When you listen to this speech by MLK, you can’t help to think about our current situation, except it applies to ALL of the working class, not just minorities.

“A true revolution of values will soon cause us to question the fairness and justice of many of our past and present policies. On the one hand we are called to play the good Samaritan on life’s roadside, but that will only be an initial act. One day we must come to see that the whole Jericho road must be transformed so that men and women will not be constantly beaten and robbed as they make their journey on life’s highway.”  -Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.


Let’s Do Something About Why People are Hungry.

There are many reasons. One is South Dakota’s tax on groceries.

• Grocery prices are up! The state can’t undo the high prices, but it could help by getting the tax off.

• Times are tough!

• Solutions are available! especially for the state portion (4%) of the food tax. This would help middle- and lower-income people. Most states do not tax groceries. No state bordering South Dakota taxes food.

• The food tax refund program is not the answer. It now reaches only 264 households in the whole state, despite much greater need. These types of programs are inherently ineffective.

• Cutting the food tax is the right thing to do. This tax hurts. What people pay annually in food tax (state + city tax) could buy their food for 3 weeks.

What to do? Enough people need to ask state legislators to start cutting the food tax. To join an email network of advocates, send your name, address & phone to:

South Dakotans ended the tax on medical services and outlawed paying to use toilets. You don’t pay a tax before you can vote or before you can breathe. No one should have to pay a tax before they can eat.


#1 scott on 01.16.12 at 6:18 pm

I’m sure Jesus would be for the food tax. Just ask Steve Hickey.

#2 l3wis on 01.16.12 at 7:43 pm

Hey, when you can buy a fish for a couple of Nero’s and turn around and feed 5,000 with it, who care’s about the food tax? Right?

Actually, I think Hickey supports ending the food tax in SD. Don’t quote me on that though.

#3 Craig on 01.17.12 at 8:55 am

“No state bordering South Dakota taxes food.”

Q: How many of those states have an income tax?

A: North Dakota (1.84 – 4.86%), Minnesota (5.35 – 7.85%), Iowa (.36 – 8.98%), Montana (1 – 6.9%), and Nebraska (2.56 – 6.84%)

The one state that doesn’t is Wyoming. However they make up for it with other taxes such as real estate taxes and local sales taxes as their tax burden is actually higher than South Dakota’s.

In fact, SD has the lowest tax burden (7.6%) of any of our surrounding states, and it is the third lowest in the nation behind Alaska (who receives money from oil drilling operations) and Nevada (who as you know earns a lot of tax revenue from gambling).

If people in South Dakota feel they are overtaxed, they are fools. If you remove sales tax on food, it must be collected elsewhere or the alternative is to slash government services. The net effect upon those who would benefit the most from a elimination of such a tax would be at best a wash since those same people are disproportionately more likely to rely upon state services (which would be cut as a result).

That dog is barking up the wrong tree.

#4 l3wis on 01.17.12 at 1:26 pm

Craig – That is the plan, to increase sales taxes by .3% on everything else, bringing it to 4.3% for the state, so it wouldn’t hurt the state coffers one bit.

As for tax burden it is estimated that South Dakotans, which are some of the lowest paid workers in the nation, pay an average of 13% of their income just in transportation costs. We certainly do have a low tax rate, if you are some one making over $100,000 a year.

#5 Oliver Klosov on 01.18.12 at 5:15 pm

Why do you set that bar at $100,000 to enjoy the benefits of the low tax rate in SD? Do you see that as a mythical dollar figure unachievable by most? Do you think that someone making $50,000 a year doesn’t enjoy the low tax rate? I’d say it’s really more like $40,000 and below don’t benefit from the low tax rate. That’s one person making $19/hr or a couple each working at $9.62/hr. I thinks that’s probably a more realistic picture.

#6 l3wis on 01.18.12 at 8:44 pm

Lower and middle income people tend to spend a larger percentage of their income on purchasing goods and services, while the rich tend to invest more, tax free. Sales taxes are regressive because they are misproportionate when it comes to income.

#7 Oliver Klosov on 01.19.12 at 12:05 am

The claim that the rich invest money tax-free is a canard. Most money that “the rich” invest is first EARNED INCOME which is taxed at up to 35%. The net amount left after taxes might then be invested in order to preserve and grow the earned capital. The dividend or interest income or capital gain that these investments may (or may not)provide is then taxed AGAIN. This second tax is fortunately (for now) “only” an additional 15%. And if the investment results in a capital loss, the investor can use these losses to offset gains to a certain extent, but nothing coming near to replacing the capital lost on investments that are not profitable. There are those members of the lucky sperm club (Paris Hilton, all of the Kennedy’s, etc) who never earned the money in the first place and are living off dividend, interest and capital gain income at that rate of 15% but the amount of generational wealth such as that is like a fart in a windstorm.

#8 l3wis on 01.19.12 at 5:36 am

I guess I wasn’t talking about generational wealth, I was talking about how sales taxes are regressive, especially towards the poor and working poor. If you are rich, you should pay more in income taxes.

#9 Oliver Klosov on 01.19.12 at 8:38 am

You may have thought you were talking about regressive sales taxes but you had to throw in the line about the rich investing and earning more money free of taxes which is clearly not true.
Every expense is regressive in relation to income. Lower income individuals spend a greater percentage of their income on EVERYTHING — food, shelter, clothing, entertainment and taxes. All taxes, not just the food tax.