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Veto Politics: Legislators Willing to Throw Governor Overboard to Defend Tax Breaks?

Of all the bills he could have and should have vetoed, Governor Dennis Daugaard yesterday chose to veto three tax cuts. They were niggly favors for special interests—landlords, electric utilities, and VFW baseball coaches—but they were all essentially tax cuts, and Governor Daugaard vetoed all three on the argument that they would erode the tax base.

These three vetoes kind of bust up our usual partisan categories. A good Republican governor rejects tax breaks, some of them backed by bigger business interests like the home builders and the Chamber of Commerce. That’s the kind of fiscal responsibility our Republican friends don’t emphasize on the campaign trail.

But Governor Daugaard isn’t hitting the campaign trail again. He’s free to do, if not bold, at least sensible things that cast aside the usual campaign fetters.

The Governor’s vetoes do create an interesting strategic opportunity for legislators who are running again. They could come back on veto day, March 30, and override these vetoes. They could say to voters, “That mean old Governor tried to deny you tax breaks, but we set him straight! We’re fighting for your pocketbook!” Governor Daugaard could take three hits for the team, fade into the background, and let his Republican legislators take center stage with the tax-cutting avidity.

Might that opportunity entice enough legislators to rally behind these vetoed bills? Or is loving unity and leader worship still too important to GOP fortunes to allow them to rise up against the governor, even for the sake of tax breaks?


  1. Donald Pay 2015-03-21 15:46

    I wouldn’t call these “tax cuts.” They are welfare for a select few who have special access to the levers of power. Someone else has to pay when these sorts of special favors are handed out. So, yeah, these deserved the veto, but I wouldn’t have stopped there.

    Anyone know how much of your tax dollars are going to fund Denny’s Nuclear Waste Dump (ie., shale research) this year?

  2. rwb 2015-03-21 17:29

    I think there are plenty of voters who would like to throw the Governor overboard right now for thumbing his nose at the will of the voters!

  3. grudznick 2015-03-21 18:26

    Mr. Pay is infatuated with nuclear waste dumps going back to the ’70s. This goes to show how much money is in nuclear waste dumps and that eventually, say 30 or 40 years after Janklow, somebody will reap huge profits for the State of South Dakota and be able to give good teachers the raises they deserve.

  4. grudznick 2015-03-21 20:02

    That young Ms. Peters could be an interesting candidate for Governor in a few years. She might well come in with her nails out and try and really make a name for herself.

  5. leslie 2015-03-22 02:42

    grudz-nevada can’t get a nuke dump. they have thousands or hundreds of thousands of acres of dry lake beds that have been fractured with hundreds or thousands of nukes. why not just put it all down below there. I am fairly sure the sdsm& prez can study that nightmare there, and gravy, er,… greaz the skids, and sw sd can stay shaley dry, unmolested and our 850, 000 can sleep better knowing trains or pipelines of nuke waste or coal slurry are not poisoning our little bit of the last wild west. politically i’d prefer it in tx or az, like nj gov Christie did to the dem mayor, but we don’t have that kind of tomfoolery here in so dak.

    btw, what’s w/ taxpayers still sinking money into that hole we bought in lead from whoever owned it at barrick? cant republican particle physics pay its own way? not that there is anything wrong w/particle physics, other than it’ll prolly disprove god. then we shall see some denying!

  6. Nick Nemec 2015-03-22 06:35

    Has anyone stopped to think about these vetoed bills for a second? South Dakota charges sales tax on the salary paid to baseball coaches. Think about that for a second, we charge sales tax on salaries of certain professions. Does that sound like an income tax to anyone else? Where’s George Orwell when you need him?

    And then the Governor vetoes a bill to do away with the income, errrr “sales” tax on baseball coaches salaries because he is protecting the state’s “sales” tax base.

    Here in South Dakota things are what we say they are, and wages aren’t wages, they are “sales”.

    We are not a gang, we are a club!

  7. Donald Pay 2015-03-22 09:40

    grudz, I just asked a simple question. Apparently you don’t know, or aren’t sayin’.

    I’m fiscally conservative. The money being poured down Denny’s Nuke Dump Dream Hole could go to other needs. Education, health care, and infrastructure are more pressing needs, it would seem to me. I realize Denny is trying to use some state money to leverage federal and nuke industry money so that he gradually makes it impossible for citizens to ever stop the nuclear waste train, and his promise to let the citizens vote on it becomes just another of Denny’s lies. If you have information on how much of your tax money Denny is wasting on this, let us all in on the secret.

  8. grudznick 2015-03-22 10:24

    Is it $464,000, Mr. Pay? I had my granddaughter do some googling and she says it’s $464,000 so it must not be a secret or she’s just a better googler than most.

  9. Donald Pay 2015-03-22 11:16

    Grudz–The $464,000 figure was your tax money provided by the 2014 Legislature. We already knew about that. The interim Appropriations Committee toured the shale research operation in 2015. Now, the question is: are these guys dumping more of your tax money down the same rathole in 2015? Is this “shale research” shell operation obtaining money from the crony capitalist nuclear industry-federal government complex (still your tax money)? I just want to know if the $464,000 is the extent of the imbecility, or if they’ve upped the ante on crazy?

  10. grudznick 2015-03-22 12:38

    The ante on crazy always gets upped, Mr. Pay.

  11. Donald Pay 2015-03-22 15:31

    Grudz–Yes, I expect somewhere stashed in the budget there is some more money for crazy. I’m just wondering where it’s hidden. I’m also wondering how much more state and/or federal dollars are going down Daugaard’s rathole. It’s a fair question, given that he’s putting a lot of your tax money toward something that he said he was going to give state residents a vote on. Where’s the vote? What’s the process? How much more state money is going to be wasted before state voters get a chance to vote? Or, Grudz, was Daugaard just lying about that vote?

    You know there’s a way to test out if Daugaard is lying. There will be a bi-partisan bill introduced in Congress fleshing out how states can say no to a federal high-level waste dump. I’m sure the Governor is going to want to make his promise for a vote come true, so I’m sure he’s going to want to support that bill, and maybe suggest a few amendments, including one that allows a state’s veto to be used by state voters, rather than a Governor. Right now that bill allows Governors, local units of government and tribes to veto a federal high-level radioactive waste dump. That’s better than what we have now, but a state vote would be in line with Daugaard’s stated assurances.

    Here’s a challenge for Daugaard: Get Senators Thune and Rounds and Rep. Noem to be co-sponsors of that bill. Get them to propose amendments allowing statewide, local and tribal votes to be used as a veto. That can be done immediately. I’m sure Daugaard, Thune, Rounds and Noem are up to the challenge. It that bill doesn’t pass Congress by next Legislative session, I assume Daugaard would want to cancel all funding for his “shale research.”

  12. grudznick 2015-03-22 16:36

    I think people who worry too much about high-level nuclear waste dumps should be monitored for cognitive and endocrine dysfunction and utilize nonneurotoxic treatment until the long-term effects can be assessed.

  13. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-03-22 17:52

    Nick, that’s an interesting way to phrase the sales/use tax: it’s really an income tax on baseball coaches. I may have to write a new post on sales tax versus income tax.

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