Legislators on rules panel place extra hurdle in path of price hike for newspaper legal-ad ratesPIERRE — The Legislature’s rules review committee voted Tuesday to block, at least temporarily, a proposed 3 percent increase in the rate that governments pay newspapers in South Dakota for publishing their public notices, meeting minutes and other official legal advertising.
By: Bob Mercer, The Daily Republic
PIERRE — The Legislature’s rules review committee voted Tuesday to block, at least temporarily, a proposed 3 percent increase in the rate that governments pay newspapers in South Dakota for publishing their public notices, meeting minutes and other official legal advertising.
The committee plans a hearing next month to take further testimony on whether the higher rate is necessary.
One of the considerations cited Tuesday was a state law regarding financial impact of a proposed rule.
The law says the rules committee may look at whether the increase would impose more than nominal costs on a local government unit or school district, at a time when the local unit or district “may not have sufficient funding to perform the activity” in the proposed rule.
Newspapers are a dying source of information for the public, according to Yvonne Taylor, executive director for the South Dakota Municipal League.
Taylor spoke against the increase Tuesday in testimony to the rules committee.
Jeff Holden, an official for the state Bureau of Administration, also read a letter to the committee from Dianna Miller, a lobbyist for the large school districts.
The South Dakota county commissioners and county officials associations previously opposed the increase during a public hearing held by the Bureau of Administration in June.
The proposed increase would be the first since 2007, when a 3 percent raise was granted.
An estimate of the statewide impact from the proposed increase isn’t available, according to Dave Bordewyk, executive director for the South Dakota Newspaper Association.
He instead cited individual examples such as the Watertown School District, which spent $20,524.48 in 2011 and would pay $615.73 more for the same ads under the increase.
For the city of Webster, he said, the cost in 2011 was $3,700.35 and would rise by $111.01.
The state Bureau of Finance and Management categorized the financial impact statewide as undeterminable because of complexities of details, commissioner Jason Dilges said.
The rates vary by size of the type and by the circulation of the newspaper.
Bordewyk said costs for producing and distributing newspapers have risen since the last rate increase.
He said in-county postage for mailing weeklies is up 3 percent during that period, while newsprint increased approximately 10 percent.