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Governor signs bill shifting alcohol funds to counties

PIERRE (AP) -- South Dakota counties experiencing what officials say are rising court and jail expenses will get a share of state alcohol tax collections, under a measure Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed into law Tuesday.

PIERRE (AP) - South Dakota counties experiencing what officials say are rising court and jail expenses will get a share of state alcohol tax collections, under a measure Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed into law Tuesday.

Supporters successfully argued that counties dealing with alcohol-related costs should get a quarter of the tax money from a state alcohol fund. Such collections totaled about $14.4 million last fiscal year.

The law will provide a predictable, sustainable revenue source to help defray alcohol- and drug-related costs, said Duane Sutton, president of the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners.

"We think this is history-making," he said. "This money will come in handy at a critical time."

South Dakota counties get most of their revenue from property taxes, and state law limits yearly increases. Meanwhile, about 80 percent of county spending is required by law, limiting local officials' flexibility.

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The bill passed through both legislative chambers with margins that would suggest a veto from Daugaard could have been overridden.

A legislative committee during the 2016 session voted down a more substantial plan that would have allowed counties to impose sales taxes.

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