Entries Tagged 'State Funding' ↓

Americans for Prosperity opposed to 3rd penny for municipalities

I don’t often agree with the right wing boloney coming from Americans for Prosperity, but I do agree that raising another penny for municipalities is certainly a horrible idea. They have their reasons to oppose the tax increase, which are the usual choking of economic development, etc., etc. and just being opposed to taxes in general. My reasons are a little different, sales taxes are a regressive tax, and South Dakotan’s impoverished and middle class are already paying too much.

I can see why this will get broad support from both sides of the aisle in our state legislature. Democrats like extra tax money to spend on play things, this is why our mayor is just in love with the idea. Republicans in the state most likely support it, because any increase on sales taxes means a shift away from a corporate or income tax, something that scares the crap out of them.

Let’s face it, there are many things wrong with the proposal. First off, even if I supported the legislation, which I don’t, I would require a 60% majority for passage of the tax increase. I would also eliminate the ‘sunset’ clause, because let’s face it, they are just a myth sold to voters.

But I guess one of the reasons I vehemently oppose the tax increase, especially in Sioux Falls, is because we seem to have a bad habit already of spending our CIP 2nd Penny on playthings, I can’t imagine the out of control spending we would have for projects for the special interest groups if a 3rd penny ensued. You think indoor pools and tennis centers are an unneeded expense now, give the city another $100 million plus a year and you will see them on every corner.

We need responsible taxing, and this is where Americans for Prosperity and I disagree. We need to eliminate the sales taxes on food, clothing and utilities and we need to implement a corporate income tax to foster economic development, or even better yet fund indoor tennis facilities that 99.9% of us sales tax paying peeps will never use.

Besides, the CEOs and their children need something to do during the winter besides counting their frozen moldy money.


Theresa Stehly to discuss SB166 on Viewpoint University

Theresa will be on at 4:30 today with her take on what happened on Friday in Pierre with SB166, she was present in the audience when Brown tabled the bill.

SB166, it’s all about the kids!

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Give me a break. Why are the kids answering your phone anyway Ernie? And BTW, several constituents showed up to testify, and you and the committee didn’t allow the ‘intellectual’ conversation. Piss and moan about the ‘kids’ all you want, but your ilk continue to hide behind the morality and constitutional argument (which is weak at best).

Let’s face it, you are butt hurt that the Democrats have been handing you your asses on initiatives and you don’t have complete control. Pull the fairytale constitution, from your rear ends and start governing like logical human beings. A democracy is built around the people, not rhetoric, not 20-year old lawsuits and certainly not about answering services.

Let me repeat that, PEOPLE! LIVING PEOPLE!

Now turn on your cell phone, your emails and carrier pigeons and listen to the PEOPLE!

BREAKING: SB 166 Tabled

I got a call about 12:30 that the bill has been ‘tabled’ by it’s sponsor, Corey Brown. This of course means there is a possibility it could return, but from another sponsor, but after the backlash, that is highly Unlikely.

Brown said the negative backlash is what made him decide to table it. And rightfully so. The only negativity is the arrogance that he wielded thinking he could push this through. I think they thought this would go under the radar, but over 30 papers across the state published editorials and columns about the detriment of the proposed bill.

I would like to give a big thumbs up to Theresa Stehly who helped spearhead the opposition by contacting statewide media and other legislators. I would also like to thank SD Bread for the World, SD Peace and Justice Center, Gordon Howie and Rick Weiland and the SD Democratic Party for getting the message out.

Don’t mess with the voice of the people.

Friday is a big day for the Senate State Affairs Committee

The Senate State Affairs is hearing the GOP’s bill to chip away at your right to propose and vote on laws on Friday, November 6, 2014 at 9 or 10am (The Brown Bill 166) (You can listen by clicking the podcast link here.)
They will also be tackling the budget issue HJR1001. This editorial says it all;
“South Dakotans who think a balanced budget amendment is common sense fail to realize both the complexity of a national economy and the dependence small states have on the federal government.”
I also find the irony and hypocrisy of giving themselves a raise. $6,000 for 40 days of work ain’t bad, considering if it was a full-time gig they would be making about $50K a year. But the hypocrisy comes from not wanting to raise teacher wages and trying to fiddle with the minimum wage increase. So this is my suggestion to the State Legislature, put it on the ballot and let the citizens of SD decide if you need a raise.

OPPOSE SB135 – Giving cities the power to raise taxes

Before 10:00am tomorrow, please contact these Senators urging them NOT to let cities have more sales tax. Ask them to OPPOSE SB135.

This bill allows cities to add another 1% city sales tax, for special projects with a vote of the people. So few people vote in city elections, that it would be easy for people behind special projects to get their supporters out and overwhelm a city election, raising the most regressive tax we have.
• This would be a 50% increase in sales tax revenue for a city! (the current 2%  to 3%)
• Sales tax is the most regressive tax we have, meaning the lower-incomes are burdened more, and upper incomes are affected less.
• Sales tax takes food off tables in South Dakota. In families with limited budgets, food is often the flexible part of the budget, and the tax takes food away. Think about how much 6% tax takes out of a $20 bill. (Many low-income household do NOT get food stamps. Many others receive only partial allotments of food stamps and must buy some food with cash.)
• Already at 6% (4% state + 2% city) the total sales tax you pay on food over a year is equivalent to 3 weeks worth of food. A new 1% would add another half a week to that problem.   (.07×52 weeks = 3.65 weeks)
• At one time SD had a strict limit for city sales tax on groceries. But this limit was taken off, and over the past decade SD cities have raised their tax on food from 1% to 2%. By doing this, they already received an increase in sales tax revenue that they continue to reap every year.
(FYI- Background info: Under the “streamlining rules,” city sales tax may not be lower on some things than other things. Thus, we cannot go back to the previous 1% limit on food for cities. However, states are allowed to have lower rates on food and utilities, even zero, which we hope will be accomplished with HB1193.)
• • Many utilities are taxed. (You can see this on your monthly bills.) Cities receive more revenue every time these utility rates go up, as well as when food prices rise.
Senate State Affairs committee votes on this tomorrow (Wednesday Feb.4)
Here are their email addresses. Write them individually, not all in one email.
Or, call and leave a message tomorrow morning before 10:00 am

605-773-3821 for senators. You can ask that it be delivered to 2 senators.

Other SD State Legislation to keep your eye on!

Here are some bills to weigh in on. This info can also suggest issues to raise in the public meetings in your districts.

1. Balanced Budget Amendment, the dangers of which were discussed in the alert last week (Jan.23, 8:55pm. Can you find it? If not, i can re-send. Or check here: http://www.foreffectivegov.org/files/bba/econ.html)
     Unfortunately, House Joint Resolution 1001 (HJR 1001) passed on the House floor on Wed., 39-30
You could thank these 30 Rep’s for opposing it: Rep’s Bartling; Bordeaux; Brunner; Campbell; Dryden; Duvall; Feickert; Gibson; Lana Greenfield; Hawks; Holmes; Jean Hunhoff; Kaiser; Killer; Klumb; Marty; May; McCleerey; Munsterman; Rasmussen; Ring; Rounds; Rozum; Russell; Schoenfish; Schrempp; Sly; Soli; Solum; Tulson
Having passed the House, now HJR 1001 goes to (surprise) Senate Transportation committee. (This proves you just can’t predict!) Please contact these Rep’s asking them to OPPOSE HJR1001, a federal balanced budget amendment to the US Constitution. Senators Cammack, Bernie Hunhoff, Monroe, Ernie Otten, Jim Peterson, Solano, Vehle
Today SJR 1, the Senate version of the same bill, was tabled in committee, but not killed. So ask these Senators to OPPOSE SJR 1, when they take it off the table: Senate State Affairs committeeBrown, Holien, Bernie Hunhoff, Lederman, Ernie Otten, Rave, Soholt, Solano, Sutton
2. Other topics YOU could discuss with SENATORS this weekend and early next week:
SB147, to expand Medicaid. Of course, urge ALL legislators to SUPPORT this. The bill will be voted on first by Senate Appropriations committee: Buhl O’Donnell, Haverly, Phyllis Heineman, Omdahl, Parsley, Peters, Tidemann, Van Gerpen, White
SB169, pre-natal care for babies who will be US citizens once they are born, whether their moms are or not.
This makes moral sense as well as financial sense. Urge SUPPORT of these Senators on Health and Human Services committee: Bradford, Curd, Heinert, Phil Jensen, Rampelberg, Rusch, Tieszen
SB135, allow cities more sales tax for special projects. It goes to Senate State Affairs (listed above). Please ask them or the bill sponsors, Senator Brown and Rep. Munsterman, about this. Why more of such a regressive tax should be allowed. Aren’t cities faring well enough on revenues already? Wouldn’t it raise the tax people’s groceries? On their heating bills? and phones and internet? etc. Higher prices on these things already give increased revenue to cities. Going from the cities’ current 2% to 3% would be a 50% increase in city sales tax! That seems so huge, it makes me wonder if I understand this bill. If you find out anything, let me know.
SB166, a big increase in the number of signatures needed for a citizen initiative. The practice has been to require 5% of the number of voters in the last election for governor. This bill requires 5% of all the registered voters, whether they vote or not. It’s a huge increase. This would make it harder for citizens to put measures before the voters. I say it is enough work already, and I have not noticed that our ballots had too many citizen initiatives under the present requirement. Why put a damper on democracy? (At the same time, a bill to require students to pass a civics exam is easily passing so far on its way through the legislature.)
3. Two HOUSE bills to note here:
Speaking of initiated measures for the vote of the people, HB1094 would change the minimum wage initiative that was just passed by the voters in November. This bill suggests that minimum wage should go down, if the consumer price index were to go down. 
– But the point of the measure the voters passed was to bring minimum wage UP, up closer to something people could live on. It is still far from that. Full-time work at the current minimum ($8.50/hr) does not even reach poverty line for a family of 3. 
– The value of a worker’s labor does not go down just because prices go down. These are two separate things.
– And why bring down the pay ONLY for the lowest-paid workers? 
Urge all Rep’s to OPPOSE HB1094, especially House Commerce committee: Rep’s Beal, Deutsch, Harrison, Hawley, Kirschman, Al Novstrup, Rounds, Schoenbeck, Stalzer, John Wiik, Willadsen, Wollmann, Zikmund
HB1193, shift sales tax off food. With this bill, SD cities would keep taxing food, but the state’s sales tax would go from 4% to zero on food and from 4% to 4.35% on non-food, keeping the same revenue for the state. 
– This bill makes some of the regressivity out of our sales tax, the part due to taxing groceries. 
– South Dakota is one of the few states taxing groceries. None of our neighboring states does this.
– Currently your total tax on food over a year is enough to buy your food for 3 weeks. 
– Most SD households would come out ahead with the best benefit felt right in the grocery store. 
– You can buy used clothes, books, furniture etc, but you cannot buy used food! 
Urge SUPPORT of all Rep’s, especially House Taxation committee: Rep’s Bartling, Beal, Duvall, Don Haggar, Killer, Kirschman, Latterell, May, Al Novstrup, Rasmussen, Rozum, Russell, Solum, John Wiik, Willadsen
• Email through this website: http://legis.sd.gov/Contact/LegislatorEmail.aspx
This format works for a lot of them: rep.lastname@state.sd.us or sen.lastname@state.sd.us
• Call and leave a message during legislative workdays (Tue-Fri next week)
605-773-3851 for Rep’s
,  605-773-3821 for senators
Or call at home on weekends. They expect this. Find phone numbers on
• Mail them a note on paper.
Rep.___ or Senator___, State Capitol, Pierre SD 57501
Don’t know who your legislators are? Check here:

Cory Madville explains EB-5

Does the Right Wing of the SD State Legislature REALLY care about children?


I care about children, but only the unborn with genetic disorders that are either a male or female and come from the hand of God, not a monkey. After they are born, they are on their own.

Every year, Pierre changes it’s name to ‘Guns & Abortion, SD’ for about 40 days, and our legislature wastes time on guns and abortion legislation. Their reasons? They care about children. Really?

Well this year, as in the past, they had a chance to tell us just how much they do care about kids, you know, the ones that are born and living already. Some of them failed.

You would think after watching this year after year a group that large couldn’t be that ignorant. I must clarify, some Republicans get it, I am talking about the extreme right that think the earth is 6,000 years old and evolution isn’t based on science.

So let’s look at their failures;

• Supporting anti-science, secular education while censoring evolution science. The right wingers think they are doing the children of the state a favor by teaching them anti-science supported creationism, while instilling theological ideas into the public schools ignoring separation of church and state. This is a civics and science lesson gone awry. It goes against everything the 1st Amendment is about, and is more harmful to children then helpful.

• Legislating and teaching Hate. This one speaks for itself, making it legal to discriminate against a person based on their sexual orientation. This one thankfully failed, but that it even came up as legislation is pretty scary.

• Full Medicare expansion. This isn’t rocket science. Not only would it help a lot of children and keeping their working parents healthy it would put $200 million into the state economy. Of course some of legislators, like Isaac Latterell believe that the Federal Government is broke and a day of reckoning is coming where we won’t be getting money from the Feds anymore. Yup, Isaac, Ronald Reagan was using that talking point before you were born. As one of the legislators said in the last coffee, “If you have concerns as a constituent of how the Federal government is spending Federal funds, you need to bring it up with your Washington delegation, not state representatives.”

• Removing the sales tax on food. Democratic representative Marc Feinstein has been trying to remove the tax for years, unsuccessfully. For obvious reasons, removing this tax would help children. I have suggested instead of raising the taxes on other things – three adjustments could be made. 1) Remove the tax from raw, preparable and fresh foods only 2) Tax all products at the same rate-4% 3) Tax advertising.

• Denying counties a share of state sales tax revenue while voting against more lenient enforcement of non-violent offenders, like marijuana users. Why is the county getting further and further behind? Crime and the clogged court system. This also has to do with the safety of our children. When we simply just fine non-violent offenders instead of incarcerating them, we free up law enforcement and the courts to handle the more violent and serious crimes. This makes our community safer, and ultimately children safer.

So while the Right Wingers are busy talking about abortion and guns to keep our children safe and healthy, the work that actually that should be done is going straight over their heads . . . as usual. Some things never change in Guns & Abortion, SD.

ALEC, guns, cold medicine and cell phones


I’m not making Meth, though it would probably make me feel a lot better now.

It is no secret our State Legislature wastes a lot of time on pointless bills, and they are at it again.

They want to put you in a private database for the pharma companies to track sales of cold medicine, which in no way stops meth production (you can make meth from several substances besides cold medicine).

Secondly, they want a statewide ban on texting, which is not needed, because distracted driving laws already cover texting and driving recklessly.

This is all a distraction. Why? First of all, our state legislature doesn’t have a clue, that is why they go running to daddy (ALEC) anytime they need legislation. They even go as far as defending the very organization that is funded by big pharma (the ones that want the database) saying they ‘teach’ legislators (more like brainwash).

Why not have a bill that requires all handgun owners be registered on a public website? Wouldn’t you like to know if your neighbor had a handgun? And the numbers don’t lie, handguns in our country kill more people then any other country in the world. If we are worried about texting and meth production, shouldn’t we be worried about people who carry dangerous weapons?

Oh, I know the argument, not every one that carries a handgun is dangerous. Couldn’t agree more. Just like everyone who texts doesn’t do it while driving and everyone who buys cold medicine isn’t making meth.

Double standard if you ask me. But big Pharma could care less about gun ownership.

The legislature needs to focus on more important things that actually make our state better, like bringing in living wage jobs, ending the food tax and funding education properly.

It’s time that Pierre pulled ALEC out of their asses and did the work of the people.