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Electrical Contractor Pushes Tobacco Tax to Pay for Technical Schools

The CEO of Muth Electric said that student tuition and fees have gotten out of hand.

Dick Muth, CEO of Muth Electric, an electrical contractor in Mitchell, S.D., is leading a drive for a South Dakota ballot measure to lower the cost of the state's technical schools through a tax increase on tobacco products.

Local newspaper The Daily Republic reported on Muth’s support for Initiated Measure 25, which would increase the state tobacco tax by $1 for 20-cigarette packs and $1.25 for 25-cigarette packs. Funds raised would go toward reduced tuition for technical institutes and workforce training. South Dakota has four technical institutes in Watertown, Sioux Falls, Rapid City and Mitchell.

Muth, 71, who graduated from Mitchell Technical Institute in 1970 and founded Muth Electric the same year, told the Daily Republic that state technical education funding has not kept pace with four-year public colleges and K-12 education. He said that student tuition and fees have gotten out of hand.

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