Entries Tagged 'Taxes' ↓

The obvious is staring them in the eyes

The Chamber gives their SLANTED view of city government

Nothing like the Chamber Advocate for a little light reading about how the city of Sioux Falls is running like a well oiled machine.

First they would like us to know OUR rights when it comes to Public Input and the 1st Amendment;

However, if a public body agrees to hold public input sessions, then some limited constitutional rights are extended to the speakers. Still, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized that a public body has the right to put time, manner and place restrictions on speech as long as those restrictions are generally content neutral and serve a governmental purpose. Courts have also noted that the purpose of these meetings, City Council for example, is to conduct city business and not to take public input. That recognized purpose permits the Council to legally restrict public input.

We of course have had this debate here before, and I have come to the realization that the city council CAN restrict public input. I get it. That wasn’t my point. My point is, that IF the city is going to allow Public Input, which they do, then they shouldn’t restrict our 1st Amendment rights during that time period by chastising us for speaking. If you don’t want us to ‘redress our grievances’ than eliminate public input, which I think would be difficult. As pointed out above, these meetings are for the city council to conduct business, a lot of decisions are made, based on input from the public, or at least should be.

In other Advice from the Advocate, they would like us to believe an OPT-OUT by the school district is for our own ‘safety’;

In other words, increasing the opt-out puts a safety net in place and ensures the District is able to provide a high-quality education for all students for years to come.

Make no mistake, if a governmental entity has the power to increase your taxes, they will use that same power to spend that money. Their is no such thing as a ‘safety net’ or ‘savings account’ in government. They WILL spend every last penny that they suck out of us, and you can almost guarantee that $5 million dollar ‘possible’ increase is already spent. The Chamber of course advocates for property tax and regressive increases on food taxes to help fund education because they are protecting members from an income tax.

The Chamber also decides to weigh in on the ambulance service in town. They have determined that it is what we are willing to pay for that determines what kind of quality of care we are getting . . . imagine that, always about the bottom line with the Chamber;

We will close with this. It appears our emergency medical response system is working when the objective data is considered. Also, the REMSA Board, not an elected lay council, is the right way to manage the system. The Council, by Charter, is a policy setting and legislative body and is to avoid administrative and management issues. It also appears that six of our councilors generally agree the system is working and the structure in place is valuable while two spearheaded the critical questioning.

However, we also understand that if your 911 call is one where there is a delay, you will have a concern. The provision of public services is always a balance between resources and expectations. If we expect (as an exaggerated example) a two-minute ambulance response for every emergency call, we can probably achieve it – but you won’t want to pay for it. Quality assurance conversations are important and we encourage them using the right data and in the right context.

We wouldn’t need more than two mutual aid agreements if PP would just staff more ambulances, but they won’t, as the Chamber has pointed out, too expensive. Yet, ironically our first responders, the SFPD and SFFD seem to show up first, subsidized by the tax payers while PP rides to bank with the profit from the transfer and delivery of a patient. All the more reason showing us a PUBLIC ambulance service not only would save patients money, it would probably save tax payers money (because we would be reimbursed for those calls), but more importantly, it would probably be 10X faster and more reliable than a FOR PROFIT ambulance service.

The Chamber has members to protect, we get it.

Sioux Falls School District Referendum Opt-Out petition

Download Petition, actual document, follow directions belowPetition Opt Out 2017

The document must be reproduced so each petition has a front and back of the document.  The petition may not be reproduced on two sheets of paper and stapled together.  Each box of the signature lines must be completed.  The person gathering and witnessing the signature is allowed to fill in any of the boxes except the signature box.  The person gathering and witnessing the signatures must stand before a notary and fill in the certification on the back of the petition and have it witnessed by a notary.

The petitions are due back to the Business Manager by 5:00, July 7, 2017. The goal is 6,000 signatures. Too bad it isn’t based on the turnout of the last election, then they would only need about 300 signatures.

*South DaCola is NOT directly involved with petition drive, but does support the effort.

Sioux Falls city tax collection still down from year before

It kind of looks like we may be flatlining for the year.

In other news at the city council informational meeting, we get to meet the ‘code enforcement’ team. Surprised they would want the public to know their identity. “You need help, here I am.” Maybe Ruby can help with tax collection?

Also, at the Public Services Committee meeting they want to get barking dogs under control. Good Luck.

Canton embraces my property tax rebate idea

Well, their idea is a ‘little’ different, but within the same scope;

“We have a real housing shortage on every level. Starter homes, upper-level homes, multifamily, you name it, we could use it,” city manager Amanda Mack said.

So about a year ago, the community decided to get serious about it.

Canton passed a program to rebate the city’s portion of new residential property taxes for five years. After that, five houses were built.

“And they all came because of the housing initiative,” Mack said.

Canton is using the tax rebate for NEW growth, while my idea would be to fix up older properties in the core of Sioux Falls. But either way, it encourages people to invest in housing, whether that is a NEW home in a smaller town, or to fix up a property in Sioux Falls. I actually believe if implemented, the program would be so popular, we could probably clean up a majority of core housing within 7-10 years, while actually increasing tax base after 5 years (once the rebate matures the homes will be worth more).

Governor’s Office; My Bad, charging tourism tax on food is stupid

That was sure convenient of the governor’s office to fix this stupidity on the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend when nobody is paying attention.

“The Secretary of Revenue, Andy Gerlach, reviewed this situation and determined that the tourism tax does not apply. Vendors will not be required to collect tourism tax, and any tax they have paid will be refunded.”

Hey Andy, why didn’t you ‘review’ this before you decided to tork off a bunch of people? The Governor realized this was bad publicity and changed his mind, and waited until 7 PM on a Saturday of a holiday weekend to tell us.

Keep it classy Denny. BTW, why did you fire Jason Dilges? While we are on Saturday afternoon declarations, how about spilling the beans about him?

What a bunch of corrupt weasels.

South Dakota’s Regressive Sales Taxes are a prehistoric way to fund government

As if it isn’t bad enough that the state taxes food, and increased it by a half penny last year, now the state wants to implement another penny and a half on Farmer’s Market food sold by Falls Park. The state may be able to pull this off. Because state law says they can charge this additional tax to any retailer at a tourist site.

State Rep. Jamie Smith, D-Sioux Falls, said while he understands the revenue office is only enforcing the laws that are already on the books, an exemption for farmers markets is something he’d support. While he believes there shouldn’t be any taxation on food, burdening local producers with a higher tax than grocery stores will only deter the public from using alternative food sources.

“We’re discouraging locally grown products,” he said. “Those are dollars staying local right here. The person that grew that carrot lives here, spends money here and goes to school here.”

I guess I would have two arguments against the additional tax. First off, they are not selling souvenirs, they are selling FOOD. Secondly, the Farmer’s Market isn’t really in Falls Park, it’s actually wedged between a stinky meat packing plant, and a blue-collar bar, hardly the tourist attraction. People come to the market to buy fresh produce and the occasional jar of raw honey. They are not buying T-shirts of Falls Park.

I guess things are getting so desperate for the state and the city, they are looking to start charging additional fees on anything they can, including claiming organic food products are now souvenirs.

The sad part is they continue to make excuses about the farm economy and internet sales instead of offering solutions (and there are really simple solutions out there). They keep wanting to beat the dead horse hoping to suck more money out of it.

Let’s face it, sales taxes are regressive and primitive. Don’t get me wrong, they are applicable for many things, but should NEVER be charged on necessities like Food, Clothing and Energy costs.

Of course everyone fears an income tax. To most hard working South Dakotans, an income would never even touch you or effect you.

I would suggest we implement a three step process over 6 years;

First step would be to eliminate ALL sales taxes on anything tangible or a service that is considered a necessity of life or living. For example, you wouldn’t pay a tax to get your tire fixed on your car but you would pay one at a sun tanning salon. I would then increase that sales tax to 10-12% on all the remaining products and services. There would also be a ‘luxury’ clause. If you bought a minivan for your family of 5, you probably wouldn’t pay a tax on that, but if you bought a Porsche Crossover, there may be a tax. Same would go with luxury homes.

I would wait two years before implementing step two, which would be a income tax on corporations profiting more then $2 million a year, singles making more than $100K a year and households making more than $200k a year. This would be a flat tax of about 5-7% with NO exemptions.

I would wait another two years to implement the last stage, shut down Video Lottery. I would keep property taxes where they are.

Let’s face it, we can continue to bitch and complain about sales tax revenue going in the hole, but as the gap between the rich and poor get bigger, it’s reality, because it is a regressive tax. Tax those who can afford it.

Sales Tax Revenue down EVEN MORE than last year

Click to enlarge.

Finance Director Tracy Turbak will be making his monthly report at the informational meeting at 4 PM. So far, the sales tax growth is even more dismal than last year. For the first 3 months we are at 0% growth. Ouch.

Since I am not an economics major, I really can’t tell you why this downward spiral is happening. Obviously the farm economy isn’t doing well, but with Sioux Falls having so many residents, you would think this would not affect us this much. I still kind of wonder if we really didn’t recover from the last recession. Wages continue to be stagnant, and that is obvious with all the food banks growing and the lack of affordable housing.

Expanding Gambling in SD is NOT the solution to Economic Development

Sorry to see Yankton is doing so badly. I have never understood why, they sit on one of the most beautiful lakes in South Dakota. The economic development options on Lewis & Clark, I would think would be endless. Look at what Okoboji has done without a Casino on their waterfront.

Expanding gambling options in South Dakota is NOT the answer. The irony is that they would only be pulling gamblers from Fort Randall and Nebraska Indian Casinos, they would not be creating any new clientele.

Oh, and Gambling SUCKS and is a poor way to fund government. But what is the most disheartening is that this idea is being pitched by a Democrat that should know the pain gambling has caused our state;

“I think the challenge is we need to compete with Omaha, Lincoln and Minneapolis,” Senator Bernie Hunhoff said.

If that was true, which I don’t think it is, why do it with gambling?

I’m extremely disappointed with the short-sightedness of Yankton’s leaders. There is a reason why the Republicans have had control of this state for over 40 years, because the Dems in leadership roll over and play dead.

Suckers! Everyone of you!

This is what I said about the sales tax increase last February for teacher pay;

As I have said, it is purely ignorant to raise regressive sales taxes for teacher pay when the money is already there (heck, probably sitting in reserves). This is about presenting intelligent plans to raise teacher pay, not knee jerk reactions. People want this increase SO bad, they are willing to fall back on fiscally irresponsible and ignorant taxation plans to get it. That my friends is called GREED.

They went on to pass it anyone. And guess what, they could not have done it without the help of the Democratic legislators (and as Pam Nelson has pointed out, maybe a reason why they failed so bad this past election season). The worst part about it is they had a better plan, but didn’t present it, instead they went along with the Republican Governor’s plan, and guess where that got us? Exactly where I knew this would end up!

The House of Representatives on Tuesday night approved Senate Bill 35, which strikes the specifications for how the half-cent sales tax are used. Appropriators on Wednesday morning said that given the strained state economy and lower than expected revenues, education funding would remain flat.

Only one year later and the Governor (who cooked up the sales tax increase to begin with) already wants to rob the pot. ONLY ONE YEAR LATER! And once it happens, there is NO going back. The tax will NEVER be repealed and the teachers will never fully receive the money.

Some accuse me of being too cynical. But it is my cynism that sees this crap a mile away. When crooks are in power for the past 40 years, you don’t just wake up one morning in 2016 and say, “Let’s trust them this time, it’s for the teachers.”

Can you hear that sound . . . it gets louder the closer you are to Pierre.