South Dakotans support a sales tax increase, say it ain’t so!

South Dakota Voters Show Support for Initiated Measure 15

Last week, Nielson Brothers Polling (NBP) released findings from their 2012 South Dakota Labor Day Survey, showing Republicans widening their lead in major statewide races. In the same poll, NBP asked South Dakota likely voters about their views on Initiated Measure 15 (a proposal to add a penny to the state sales tax), their economic situation, and the direction of South Dakota.

NBP finds that 43.7 percent of South Dakota likely voters plan to vote for Inititated Measure 15, while 31.7 percent plan to vote against it, and 24.6 percent are undecided. Republicans are evenly split on the measure (37.8 percent “for” and 37.9 percent “against”), but Democrats support it by a 2 to 1 ratio (50.3 percent “for” and 25.5 percent “against”). Similarly, Independents support it 49.2 to 28.2 percent. Approximately a quarter of each political party remains undecided. Voters who associate themselves with the Tea Party are most likely to oppose the measure (46.6 percent “against”), and those who consider themselves Liberals are most likely to support it (64.5 percent “for”).



#1 rufusx on 09.24.12 at 9:40 pm

SD is already the 3rd most regressively taxed state in the country. Adding this extra penny will make us #1 (greatest percent of tax burden born by lowest 20% income people.)

The legislature will likely try to weasel out of the education funding mandate and use this as an escuse.

Bad bill – and BTW – I’m a “liberal”.

#2 Detroit Lewis on 09.24.12 at 10:00 pm

Ruf – I will say this. I am all for providing healthcare and better education for South Dakotans, but this is an incredible guise. There is nothing stopping the legislature from changing what this ‘penny’ is being spent on. But that is the least of our worries. Why is the healthcare industry so strongly behind this? Hmmm. On top of that, why are we giving millions in tax cuts to companies in our state while cutting education spending and charging a tax on food? This is a corporate driven measure that is hoodwinking Dems into believing it is about healthcare and education. Just for once, I would like to see both party members actually educate themselves on issues. Even if you don’t and you are dumber then mud, why would you vote FOR a tax increase? That is just plain insanity.

#3 judy judy on 09.24.12 at 11:10 pm

Voters want to provide more money for education and to care for the elderly in our nursing homes but using the most regressive tax to find the money is simply wrong. They say it is only a penny but in fact it amounts to a 17% increase in the sales tax. Teachers should be ashamed of themselves for backing this proposal.

#4 Testor15 on 09.25.12 at 7:54 am

I will be voting against this measure as should all South Dakotans. Have we ever seen anything out of this current legislature where they actually do something for us, the average citizen? There is something in the works to fleece us out of more while giving less to us. Ask why there is always money for the Governor’s Club member’s pet projects or investment houses but nothing else.

Why do we give more money to the state to only have them spend it on means and methods to take away our rights?

#5 Tom H. on 09.25.12 at 9:19 am

If this increase were implemented in conjunction with the elimination of the sales tax on groceries and clothing, I would support it. I imagine that would come close to making it revenue-neutral, though, so probably no new funds for education or healthcare.

#6 scott on 09.25.12 at 9:36 am

Great, a sales tax increase to help the likes of Sanford spend more money on buildings an less on actual health care.

#7 Craig on 09.25.12 at 9:57 am

This is a stupid idea that people haven’t thought through. Sure they can earmark that extra penny for education and healthcare , but there is NOTHING preventing them from simply diverting the funds already going to education and healthcare to other areas.

It all comes out of the same pot – if you mandate that all the money from this penny goes into that pot, they will reach in and take some out elsewhere. How naive are these people? Plus, as l3wis pointed out, there is nothing saying the legislature can’t change the rules down the road and use this extra penny for gold plated urinals at the state capitol.

#8 l3wis on 09.25.12 at 8:47 pm

Craig – and that is the tidbit of information that needs to get out there. The legislature can tinker with this.

#9 MJL on 09.25.12 at 10:09 pm

A vote against IM 15 is a vote in support of Daugaard and the Republicans that want to choke the life out of Public Schools. I understand the problem of a regressive nature of the sales tax, but does anyone actually think that the Republican party is going to willingly find more money for education? The governor has already laid out the reasoning he is going to give for increasing education by 1 percent or less. Remember that the next budget will be developed in a non-election year, so he the his supporters in Pierre can gut education for one more year.–medicaid/article_9eaaab21-bcec-50a1-8922-609004e9a61e.html
“There’s a lot of accountability built into Initiated Measure 15,” said Wiese, campaign manager for Moving South Dakota Forward, the coalition supporting the measure. “I think it’s a good long-term solution.”
Initiated Measure 15 calls for a one-cent sales tax with proceeds split evenly between K-12 education and South Dakota Medicaid providers. Moving South Dakota Forward estimates the tax would raise $175 million annually.
The Medicaid portion of the tax would be distributed to providers and used to cover “related state expenses,” according to the South Dakota attorney general. Medicaid is the state/federal program that covers medical costs for low-income children and adults, as well as room and board for a large portion of nursing home residents in the state.
The school portion would be distributed based on enrollment numbers and used at the discretion of individual school boards to improve educational outcomes. Rapid City Area Schools would receive about $4 million from the tax, Superintendent Tim Mitchell estimates.
Unlike other taxes, money from Initiated Measure 15 would never go into the state’s general fund, Wiese said. It would be deposited directly into special funds established for the two entities.
That should give voters comfort that the money will be used only for education and Medicaid, he said.
Gov. Dennis Daugaard does not support the one-cent sales tax measure, according to Tony Venhuizen, director of policy and communications for the governor’s office.
“He believes that the way to raise revenue is by encouraging economic growth, not by raising taxes,” Venhuizen said.
Mitchell said that while he agrees with the governor’s philosophy of supporting economic growth, he argues that one of the indicators for economic growth in a community is high quality education. Employees are looking for states where their children can get a good education, and employers are looking for states with a skilled and educated workforce, he said. “

#10 rufusx on 09.26.12 at 10:08 am

Well, I got myself a little better educated on the details of this measure last night, and don’t feel quite as negative about it today. The language of the measure actually does prevent the legislature from changing the existing education funding foemula (2012) rates – as part of the law. It also forbids them from reallocating the penny in this law for other uses. Still – it adds to the regressive structure of taxation. Now I’m of mixed mind. Gone to an undecided state on this one.

#11 l3wis on 09.26.12 at 3:55 pm

It actually gives Republicans the power to take the other 2 pennies to spend on whatever they want because they will use the excuse “Well we already have money allocated for education and medicare so we no longer have to spend any of the 2 pennies on either of these programs anymore.” I just don’t think it is wise to tax people on food more to pay for education. It just doesn’t make sense. Sales taxes harm the poor the most. Why not implement a state income tax on corporations and people making over $250,000 a year to help fund these programs – why go back to nickel and diming the working class for this. Doesn’t well educated people help industry in our state by giving them a smarter workforce? It only makes sense to fund these programs through an income tax.

#12 scott on 09.26.12 at 5:12 pm

Speaking of Medicaid, the argus business paper had a blurb about Rounds going to work for Sanford as an advisor on Medicaid issues.

#13 rufusx on 09.26.12 at 7:29 pm

Scott – no – the law specifically prohibits the legislature from tampering with the existing education allocation. That issue is off the table. But as we’ve both said, it still increases the regressive nature of taxation in SD in general. As I said – I am conflicted.

#14 Detroit Lewis on 09.26.12 at 10:16 pm

Ruf, no conflict.

Tax increases on working class: Bad.

#15 Detroit Lewis on 09.26.12 at 10:44 pm

Also, there is always an out. I have seen it with the 2nd penny in SF, the enterprise funds and VL. When you have 1-Party rule for 34 years, what do you expect.

And Godammit, when are you Dems gonna figure this out?! I love your well intentions, but they don’t play fair. Call it out!

#16 Craig on 09.28.12 at 2:07 pm

rufusx: “the law specifically prohibits the legislature from tampering with the existing education allocation”

You mean until they meet in the next legislative session and vote to do exactly that? The problem with these initiated measures is they aren’t Constitutional Amendments… what is to prevent the legislature from changing them a year down the road?

When you give the legislature another source of funding, you are giving them more power, and historically they have been very reluctant to return that power to the people.

Regressive taxes aren’t a solution. This merely shifts the burden away from property owners and to those who can least afford it.

#17 l3wis on 09.29.12 at 1:38 am

Craig, I wish we had the resources to educate the public about this.

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