ROZUM: State looking at sales tax, public safetyThe House Tax Committee heard two bills dealing with sales tax this week. The perennial bill to remove state sales tax from food and increase state sales tax on everything else to 4.35 percent failed, as did a bill to increase state sales tax across the board from 4 percent to 5 percent.
By: Tona Rozum , Guest columnist
The House Tax Committee heard two bills dealing with sales tax this week. The perennial bill to remove state sales tax from food and increase state sales tax on everything else to 4.35 percent failed, as did a bill to increase state sales tax across the board from 4 percent to 5 percent.
The bill to remove sales tax from food has surfaced every year since I have been in Pierre, and for a few years prior. Because South Dakota has no income tax and sales tax represents the largest portion of revenue that provides dollars for schools and Medicaid and at a lower level for Public Safety, all stakeholders need to be at the table to make reductions to the current system if there is to be success.
Of interest is how other states with no income tax raise revenue to fund people’s needs. The following states exempt food, and none have income tax: Alaska has no sales tax for obvious reasons; Nevada, 6.85 percent; Washington, 6.5 percent; Texas, 6.25 percent; Florida, 6 percent; Wyoming, 4 percent (natural resources); South Dakota, 4 percent (municipal sales tax on food would remain in place).
This begs the question of the workable level of state sales tax for South Dakota taxpayers if food is exempted. South Dakota has a very broad tax base, and if we are to revamp, we must first address the impact of increases on other areas. There is the potential for many unintended consequences that could result in South Dakota being at a disadvantage. This is a case of looking around the corners, and there are many.
The Public Safety Improvement Act was signed into law. This is an excellent example of over 400 stakeholders coming together to hammer out the details. Forty-three other states have been successful with drug and DUI courts and 24/7 programs, so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Prison space will be focused on violent and career criminals and the act calls for improved victim notification and restitution collection.
SB 125, the Shared Parenting Bill, which would make joint physical custody of children the standard in South Dakota, and require parents who are not in agreement to prove that it shouldn’t be ordered, failed on the Senate Floor.
SB 179 deals with drainage, and even though a study group worked on this during the summer, it appears there is potentially still work ahead.
HB 1156, which would have given Game, Fish & Parks the authority to manage nonresident waterfowl licenses rather than the legislature, failed. While on the surface this seemed to make sense, since the legislature doesn’t govern any other licenses, there were some concerns.
Although the Massage Therapy Licensing Bill was massaged from all directions and the licensing remains intact, there is a ton of massaging ahead. This bill was a result of significant issues that should have been resolved in the Health Department.
Congratulations on Hawkeye Valley Mill near Wessington Springs being listed on the National Register of Historic Places. This is an important historic site that was built circa 1894 as a power windmill capable of providing energy to grind feed or run other small machines. It is very rare for nineteenth-century power mills to have survived to the present.
This weekend a Cracker Barrel will be held at Plank Inn at 11 a.m. on Saturday and at 2:30 p.m. Monday in Wessington Springs. See you there.
— Tona Rozum, a Republican from Mitchell, represents District 20 (Davison, Aurora and Jerauld counties) in the South Dakota House of Representatives.