In his zeal to swear at Rick Weiland, call him names, and tell him to “shut up,” Pat Powers doesn’t bother to read the actual draft of the anti-corruption proposal Weiland and friends are working on for submission to South Dakota’s voters.
Prime example: Powers blows his usual dog whistle, attempting to paint his effort to counter the influence of big money in South Dakota politics (corruption that Pat’s sponsors don’t want discussed) with the accusation that public financing of campaigns is really a stealth effort to pass a state income tax (something else Pat’s sponsors don’t want talked about):
The other thing that Weiland doesn’t mention is how we’re going to pay for all of this. Of course, many of the states with some public financing of campaigns are also states that have state income taxes. Which I’m sure if what they’ll be hoping for next when there’s no money to pay for his five million dollar boondoggle [Pat Powers, “Slick Rick Weiland Has Ballot Measure Drafted…,” Dakota War College, 2015.06.29].
The leaked draft Powers cites includes a funding section (see pages 28 and 29 of the version Powers posts). It does not mention an income tax. It does mention the following revenue sources for the public financing fund, which the draft names the Democracy Credit Fund:
- (a) Under § 43-41B-24, the administrator of the unclaimed property fund shall annually deposit ten dollars ($10) per South Dakota registered voter into the Democracy Credit Fund.
- (b) Other sources of revenue to be deposited in the Democracy Credit Fund shall include:
- (i) Unspent Democracy Credit funds distributed to any Participating Candidate who does not remain a candidate until the election for which they were distributed, or such funds that remain unspent by a Participating Candidate following the date of the election for which they were distributed;
- (ii) Fines levied by the Ethics Commission against candidates for violation of this chapter;
- (iii) Voluntary donations made directly to the Democracy Credit Fund;
- (iv) Other funds appropriated by the state;
- (v) Any interest generated by the Democracy Credit Fund; and
- (vi) Any other sources of revenue determined as necessary by the state [draft of anti-corruption ballot initiative, attributed to Rick Weiland and TakeItBack.org, published in Powers, 2015.06.29].
The draft cites five sources of revenue—unclaimed property, unspent Democracy credits, Ethics Commission fines, voluntary donations, and interest. The draft caps the annual amount added to the Democracy Credit Fund at $10 per registered voter in South Dakota, which by Secretary Krebs’s current count would be $5.28 million. The draft caps the accumulated amount in the fund at $12 million. So even if those five specified revenue streams don’t reach those caps, and even if the South Dakota Legislature said, “Let’s pass an income tax to help finance campaigns!” that income tax would be of the same order of magnitude as the measly bank franchise tax that we peacefully collect from our bankers.
The anti-corruption draft leaked to DWC does not call for a state income tax. It does not call for any new tax. But I guess we see the SDGOP logic here: If the Governor or the Legislature propose anything we don’t like, we don’t bother to read what the proposal actually says. We just scream, “Dennis the Menace and Lyin’ Brian“—calling names is essential in this logic—”will cause an income tax!!!” and vote it down. Ah, how simple!