies head Bel's way.
On the other hand, the state could spend $5 million to hire back 125 of the teachers its budget cuts eliminated in FY2012 to provide direct, constitutionally mandated services to our children. That's $40K per teacher bringing their earning power and professional skills back to communities. I welcome your estimates of how many more jobs and how much more earning power each of those teachers will generate as they provide more studednts with more attention, help, and opportunities.