We're rich! So says Rep. Bernie Hunhoff as he gazes upward at the towering pile of money in South Dakota's state budget reserves:

South Dakotans, your state trust & reserve funds grew $21 million in the last month to a total of $1.065 billion. Reserves and trust funds have grown $98.9 million since last June 30. Some of my friends on the right side of the aisle don't like it when I suggest that we are "flush with cash" -- but these are the latest actual numbers and I just don't know how else to explain it? [Bernie Hunhoff, Facebook post, 2014.04.02]

Folks have asked me where South Dakota would ever get the money to meet my moonshot goal of raising teacher pay by $10,000 to raise us from 51st to 34th in the nation in compensating teachers. With 9,200 teachers in South Dakota, my proposal would cost $92,000,000. At the rate Rep. Hunhoff says we filled our reserve in March, we could fill the "End the Embarrassment!" teacher compensation fund in four and a half months without raising any taxes or cutting any programs.

Or let's be even less ambitious: suppose we just wanted to raise teacher pay to the average per capita personal income. In its April 3 update on the South Dakota economy, the Bureau of Finance and Management reports that per capita income in South Dakota in 2013 was $45,558, 21st in the nation and 2.3% higher than the national per capita income of $44,543.

South Dakota per capita income: 21st in the nation, 2.3% higher than the national average.

South Dakota teacher pay: 51st in the nation, 29.8% lower than the national average.

Ending that embarrassing fiscal disconnect would require only two and a half Marches of reserve fund diversion. State reserves would still grow by tens of millions of dollars. The only people who would pay more taxes would be those 9,200 teachers, who would buy more stuff (sales tax), hire contractors (excise tax) to improve their homes (property tax), and convert that money gathering dust in Pierre into real economic stimulus in every school community in the state.

Joe Lowe, Sue Wismer, Lora Hubbel, you're listening, right?