This comes as no surprise to me (From my email box);
Unfortunately HB1131, to shift tax off food, was voted down in House Taxation Committee this morning.
You can thank the supporters: Rep’s Feickert, Feinstein (bill sponsor), Kirschman, and Bernie Hunhoff
Voting against the bill: Conzet, Greenfield, Kirkeby, Liss, Moser, Perry, Rozum, Russell, Solum, Wick, Willadson.Â Â (Last year Kirkeby voted for a similar bill.)
Listen to the whole committee hearing by going to:
Click on theÂ SDPB symbol at the top over the date 1/27, and scroll half way through the session because this bill came up about half way through.
There was an excellent body of testimony by Rep Feinstein, Greg Boris of Voices for Children, Matt Gassen (director of Feeding South Dakota, our food bank network), Pastor Karl Kroger, Joy Smolnisky of South Dakota Budget and Policy Project, and Kristin Ashenbrenner of SD Advocacy Network for Women. Also weighing in were Luke Temple of Dakota Rural Action and Senator Billie Sutton of District 26.
The opponents were Jim Terwilliger from SD Bureau of Finance & Mgt, David Owen of the Chamber of Commerce, and Ron Olinger of SD Retailers.
Comments of the legislators before the vote were very interesting:
Conzet and Wick said the refund program needs to do more educating. (It should be noted that people have tried over 7 years, which should be enough evidence that such programs do not work.)
Moser said the people who come to his church for help in Yankton are asking for help with rent, medical, and utilities, not food, and there are enough programs helping with food.
Liss said this bill “sets up a financial incentive to obesity”
B. Hunhoff, a supporter, said this will happen someday. Why not today? It’s a good moral step to help working families and the elderly.
The bill was “deferred to the 41st day”. That is how they kill a bill, because there are only 40 days in the session. We always say nothing is over ’til the final gavel sounds, but this vote seems fairly decisive, esp. given the party-line nature of the vote, unlike last year.
Nevertheless, legislators need to understand that South Dakotans really do not like this tax. The publicity against the 2004 ballot initiative had claimed it would cause an income tax and schools closing and snow not being plowed. It said the refund program would solve the problem. Seven years later, legislators should not be able to hide behind a failed, inherently ineffective refund program.
Many thanks to everyone who made contacts on this so far. This bill’s loss does not stop the cause, which goes on, toward making South Dakota a fairer state where all people can thrive.
The Advocacy Project
While I support eliminating the food tax, I think lobbying our State Legislature is a waste of time. Get a big time donor and put it on the ballot. It will pass this time.
BTW, Brian, why did you vote against this?