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Amendment C Made Easy
UPDATED 5/24/22 By Representative Kevin Jensen

UPDATED NOTE 5/24/22 “I want to clarify my position - I Voted yes, and I encourage others to do the same as I think it should be more difficult for out-of-state groups, and corporations to raise your taxes.” - Rep Kevin Jensen on follow-up.

Everywhere I go while campaigning in District 16, the most frequently asked question is “What’s the deal on Amendment C?” The truth is, one side is doing a terrible marketing job and the other is just flat out deceiving you.

Let’s start with some facts. In order for the legislature to raise taxes and spend money, a two- thirds majority is required in the House and in the Senate and the Governor must sign it. That two thirds is of what we refer to as ‘members elect,’ which means two thirds of all the elected legislators, not just two thirds of those voting. If 5 people are absent it still takes two thirds of both houses, or of all 105 legislators, to pass it. If they are absent it is considered a 'No' vote.

There are currently 640,185 registered voters in South Dakota. According to the Secretary of State’s office there are 576,829 ‘active’ voters. I am not certain what they deem is an active voter, but these numbers do not include deceased individuals. So, to keep the math simple I will use the number 600,000 to represent ‘the voters.’

The ‘vote yes’ campaign keeps using the phrase – ‘60% of the voters.’ That is a little misleading because there are potentially 600,000 voters (using the example above). The truth, is that it currently only takes a simple majority of THOSE WHO VOTED to raise your taxes. If we have a 60% voter turnout, that means only 360,000 people voted. A simple majority is then 180,001. So in this scenario, it only takes 180,001 voters to raise your taxes, which represents less than one third of the total number of potential voters.



And now, the misleading ads. The ‘vote no’ campaign makes claims that it ends majority rule and it allows the minority to raise your taxes. Well folks, the TRUTH is, that is what we already have! In almost every possible scenario, a minority is all that is required to raise your taxes, even if Amendment C passes. In my previous example it CLEARLY shows that a minority of the voters can raise your taxes, and unless we get all 600,000+ to go to the polls it will likely always be that way.

Amendment C raises the requirement to raise your taxes from a simple majority of 50% of those voting to a majority of 60%. Using the previously used number of 360,000 people voting, it would raise the number required to increase taxes to 216,000. That clearly is still a minority of all the voters (600,000).

What neither side is telling in the ads is that none of Amendment C goes into effect unless the ballot measure or Constitutional amendment you are voting on commits the state to spending 10 million dollars or more. If it does not commit over 10 million in taxes or fees, the 50% simple majority is still the law.

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--Kevin Jensen Majority Whip District 16 SD House of Representatives

Post Date: 2022-05-23 14:01:28Last Update: 2022-05-24 12:13:04


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