South Dakota lawmakers split on inflationary pay raises for teachers, state employees, community service providers

PIERRE, S.D. (AP) – South Dakota lawmakers remain split on whether they can afford to fund inflationary pay increases for teachers, state employees and community service providers as the Legislature looks to finalize the state budget.

Republicans who control the Legislature are noncommittal on a 2% increase even as they say they want to see some sort of pay raise.

Democrats said their top priority this year is pushing GOP lawmakers for the 2%, which would be about $32 million.

Many school districts give pay raises to teachers regardless of the inflationary budget increases, but must carve out that money from other programs.