Trust me, I don’t stand out on street corners holding a sign that says ‘End the Food Tax’ but I do think eliminating the tax, at least partially would be a good idea.

So why am I bringing this up months before the legislative session? Well it seems there may be winds of change blowing on the issue in Pierre this year.

The other night I ran into a state representative, and let’s just say this, we are on ‘talking terms’. One of the topics of conversation was ‘legislative’ proposals. They had a great idea; eliminate the food tax on fresh fruits and vegetables at farmer’s markets to encourage healthy eating habits. I liked where this person was going with the idea, so I told them they should go a step farther, and eliminate the food tax on all fresh foods and preparable foods (i.e. milk, flour, eggs). I told them that Bread for the World has been fighting this fight for years in the legislature, but maybe if they teamed up with a legislator that wasn’t a Democrat, they might get somewhere on the issue.

They gave me that normal right winger scowl you often see when you ask them to be bi-partisan. They did say they would take that into consideration. I hope so, I already told Bread for the World about your proposal. Teamwork kids! Teamwork!

I often cringe when I hear our mayor talk about the 3% unemployment rate in Sioux Falls, because when you compare that rate to how many people are receiving food stamps, something isn’t adding up. Sioux Falls is a bastion of ‘working poor’ who may have a job or several, but still must depend on government programs to get by and feed their families. Of that 3% rate, I am curious how many of these people are ‘underemployed’ or are working 50-60 hours a week and several jobs.

I challenge our finance director and mayor to give us the ‘real’ numbers when it comes to employment in SF.

DOC, County by County: WEB_SNAP_July2013

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.

Bread for the World-South Dakota • September 13, 2011

Bread for the World-South Dakota neither supports nor opposes the South Dakota ballot initiative to raise the sales tax.  We realize that it raises funds and specifies them for important causes.  However, it also raises the sales tax rate on a number of life’s basic necessities.

We believe that both supporters and opponents can agree that sales tax on groceries should not be raised–regardless of whether the initiative passes and the tax goes up on other things. Even without adding additional tax on food, the initiative would still raise over $160 million for schools and Medicaid – a significant sum.

The ballot initiative, as written, allows a way to keep the increase from being applied to food, because it applies the additional 1% sales tax only to items that are taxed at the 4% state rate. Thus, if the 2012 legislature would take any amount off food, even 1/2%, the food tax would not go up if the petition passes.

In this case, the food tax (state and local sales taxes combined), which currently costs families annually enough to buy 3 weeks worth of food, would not go up to 3-and-a-half weeks. It would keep the tax on a basic can of powdered baby formula below $1.

Even a one-half-percent reduction would be an acknowledgement of the current economic struggle.

This position neither supports nor opposes the initiative.  However, it is our hope that both supporters and opponents of the initiative will agree that keeping the tax on food as low as possible would be helpful for children, families, seniors and nursing homes, for good health, and for the economy.

MY THOTS: Taxing food more to fund healthcare and education seems a bit assbackwards considering good nutrition helps students learn better and contributes to a longer life. But solving problems by going to root seems to easy. Nevermind.