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Senate panel nixes tax breaks for greenhouses

PIERRE -- Legislation that sought tax exemptions on fertilizer, pesticide and fuel used by greenhouses was stopped Wednesday.

The Senate Taxation Committee voted 4-3 to kill the proposal from Sen. Tim Begalka, R-Clear Lake.

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"My concern is the can of worms it would open -- and whether that's taxable or not," said Sen. Chuck Welke, D-Warner. He voted against it.

Sen. Mark Kirkeby, R-Rapid City, voted for it. "It's an excellent opportunity to support our local growers," he said.

Several committee members who voted against the bill, including Sen. Bob Ewing, R-Spearfish, said the better approach might be adding greenhouses to the state law that defines agriculture.

"We impose our sales tax on the sale to the ultimate consumer," said David Wiest, the state's deputy secretary of revenue.