Entries Tagged 'Citizens for Reponsible Sales Tax' ↓

Strategy Session Saturday




WHO: Citizens for a Responsible Sales Tax

WHEN: Saturday, April 18, 2009 – 11:30 AM

WHERE: Caille Branch Library, 49th Street, Sioux Falls


Citizens for a Responsible Sales Tax will be having a public meeting at the Caille Branch library on Saturday at 11:30 AM to discuss strategy for attaining the remaining signatures for their tax initiative petition drive. Any Sioux Falls residents wanting to know more about the drive OR are interested in volunteering are asked to attend. The Mummy dvdrip


Call Co-Chair Theresa Stehly at 332-1363 or email Co-Chair Scott L. Ehrisman at fb.art@sio.midco.net with any questions.

Strike 3, Your’e out!


It’s looks like the city of Sioux Falls struckout trying to derail our tax petition;

1) PAID a consultant to mislead us about the constitutionality of the initiative

2) PAID a consultant to mislead us about bond interest rates(a bond they did not ultimately take out, because real people are not dying in floods)

3) Mislead us about the 6 month window and registration date.

According to city charter and ordinance 14-50;

Sec. 14-50.  Requirement of registration with city clerk to precede petition circulation for initiative or referendum in a municipal election.

     Persons seeking to propose an ordinance or resolution shall first register with the city clerk’s office before such petitions are circulated for signatures. Registration shall include the name of the organization, address, contact person, and language of the proposed ordinance or resolution. A copy of the proposed resolution or ordinance will become public when petition circulation effort commences.


There is NOTHING about the 6 month timeline starting on the registration date, it just simply says we must register the petition. So it seems state law and SOS Chris Nelson are correct. No wonder the city attorney’s office is ignoring us. If we attain the 4,800 signatures within a 6 month window we are good to go.


Looks like we are going into extra innings. I hope your’e ready to “play more games” councilor Litz.

I guess we are ‘playing games’


I guess you could say we are kind of in limbo right now;

City officials maintain that Citizens for a Responsible Sales Tax had to have approximately 5,000 signatures on file with the city clerk’s office at 5 p.m. Friday to force a vote. The group didn’t meet that threshold, and now officials say their effort is dead.

“They played the game and didn’t come up with the signatures. That’s the way it’s set up,” City Council Chairman Bob Litz said.

I never thought this was a ‘game’. Sure I come on this site and snark politicians for their ignorance, that is a game I play. But when it comes to election and petition laws and raising my taxes for foolish and harmful expenditures, I don’t play games. Maybe Bob thinks politics are a game, that’s unfortunate, since I have to pay his wages.

Under state law, petitions in municipal ballot measures can’t be counted if they’re older than six months. But the law doesn’t say a group only has six months to collect signatures, Secretary of State Chris Nelson said.

Funny thing, when you call our SOS and ask him a question, he answers it, but when you ask the city attorney’s office the same question, they play the game of cat and mouse. Which is no surprise, since they have been playing games since our drive started.

City Attorney Robert Amundson said he hadn’t looked at the issue.

“I haven’t been requested by my client to research it,” he said. “If I get that, you can rest assured this office would.”

The city isn’t your ‘client’ they are your ’employer’. Good old Bobby has said this several times in public meetings, like he is a paid private legal consultant. Your office is in city hall, you draw a paycheck from the taxpayers of the city, you are an EMPLOYEE of the city. The taxpayers of this city are your CLIENTS, and I don’t need a law degree to know that.

Why we fell short of the deadline-and why we are continuing


Since Stormland TV just couldn’t wait to talk about our petition drive (though ignored us during the drive) I figured I better say something. About a month ago I decided that spending more time on the drive during March would be pointless since it would be next to impossible to get enough signatures (about 5,000) without more volunteers helping by the deadline.


I suppose I could blame a lot of ‘other’ people for not meeting the deadline, but it’s kinda hard to blame people who didn’t help to begin with. I blame my own selfishness and not going out more. I think that the signatures were out there, but the manpower wasn’t there to attain them.

As you know, I originally agreed to come on board with this AFTER it was decided to do the drive. Mainly because I didn’t believe in the tax increase and secondly because of my knowledge of the city council meetings.

Bread for the World started the drive and asked Theresa Stehly and I to be co-chairs. Initially I didn’t want to be a co-chair, but got aboard anyway. I felt the tax cut should have been deeper than 1.9% I thought it should have been about 1.75%. I see how much money this city WASTES on things, and I think they could have gotten by just fine on that amount.

The drive started out good in October, that first month I estimate we got about 1,000 signatures. It didn’t hurt that people were absentee voting and the courthouse was a hot spot. There was also a lot of volunteers from BFW helping with the drive. But once the weather got cold it was down to about four of us core people. BFW was also in Pierre lobbying to end the food tax, which I fully support, but they were unsuccessful (imagine that-that’s a dig on legislators, not BFW).

We gathered about 3,000 signatures in the 6 months we were at it, and talked to hundreds of petition signers at great length about city government and all the wasteful spending.

Maybe that’s the one thing I took from this drive, is that citizens aren’t as apathetic as you think they are in Sioux Falls. They know a lot more then you think when it comes to what the city is doing, and that is refreshing. I also was surprised that only about 10% of the people we asked to sign said NO. That was pretty shocking to me, I expected it to be around 40-50%. Like I said earlier, we had great support.

I also was surprised (or maybe not) by the lengths City Hall went to to try to derail us. Not only did they have one consultant mislead the public about the constitutionality of the initiative, but at one point actually flying in a consultant (at taxpayers expense) from Minneapolis to try to scare us into believing our drive would affect bond interest rates. I personally found that whole circus to be quite amusing, especially when Councilor De Knudson demanded in a public meeting we get a hold of the council ASAP then took it back the next day. It was a load of crap, and we knew it.

There was one other thing I took from it to, that 2010 will be ripe with grassroots candidates that want to see real progress in Sioux Falls, by putting citizens first and growing Sioux Falls and it’s economy from the ground up, not from the top down. We will have a new mayor and up to four new councilors, this will be a prime time to implement real change for the city (not trying to sound like Obama).

I am supporting two candidates for sure and anybody else who agrees with my populist views.  I don’t care what party you belong to. I will give any candidate that I agree with philosophically FREE graphic and marketing services, and might even knock on some doors for you.
Don’t get me wrong, this won’t be an easy fight for the grassroots populists, the special interests and developers will be throwing a lot of money at the established candidates so they can print slick postcards and put up fancy billboards and websites, but I think this time the people will win in 2010.

I would like to end by thanking anybody who helped with the drive so far and the people who signed the petition, especially Theresa, Matt, Kathy, Russ, Kermit and Emmet.

NOW, for the rest of the story . . .

We may have missed the deadline, but we plan to continue, state and city charter are murky about having an actual deadline and having a ‘rolling date’. We think that as long as the signatures are gathered within a 6 month period, it does not matter what that period is. Obviously we need clarification, but City Hall and the Attorney’s office isn’t talking. SOS, Chris Nelson told KELO that we may be right. As we see it, that is up to city charter, but as usual the city is being big babies about answering constituents questions (I guess they keep forgetting who pays their wages). The city clerk requested that information from the city attorney’s office this week, and they refused to give it. This makes me suspect we are right about the rolling date.

I have always felt that our biggest obstacle was the weather, so hopefully we can continue. We’ll see I guess. Hopefully the pouting in the City attorney’s office will be over by Monday, so we have an answer, but I am not holding my breath.

You mean City Hall is trying to boondoggle us with the tax increase? Get out!

Mr. Elgersma is the only person who probably follows city government closer than I do, he wrote a great letter about the bait and switch with the recent retail tax increase;

So why did the Sioux Falls city sales tax go up? It was said that it was to fund arterial streets. These streets were in the capital improvement plan budget for five years.


So the city made a deal with the developers that the developers pay part of the cost of the arterial streets if the sales tax was raised to pay the rest. But no one said what the money was being raised for since this expense was already budgeted. What did all that money really go for? Did City Hall just want more money to play with without telling us what it really was going to be used for?

Of course they did Roger. I knew from the beginning that the arterial streets were merely an excuse to increase the taxes. Just like flying in a bond consultant, at taxpayer’s expense, was a diversion to try to get us to end the petition drive. Dishonesty and deception rules city hall, something I have known for a very long time.

Sign the Petition!

Stehly wirtes a letter to the Editor on the Sales Tax initiative;

We started this petition drive in October and have been working many volunteer hours to give the people of Sioux Falls an opportunity to vote on this issue and to send a message to city leaders about accountability and common sense in how they manage our tax dollars. We have been engaging in wonderful dialogue with citizens throughout the town and have found a prevailing attitude of support and respect.

Letter to the Editor

A penny saved, is a penny earned;

I think most people who agree with our drive know when you give politicians an inch, they will take foot.



The tax increase wasn’t about making Sioux Falls a better place to live or improving essential services, it was about greed and power.


We will be doing another door-to-door petition drive this Saturday (Feb 7 ) from 10 AM – Noon. If interested in volunteering email me at fb.art@sio.midco.net or call Theresa at 332-1363 (leave a message).

So we raise taxes so we can stick the money in reserves?

On Friday, Mayor Munson had an interview with Don Jorgensen in which he bragged about being able to put $5 million dollars in savings from 2008 into the reserves;

Last year, they budgeted $110 million for operating expenses, but spent only $105 million, sending $5 million back into the reserve fund. 

So why did we have to raise taxes to a full 2% to get additional money if it was there, even without cutting one single program from the 2009 budget?

One word; Greed.

Like I have argued with many people, the city has gotten by just fine with 1.92% tax rate for years, as you can see, we had an additional $5 million leftover.

Not only was this tax increase greedy and a handout to special interests that fund some of city leader’s campaigns, it an example of incredibly poor management, but we are starting to get use to that from SD politicians, aren’t we?

A penny saved is a penny earned. That’s not silly – it’s smart

I have a coffee can I fill with pennies, most people do. When it is full I hike it to the bank and cash it in. It usually comes to about $17. Pennies add up, in the city’s case it adds up to about $5 million with the new tax increase that took affect January 1, 2009. Our tax initiative, if passed, will let taxpayer’s keep that $5 million to spend how they wish which will most likely go back into the economy in the form of goods and services that helps all local businesses not just contractors who pave gravel roads outside of rural Tea (that is where these arterial roads are being proposed).

Is saving taxpayers $5 million dollars silly? Argus Leader columnist Hawkins seems to think so. In her column, titled ‘Stupid, silly stuff trumps violence any day’ (only in the dead tree version of the Argus today) she says this;

“But when one realizes that the fight is over less than a penny, yes less than a penny, I feel like responding like Izzie or Meredith or Cristina in “Grey’s Anatomy.” “Seriously?”

Maybe instead of watching a boring TV series, Hawkins should do a little research about taxation, citizen rights and the TRUE duty of the Fourth Estate instead of defending politicians (and advertisers) that spend wastefully. Now that is silly. And they wonder why subscriptions are down. Go figure.

Yesterday when I was collecting signatures, I rareley got a no. Most people agreed, the city is spending too much money, and it’s time for citizens to step in and put a halt to it. Not one single person mentioned to me the small amount it is to there personal finances. I think most people who agree with our drive agree when you give politicians an inch, they will take foot. When we give our mayor .08 cents, he takes $5 million out of the entire SF business community and hands it over to a select few, ironically the very few who fund our city leader’s campaigns. Coincidence? I don’t think so.

UPDATE: Mayor Munson himself points out why a tax increase is not needed, lots-o-money!