J-Ellis wrote a great column today about how the healthcare industry in SD is pushing to promote a sales tax increase that will pump up to $85 million into their coffers;
Well, the U.S. House advertising won’t win any awards. But on the horizon comes the long-awaited campaign from the people who hope you’re going to vote to raise your own taxes. According to documents collected by Argus Leader reporters and reporter David Montgomery’s account, the people running Moving South Dakota Forward are preparing to spend more than $250,000 in October on television ads.
We won’t know until the campaign reports donations, but it’s a safe bet that the effort will be bankrolled by the major nonprofit hospital systems in South Dakota. And by major nonprofit hospital systems, you can count those on one hand, even if that hand happened to lose a couple digits in a blender accident.
The two hospital goliaths in Sioux Falls spent a good chunk of change to help win voter approval of a new events center last November. One of them, and this is no place to name names, subsequently has spent more money to secure the partial naming rights for said facility. That same nonprofit hospital system is building a fancy sports complex of its own, thanks in part to a generous tax subsidy.
So let’s assume the hospitals are the major contributors to the IM 15 campaign. It won’t be lost on a lot of voters that the hospitals stand to make a lot of money if IM 15 passes. After all, they see a lot of Medicaid patients, and injecting $85 million a year into Medicaid certainly would mean higher reimbursement rates for the professionals and organizations that provide those services.
Few campaigns are perfect. IM 15 asks the state’s voters to sacrifice more of their money in the name of children, the poor and the elderly. That will be a tough sell.
But the sales job will only be tougher if voters think that by opening their wallets, they are only contributing more to the coffers of the nonprofit hospital systems.
Remember just a few years ago the same organizations pumped thousands of dollars into newspaper advertising to help kill Medical Marijuana Measure 13 which was polling well until the ads came out, crushing M13. Of course the healthcare industry had a lot to lose if M13 passed. They want you to use and buy their expensive narcotic painkillers instead of a natural, less expensive, more effective drug like marijuana. They will use the same tactics this time around to suck more money out of us. And they will probably use the tired old argument that if we don’t increase sales taxes there will be an income tax. Hogwash. As long as Republicans run Pierre (which will probably be for the next 1,000 years) there will be NO income tax in SD. Remember also, if this tax increase is approved by voters, this will just give the state the go ahead to spend the other 4 pennies on whatever they want, like refunds and bailouts to companies and corporations that want to locate here. Tune out there message as much as possible and vote NO on M15, unless of course you like subsidizing Sports Complexes and Entertainment facilities.