Tourism tax clears third of four legislative hurdlesPIERRE — Permanent extension of South Dakota’s extra half-cent of sales tax on tourism goods and services is one step from final approval by the Legislature.
By: Bob Mercer, Republic Capitol Bureau
PIERRE — Permanent extension of South Dakota’s extra half-cent of sales tax on tourism goods and services is one step from final approval by the Legislature.
The Senate State Affairs Committee voted unanimously Friday to recommend its passage. If the full Senate agrees next week, the 1.5 percent rate would remain in place indefinitely.
The legislation could get a speeding ticket if it moved any faster through the lawmaking process. The bill, HB 1066, could be up for Senate debate as early as Monday, which is just day 13 of this year’s 38 working-day session.
“I think the folks that are most affected by this did a great job demonstrating the need for this,” Sen. Corey Brown, R-Gettysburg, said. He is the measure’s lead sponsor in the Senate.
The tourism tax was 1 percent until 2009 when the Legislature raised it to 1.5 percent for two years. The additional money was targeted for more tourism promotion and for support of the state arts office, archaeology office and Cultural Heritage Center.
In 2011, lawmakers decided to keep the 1.5 percent rate for two more years. The rate would revert to 1 percent after June 30 unless lawmakers take action. That would eliminate about $3 million of revenue from the advertising and history budgets.
“The Department of Tourism has been extremely successful with their marketing dollar,” said Ted Hustead, of Wall Drug. “Wall and Wall Drug are dependent on these marketing dollars to be successful.”
The senators heard further testimony by owners and representatives of tourism-related businesses and organizations from Volga, Watertown, Rapid City, Aberdeen, Pierre, Brookings and Sioux Falls.