An Opinion Editorial From Pierre
On July 18th, Governor Noem announced that South Dakota finished
fiscal year 2022 with a surplus of $115.5 million, while claiming that
â€œSouth Dakota operates conservatively.â€
With $422.6 million of state reserves and the last four years of surplus
being spent on pet projects, this is just simply over taxation of South
Dakota citizens, itâ€™s not being conservative or frugal.
Even with this excess, we must ask why many in the 2022 legislature
refused to pass a food tax repeal, a sales tax reduction or even a gas tax
holiday bill? By killing any proposed tax breaks like,
Senate Bill 117
a bill to "revise the gross receipts tax on certain food," we missed the opportunity to save South Dakotans between $82 and $103 million dollars, when they needed it most.
HB 1327C is another prime example
that would have reduced all
sales tax by a half-cent, which is actually required by state law SDCL 10-64-9. Current law, as written in SDCL 10-64-9
states "the additional net revenue from such obligation shall be used to reduce the rate of certain taxes
Passing HB 1327C would have satisfied current state law, and saved the taxpayers $147
million dollars. Even if we had only reduced the sales tax by just a quarter-cent, we could have still saved taxpayers $74
million dollars, while still
leaving a surplus of $41 million dollars at the end of
fiscal year 2022.
In addition, a gas tax holiday was proposed for the three months of tourist season,
that would have given a break on gas taxes of $54 million dollars, lowering the price at the pump for South Dakotans. Again, that bill
never made it off the House floor.
Even worse, Governor Noem stated on July 22, 2022
â€œWhile this surplus may lead individuals to call for a reduction in our stateâ€™s tax structure. I offer a word of caution. We must be prepared to weather any
economic storm that may come our way.â€
Even if that were true, just last year, Governor Noemâ€™s legislative allies killed HB 1255
. HB 1255 was brought forward, and authored by committee members on Appropriations as a â€˜rainy dayâ€™ fund. Even though the state was being flooded with federal money at that time, this was an attempt at responsible, and long-term economic storm preparation for the state, that would have simultaneously provided South Dakotans the same luxury.
Instead of preparation, that proposed $200 million dollars in HB 1255 was
spent as one-time monies instead of being saved. The reason given, according to
the Assistant Majority Leader, â€œwe canâ€™t give future legislators more
money than they need.â€ Which roughly translates to, "we can't give South Dakotans back, more money than they need," as evidenced by hoarding $422.6 million dollars of your money, rather than settling for the ample sum of $200 million.
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Even if South Dakota's economy is better than the rest of the
country, we still have the lowest wages nationally, while also dealing
with inflation and supply-chain issues, like everyone else. That is what I
would call an "economic storm."
The state needs to tighten its belt on spending and learn to live within
its means. Especially when those who pay the bills are already
strapped tight, with soaring housing prices and the Biden
administrationâ€™s disastrous economic policies. South Dakotans know
how to tighten their belt, and we have, but now itâ€™s time that the bureaucrats in
Pierre do the same.
It's time to stop over taxing the citizens of South Dakota! For this reason, I stand firmly with The South Dakota Freedom Caucus in urging our colleagues to provide fiscally-responsible tax relief to the people of South Dakota. Be it federal or state taxes, this money belongs to the people, and it's time to give it back!
Rep. Tina L. Mulally
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--Rep. Tina L. Mulally
|Post Date: 2022-08-08 08:22:19||Last Update: 2022-08-06 11:11:32|