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Adelstein: Fund Teacher Pay by Raising Ag Levy to Residential Rate

Stanford Adelstein
Not expecting an invite to the SD Corn Growers convention any time soon….

Former State Senator Stanford Adelstein pays me to advertise his blog, but he doesn’t have to pay me to link to his solution to raising teacher pay in South Dakota. While the Blue Ribbon K-12 panel would fund its $75-million teacher pay proposal with more regressive sales tax, while Rep. Lance Russell proposes funding the Blue Ribbon K-12 panel’s $75-million teacher pay proposal with video lottery money, and while I offer two state income tax schemes and repealing sales tax exemptions as revenue sources, Mr. Adelstein suggests equalizing the tax rate on agricultural land with the tax rate on residential property to raise $77,717,862 (yes, the former Senator is a numbers guy).

Adelstein would sock farmers for $77.7 million because they’re already getting a far greater subsidy from the state via sales tax exemptions:

The agriculture sector doesn’t pay sales tax on many purchases and receives a sales tax exemption benefit greater than any other group. For example, the agriculture sector doesn’t pay sales tax on parts & repairs to farm machinery, agricultural services, seeds, fertilizers & pesticides, livestock, feed, nondomestic animals, fuel, and more. In a 2013 South Dakota Department of Revenue report, Summary of State Sales Tax Exemptions, the 2010 sales tax loss from the agricultural sector was estimated at $221,911,821. That’s a $221,911,821 subsidy to agriculture in sales tax alone, in 2010 alone.

The $221,911,821 was based on the current 4% state sales tax. If the state sales tax were increased by 1% it would mean an additional $55 million subsidy to agriculture interests—yet another state revenue source where agriculture isn’t paying its fair share [Stanford Adelstein, “The Fair Way to Fund the Blue Ribbon Task Force Recommendations,” A Way to Go, 2015.12.17].

Adelstein actually lowballs that subsidy. According to an updated summary of tax expenditures issued with the Governor’s FY2017 budget report this month, South Dakota gives the agricultural sector $361,044,580 in tax breaks. By Adelstein’s math, an extra penny sales tax would increase the value of that subsidy by $90,261,145.

The Department of Agriculture likes to brag that agriculture is “a major contributor” to South Dakota’s economy, generating $25.6 billion in economic activity. Adelstein’s $77.7-million property tax levy is 0.3% of that economic activity. Can agriculture support the pay raises that South Dakota teachers need?



  1. Paul Seamans 2015-12-18

    Property taxes should be used to support projects related to property ownership. I would even concede that property taxes could fund capital outlay expenses for schools. However, everyone should have a stake in funding teacher salaries. A constitutional amendment strictly for education should be given another shot. Just for education, no medicaid, no anything else. Only for education funding.

  2. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-12-18

    Cory, Senator Adelstein, Mr Seamans, and everyone else interested. South Dakota has been behind for many years in teacher pay, but that gap has been exacerbated in the last 10 years or so, ever since the State legislature froze property taxes and since then have also decreased the share of the amount that they are willing to pay toward education. I know we aren’t supposed to shout, but:


  3. WayneF 2015-12-18

    Yes, end the freeze on property taxes. BETTER YET institute a state income tax so people who make a million dollars– or more — pay a fair share of what it takes to run efficient and effective state government.

    AND tax the heck out of those people who live in RVs and call South Dakota “home.” I know several. Many vote — usually Republican — and skew the will of the people who actually live here.

  4. Steve Sibson 2015-12-18

    Interesting Adelstein would violate Jewish Mosaic law on coveting from his farmer friends.

    The only true conservative is looking at an existing source of revenue, instead of further implement of the Democratic/GOP tax and spend so-called liberal agenda.

  5. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    Sibby, there’s not a lick of sense in either of the two sentences you just wrote ^^^. (Just thought you might like to know.) Next thing I suppose you’ll be telling us is that Jehovah himself set State taxing amounts on SD ag property and demanded they never be increased nor decreased by carving it in granite on the back of Mt. Rushmore.

  6. Roger Cornelius 2015-12-18

    Every tax increase, fee, and tax freeze in the last 40 years was implemented by Republicans, NOT DEMOCRATS.
    By laying blame for taxes on Democrats, you are coveting a lie.
    The only Democratic agenda the party has to unseat tax and spend conservatives and send them to jail for their corruption.

  7. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    Good addition, Roger, the rest of what Sibby wrote was so off the wall, I forgot to even mention the political part of it. Nice catch.

  8. moses 2015-12-18

    Better yet have Sanford write a check then we can name every school Sanford in South Dakota.So tonight Sanford will play Sanford, in basketball.

  9. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Fleming, why do you let Powers bait you into a post then allow him to beat you up in the comment section?

  10. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Stan Adelstein is the second wealthiest white man in South Dakota. Of course he would expect other people to pay the taxes.

  11. mike from iowa 2015-12-18

    Sibson is god’s CIA doing covet operations on South Dakota innocents.

  12. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    In 2003 i met with Adelstein to persuade him to sell me the Roundhouse in Lead. He told me he would never sell it then promptly sold it to someone from out of state.

    Anyone who believes anything he says is delusional.

  13. Lynn 2015-12-18

    Roundhouse deal? Can’t blame him for that. Good for him.

  14. Porter Lansing 2015-12-18

    Why the enormous tax breaks for BigAg? What are they going to do? Pick up the land and take it to Texas? Or let it go fallow to spite their face? Tax ’em and pay the teachers.

  15. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Hey, Lynn: where’s your plan to end South Dakota’s education crisis posted?

  16. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    Larry, I don’t let Powers do anything. Next question?

  17. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    Kurtz, why did you let Pat Powers talk you into hating my friend Stan Adelstein? ;-)

  18. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Is beating up on Sibby more pleasurable than getting beat up by Powers?

  19. Lynn 2015-12-18

    A person chooses not to sell you some real estate and you hold a grudge against him for years? Let it go and move on. Why harbor all that toxic anger?

  20. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    Powers never says a word to me Larry. If he runs a post telling us it’s okay to let the tanning salons fry his kids and give them cancer, I’m going to argue with him. What business is it of yours anyway? Are you wanting everybody to be impressed that you monitor the blogs? Newsflash: We already know that.

    If Sibby wants to post here, he needs to make sense. So do you.

  21. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Adelstein routinely buys Mike Rounds’ support for Israel while unearthing minerals that used to belong to people who lived in the Black Hills for millennia and then has the temerity to make somebody else give him property tax relief. It makes me puke up in my mouth.

  22. Lynn 2015-12-18

    Spit the puke out of your mouth, move on and get a life. Go spend time with wife number 8 or 9.

  23. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Adelstein’s plan is DOA, people. Go find your leader, Lynn.

  24. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    That’s probably because you don’t want to understand what he’s saying. I don’t see Stan asking anyone for tax relief. I hear him saying ag people should pay closer to the same taxes on their property as everyone else does, since their industry already gets a whole bunch of other tax breaks. If you’re going to argue with him, argue the facts, not your prejudice. Otherwise you’re no more persuasive than Sibby is.

  25. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    p.s. Kurtz, my family came to the Black Hills to mine gold in 1876. You’re treading on thin ice with me here, buddy. You have zero monopoly on the social conscience. Zero.

  26. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    There are way better plans out there, Bill. I’d rather see implement taxes earmarked for highway infrastructure upgrades.

  27. Porter Lansing 2015-12-18

    Good comments, Mr. Flemming

  28. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    As long as oil prices stay low ethanol is going out of style very quickly. I really don’t care what happens East River because it’s already destroyed but West River can still be rewilded and preserved.

  29. Porter Lansing 2015-12-18

    excuse my misspelling of your name, sir … apologies

  30. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-12-18

    Bill F, that is after the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868 which gave the Sioux all the land west of the Missouri River including the Black Hills. So maybe your ancestors are part of the problem that the N/A have today and why they won’t accept the paltry some that the Federal Government is offering them.

  31. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-12-18

    paltry sum

  32. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    I want to see money for West River land owners who would put their ground back into native grasses be exempt from taxes and leased as wildlife corridors.

  33. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Exactly why i don’t want to see hemp grown on the rez, btw.

  34. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    The way i see it Adelstein’s plan is aimed right at the Hutterites who will ultimately control every acre of ag ground East River.

  35. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    I want to see domestic livestock confined to internment camps East River.

  36. mikeyc, that's me! 2015-12-18

    Adelstein did propose a summer time increase in sales tax when he was in the legislature. I thought it was a good idea.
    It died on the table. The legislature taxed groceries instead. Brilliant!

  37. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-12-18

    larry, are the Hutterites a religious organization or a coop, so that they don’t pay taxes?

    There have been plenty of examples of wealthy folks donating their property to the church and then avoiding the property taxes even though they live their until they die.

  38. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Sibby is right. Liberals are pussies.

  39. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    40 comments here, three under Sen. Adelstein’s article.

  40. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    There are two likes under his post at his FB page.

  41. Donald Pay 2015-12-18

    Stan’s attempt here is just a way to shift the focus off the rich skating by without having to pay their fair share of taxes for education purposes.

    First, the entire mid-1990s education funding changes need to be repealed and replaced, and the funding sources need to be expanded. The funding formula never was meant to fund education, but to deliver property tax relief. However, if you compare surrounding states to South Dakota you will find, even with the property tax freeze, South Dakota property taxpayers are funding education at the same level as surrounding states. You can fiddle around with the property tax and make ag take a bigger piece of the pie, but all that does is paper over the real problem, which is the lack of an income tax.

    Stan likes to make it seem as if ag is skating by not paying it’s fair share, but if ag picks up more of the property tax, it ought to go to tax reductions for other property tax payers. In other words, why tax South Dakota property more than in surrounding states for education revenue. Tax what is not taxed in South Dakota, which is Stan’s and his wealthy friends’ income.

  42. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Amen, Mr. Pay.

  43. Donald Pay 2015-12-18

    I do want to say that Stan has personally funded some outstanding programs in the Rapid City schools. He probably has contributed his fair share, but most other wealthy folks have not.

  44. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    Unfortunately, a State income tax is not on the table. The choice is between an increase in sales tax (for everybody, including poor people and already tax-gouged tourists) or in some people’s property tax (who are already getting plenty of tax breaks). I’ll argue that of those two, Stan’s seems like the better recommendation. Larry and Don, if you guys want to see a state income tax, come on back and give it a shot. From what I can tell, it will go over about as well as a fart in church, but hey, I’ll sure sign your petitions. :-)

  45. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    Per Stan’s philanthropy, yes, Don, you are correct. He has been very, very generous to his community, especially in the areas of arts, entrepreneurship, and education. Larry’s pounding on him is inexcusable.

  46. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Lobbyists are the tools of preference in Pierre. All we need to do is write some checks.

  47. Paul Seamans 2015-12-18

    If the idea is to tax wealth then in addition to an income tax there should be a tax on stocks and bonds? Not just a tax on dividends but a tax on the stocks and bonds themselves. If the stocks/bonds lose value over the year then that’s tough, that also happens to farm/pasture land. What say you to that Stan Adelstein.

  48. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    Pfft. Get your wallet out, big fella. ;-)

  49. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    Larry’s all hat and no cattle today. Must have eaten some old posóle.

  50. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Stan’s generosity is genuine. Nobody can take that from him. He’s been pounded on by way bigger bullies than i am.

  51. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Want to talk about taxes on billboards and advertising, Bill?

  52. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    Sure, Larry, fire away. Be sure to read the 1st Amendment first though. If you buy a political ad from me and I put it on a billboard for you, do you want to pay sales tax on it? Or would that be an infringement? Plus, here’s a news flash, if I design a billboard for you, and you buy the space from the billboard guy yourself, I already have to charge you sales tax on my design fee. So it’s not really my fight. It’s yours. Have at it. :-)

  53. Lynn 2015-12-18

    Bill does Larry plan on interrogating these cattle that will supposedly be put into internment camps East River with his plan? The cattle are going to be looking at this fella like what the heck is up with this guy?

  54. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    Based on his contribution to this thread, Lynn, I’d say it would be hard to tell who was interrogating whom in that context. The “shootin’ the bull” meme comes to mind on several graphic levels. ]:-o

  55. jerry 2015-12-18

    First off, I am no fan of Stan, I could care what he has donated, I only care about what he has given the citizens of South Dakota. His gift of Mike Rounds really put a damper on good feelings towards the man himself. So when I say that his idea about raising needed funds to fund education is a step in the right direction, it is on the plan, not the man.

  56. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    even your buddy, el gallo can be bought, bill.

  57. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Lynn, go find your halter and ask your master for a walk.

  58. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Cory, don’t generate snark unless you expect to manage your comment thread: k?

  59. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    twelve wife, lynn: get you facts straight.

  60. jerry 2015-12-18

    West River ground should have never been broken. It is not farm ground and never will be. The first winds of fall and spring, drive the dust high into the air on broken ground. This fills the creeks and rivers with blow. No till it back to prairie grass for grazing animals, then exempt it from property tax like a soil bank. If the owner still wants to destroy it with farming it, then pay the tax Stan recommends. Take the grasslands and put them back into tribal ownership along with all BLM ground, including the Fort Pierre National Grassland for tax exemption.

  61. jerry 2015-12-18

    The twelve wives of Christmas.
    12 Drummers Drumming
    11 Pipers Piping
    10 Lords a Leaping
    9 Ladies Dancing
    8 Maids a Milking
    7 Swans a Swimming
    6 Geese a Laying
    5 Golden Rings
    4 Calling Birds
    3 French Hens
    2 Turtle Doves
    and a Partridge in a Pear Tree

    Feel free to put the names in appropriate places, just so none of them are named Lynn

  62. Bill Fleming 2015-12-18

    Really classy Kurtz, troll a guy’s blog mercilessly, then blame him for not managing it. Wow.

  63. grudznick 2015-12-18

    Mr. Stan is a pretty swell fellow, no matter what anybody says. That he didn’t sell ol’ Lar that old Roundhouse building isn’t a bad thing. Can you imagine the hooka parlor’s Lar would have put up there on the 3rd floor, and instead of a neato train movie we’d probably have cult fiction.

  64. grudznick 2015-12-18

    On occasion Mr. Fleming is righter than right. Income tax talk is just a dead horse. You out of state fellows are welcome to come back (Lar, they’ll be watching you) and get some petitions going or run for the legislatures or get your own fellow in the legislatures to put up a bill for you. But it’s not going to happen.

    So if you want to raise money for good teachers or anything else you are going to have to increase a tax on somebody or reduce a tax break on somebody. All your blabber aside, there you go. Watch what the legislatures say after BluRT-F.

  65. grudznick 2015-12-18

    Bill, you know my thoughts on this from breakfasts past. We need to tax the service the billboard guy provides hard, and we need to tax political billboards twice as hard.

  66. larry kurtz 2015-12-18

    Maneuvering a refrigerated truck through the streets of Rapid City for three years teaches the driver a few things about traffic flow.

    7am to 8:30 is bad. Noon is bad. 4:30pm to 6 is bad.

    The train obstructs multiple egress opportunities simultaneously, often moving in the same direction as that restaurant that only allows deliveries during an open window closing in two minutes.

    On one exasperating morning thirty years ago, I shouted out of the cab of the truck, “Omaha Street should be one way from West Boulevard to Mountain View and West Main should be one-way all the way to St. Joe!” True story.

    Then, it dawned on me that Mountain View should be one-way to Jackson Boulevard, Jackson Boulevard should be one-way from Mountain View to West Main and Cross Street one way to Omaha St. Left-hand turn lanes appeared to me as if in a vision.

    Why do people have to die before things get fixed?

  67. grudznick 2015-12-18

    Best story yet, Lar.

  68. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-18

    Fleming, would South Dakota voters give state income tax a look if we promised to get rid of property tax?

  69. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-18

    Paul, you say, “Property taxes should be used to support projects related to property ownership.” Does that principle apply to all taxes? Should sales taxes support only projects related to sales/commercial activity? Help me understand the principle you’re laying out.

  70. grudznick 2015-12-18

    Mr. H, you would have to do one of those play-on-the-uninformed-voter things with petitions to put it on the ballot because the legislatures would never go for it. And then powerful forces would smite it all to heck with advertising. Never going to go, certainly not in my lifetime, not in yours, and likely not in your kids’. You are wasting your efforts. If you want more money for good teachers focus your effort on more probable sources. Or they will call you Don Heidelberger.

  71. Porter Lansing 2015-12-18

    Grud … Your negativity bias is the hallmark of your Republican Party’s brand. During this festive holiday season your shining personal optimism is truly a JOY TO THE WORLD.

  72. grudznick 2015-12-18

    Mr. Lansing, I am feeling particularly jolly this evening and considering new taxes. Goldarnit! I feel damn progressive.

    But I am telling you, as a fact, and perhaps I have hit on the raw base reason the libbies are dying on the vine in South Dakota, you have zero chance of an income tax so stop wasting your time there and worry about an achievable goal.

    But no, the libbies will joust at windmills and I will go Ho Ho Ho. For I am a Jolly Fellow tonight.

  73. jerry 2015-12-18

    Wow, straight outta ridge, impressive. Yep, it sure does look like Stan is on the right hunt for bucks. These guys been living pretty good on the taxpayer dime, seems like they should be able to pony up some cash for education.

  74. Porter Lansing 2015-12-18

    Grudge…It’s you older, angry, white males who are dying on the vine. How does it feel to be just another minority group, now. All your life you’ve been the white bullies and it came down to this. Your personal failure as a white man. You couldn’t even pass the country down to young conservatives because there aren’t enough to make a majority. Liberals run the USA while you just run your mouth. Ho Ho Ho

  75. Paul Seamans 2015-12-18

    My thinking is that there are already quite a few expenses that property taxes pay for. Roads, bridges, county buildings, police/fire protection, ambulance, health care, courts. Adding in capital outlay for schools would add to what would would be paid by property taxes.

    Just because a person owns property doesn’t mean that person has amassed wealth. When a person buys a farm or a business on a contract for deed that person is not any richer on the day that they sign the contract than they were the day before but they immediately take on a tax burden until they sell that property. If a person buys a business they will pay taxes on that business every year while a person can invest that same amount in stocks or bonds and not be required to pay anything to the county or to the state.

    One reason that property taxes are a popular way to raise money is that it is one tax you can’t avoid. You can’t hide any assets and if you don’t pay it the government can simply take your property. If your business or farm loses money then that is of no concern to the governing body, they still get their money.

    I have always felt that a state income tax is the proper tax to pay teachers salaries. Not property, not sales, not video lottery.

  76. Les 2015-12-18

    I’d like to know where sales tax is not paid on ag repairs, supplies etc. I charged it for 25 years. The state took it for those years. Nemac, Seamans, where are you?

  77. Curt 2015-12-18

    Thanks Les. You overpaid this corrupt regime for 25 years.

  78. Paul Seamans 2015-12-19

    The sales tax on machinery used to be 3% and the tax on parts/repairs was at 4%. In the last couple of years the tax on machinery was raised to 4% and the tax on repairs was removed. Why? I don’t know their reasoning.

  79. Porter Lansing 2015-12-19

    Wholesale items that are being resold are generally not subject to sales tax. Raw materials that are intended to become an ingredient or component of property that is being manufactured, processed, assembled or refined for future sale are also typically exempt.
    In addition, exemptions exist for products provided to support certain industries — such as agriculture, manufacturing and industrial processing — or to encourage certain activities for the public good (like pollution control).

  80. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-12-19

    Paul S, the state actually raised the tax on farm machinery to 4%? Wow, and autos and trucks are still at 3% even though every state bordering on SD is at 5% or greater. Plus, the cities that charge one or two percent sales tax on groceries can’t be bothered to collect sales tax on cars and trucks.

    There is one thing that you are forgetting in your analogy on buying at 22:48. That person is accruing equity as well as a tax write off on his federal taxes. The person who is renting gets neither of these and because his landlord gets no resident tax break, gets increased rent every year or every other year.

  81. Lanny V Stricherz 2015-12-19

    Jerry, Netanyahu has testes the size of a small planet. We already give him and his zionist apartheid government 10 million dollars a day and that is at the start of each fiscal year and before we have funded everything else. That also does not include the dome missile shields that we built for him, so that he has defense against any reaction he might get for how he mistreats the Palestinians.

  82. grudznick 2015-12-19

    Mr. Lansing, I guess I’ve never considered my personal failures as a “white” man. I’m not sure why you must always put things in racist terms, but you have given me a new angle from which to consider my personal failures, so I approve. You may continue.

  83. Porter Lansing 2015-12-19

    Well, Grudz – you certainly consider other races as their personal genetic composition. How does it feel to be just another minority, now? You may respond.

  84. larry kurtz 2015-12-19

    “Fleming, would South Dakota voters give state income tax a look if we promised to get rid of property tax?” What’s your answer to that question, Cory?

  85. Bill Dithmer 2015-12-19

    ” Cory,
    My thinking is that there are already quite a few expenses that property taxes pay for. Roads, bridges, county buildings, police/fire protection, ambulance, health care, courts.”

    And there is where your first problems will come from. If you raise ag property taxes to the same as owner occupied homes those ag people will want the same services that the home owners now enjoy. You know things like roads maintained on a regular basis, LEOs that can get there in the same amount of time as the city people.

    Right now in western SD there are many properties that it takes a minimum of an hour when the roads are good for emergency services, police, fire, ambulance. Fair is fair, if you want the same taxes paid as owner occupied homes you should expect the same level of service, nothing less will do.

    While east river has section lines and roads, there are very few of those in western SD. Its like two completely different states. This might work east river but never west of the Missouri unless you could guarantee that ag owners could recieve the same quality services as those living in their homes in or very near town. If you could make that guarantee you could have a big ag following, if not you wont.

    The Blindman

  86. Porter Lansing 2015-12-19

    FYI … state income tax is deductible from Federal income tax if you itemize.

  87. Les 2015-12-19

    Yes, Porter, for those of us in the income class of itemization. No brag, just facts that force my children to pay in the 40% range on taxation compared to my 15-28ish%.

    Brother Bill, you are correct. I’ve always said, it should be West Dakota and East Dakota but then both states would lose their ugly read headed step child.

    Though I haven’t agreed my ag property taxes are right, when I look at the percentages of tax to income on ag to my commercial biz, it takes 4 times the value of ag real estate to equal the income value of my commercial biz. So I’m probably wrong in thinking just because I have the money to pay more for my ag I should.

    I gave nothing extra to anyone, Curt. I have been out of that biz for 12 years and my tax collection was correct. However, if we accidentally overcharged, the state wanted that overcharge and required it to happen.

  88. moses 2015-12-19

    Porter your way above anybody here.Were you this sharp in Colarado also.

  89. Porter Lansing 2015-12-19

    Hi, Moses … I’m still in CO but SoDak is dear to my interests.
    Les, I guess my point is that so many in SoDak view a state income tax as a periah when it really isn’t. All the low income and almost all of the middle class get 100% of it back as a refund and it’s 100% deductible from fed. income tax. It would be perfect to guarantee yearly raises for teachers and only older, angry white males would complain but they complain about everything.

  90. Les 2015-12-19

    I think you’re wrong on the angry white male complaining of a state income tax, Porter. Not too many of them left in the teaching profession where the highest ratio of complainers on a state income tax exist. The teachers in SD alone could vote a state tax in if they wanted it and organized.

    That said, I’ve lived in Mn, Mt and Sd and found little to complain about with the state income tax. Of course at that time I wasn’t an older white male. Are you tan or just another older angry white male, Porter? ;)

    Btw, have you worked with or been served from Michael Evetts kitchen in Denver?

  91. Les 2015-12-19

    Should be Michael Vaux, Porter. Old white brain or lack thereof.

  92. O 2015-12-19

    Cory: “Fleming, would South Dakota voters give state income tax a look if we promised to get rid of property tax?”

    Forgive me for jumping on question addressed to another, but the answer (historically) is no. Even when people sit down and see that their taxes will go down overall swapping income for property taxes, they still vote against their interests and vote no. That well has been thoroughly poisoned.

    The taxation and fairness issue has to be an issue of the state’s whole $4B+ budget – not just a bit of it here and there.

  93. Porter Lansing 2015-12-19

    I don’t know Michael Vaux, Les. Does he have a restaurant?
    And, oh yeah…I’m an older, white male but I’m a Democrat. I’m rarely angry and never about politics. It’s the angry Archie Bunker types that hate every new idea before even trying to make it work that are now a minority. And it makes them very angry. And they’re the Republican base.

  94. Les 2015-12-19

    Michael retired a few years back.

    You fooled me Porter. Usually folks attacking others are seeing something in the person they attack that is wrong inside themselves. Something to think about anyway so civility can have a least a small piece of the pie.

  95. Porter Lansing 2015-12-19

    I fight bullies, Les. That’s what I do and I go where the bullies are. There are more on Power’s site but that site is on it’s last leg and his Republican conservatives (that know how to read) have brought the bully over here.
    It’s Christmas and I needed a few Conservative balls to hang on our tree. Hickey, Grudz and Jones weren’t using their’s, anyway.

  96. grudznick 2015-12-19

    Lar, the voters in the Great State of South Dakota, home to some of us who visit Mr. H’s blog albeit a minority, would not accept an income tax even IF the property tax could be repealed. Because it would cripple the poor and the stupid with an additional tax who today only pay property tax through the rent on their trailers, and the rent on their trailers would not go down.

  97. Lynn 2015-12-19

    Grudz, It’s their pipe dream.

  98. grudznick 2015-12-19

    They’re already paying income tax in their states, Ms. Lynn, and they just want us to suffer the same pain. So much for libbie joy.

  99. Don Coyote 2015-12-19

    @Porter Lansing: “All the low income and almost all of the middle class get 100% of it back as a refund and it’s 100% deductible from fed. income tax.”

    Big frickin’ deal. I sincerely hope you’re not doing income tax returns as your primary job or even part time.

    1) The amount of withholding you get back is not indicative of the amount of tax you’ll pay. It is only represents the excess amount you’ve withheld do to poor tax planning.

    2) Colorado has a 4.63% flat income tax. Flat means tax is applied to a $10,000 income at the same rate as it would be to a $1M income. Using the Fed’s calculation of a median adjusted gross income of $41,000 for CO, Colorado would be collecting $1,898 in income taxes.

    3) Applying approximately a Federal 15% effective tax rate on the $1,898 Colorado tax deduction from Federal taxes saves you $285 in Federal taxes but still leaves you with a state income tax bill of $1,613.

    Just sayin’

  100. jerry 2015-12-20

    Maybe the former senator Adelstein would like to donate that land as it taxes as worthless. $34 bucks a year could be found in his couch if he does deep couch sitting.

  101. leslie 2015-12-20

    I told stan the round house would be a perfect Austin city limits. no vision for a priceless beautiful structure across from kevin’s house. stan was art’s buddy so when when the Duhamel trading post gave its Indian collection to the city, after the museum lost joan kroc’s gift, stan bought naming rights to the journey. he should call his buddy trump to manage it. or rounds. there is a manager.

  102. barry freed 2015-12-21

    I posted that article to illustrate that we have no idea how well the county assesses various properties as the system is not very accessible.
    The county assesses a house in Rapid for what it would sell for, but 40 acres in the city limits assessed as AG is taxed $250 per year.

    With a dynamic website we could search: County, City, Sort: low to high, high to low, division, age, bedrooms/baths, square footage, and any of the criteria used to assess. Then we could compare our taxes to “like” properties.

  103. Les 2015-12-21

    You worry about guys like Stan on ag. There are many small pieces that fit ag and hold families with several generations of ownership in the Blsck Hills. Force them to pay commercial property rates and a they lose those little farms to the developers who are the major push behind getting them classed at higher rates.

  104. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-21

    Barry, for you and for bloggers everywhere, I will add to my legislative agenda a proposal to require (and pay for) every county to establish a searchable online database of all property in its boundaries. Or maybe I’ll simply require that the counties digitize all those records, send them to Pierre quarterly, and let the state build a single unified online database.

  105. larry kurtz 2015-12-21

    Good eye, Les.

  106. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-21

    We have property tax revolts, but we never hear about sales tax revolts. The indigestion income tax causes folks seems to be in the middle (at least in rational states, not places like South Dakota where, as O notes, that well has been poisoned, beyond reason, I’d contend).

    I guess we have to trick people into paying whatever tax we impose. We have to do it gently, without their noticing all at once. Property tax has that those semi-annual “Holy cow!” moments when the county sends out the assessment cards and folks have to trundle off to the courthouse to write those big checks (hmmm… is there less property tax opposition from folks paying their taxes monthly through their mortgage?). Income tax has that awful annual moment when you look at 1040 line 63 and see the price of being an American, but that shock is tempered by the possible refund (Don Coyote, take your fiscal superiority and jump in the lake). Sales tax never shocks us like that; we just let town and state nickel-and-dime us every day at Kesslers, Qdoba, Herbergers….

    Is there a way we could make income tax as unshocking as sales tax?

  107. barry freed 2015-12-25

    You write of owner occupied, not commercial. There are properties in the Hills with 100 acres total and 10 acres of meadow that couldn’t support 5 cow/calf pairs that are taxed $400 per year because they are rented out as “ag”. The $600K house is taxed appropriately, but land is not. Granted, the place you write of, owned by homesteaders usually not rich in liquid assets, will sell for $10K per acre, but at the same time, I pay more in taxes alone, than this c.1955 house cost new with PITI. It’s the same thing, why should those lucky or smart enough to buy millionaire property when it was $100 per acre be excused from the rules with which the rest of us have to live? The banks don’t say: you only paid $100 per acre 50 years ago so we will only lend to you based on that amount. When they do offer it for sale, it is at $10K, not $1,000 per acre. It’s just another of many tax dodges for the rich the rest of us have to make up for.

  108. leslie 2015-12-25

    thank you barry

  109. Les 2015-12-25

    Good morning and Merry Christmas, Barry.

    After reading your comment several times, the comprehension just isn’t there. I’m thinking you are saying, tax the poor settlers out of their small acreage so the developers like Stan can find them on the market to develop?

    Take another run at making your point in a couple of sentences. Remember, think big, less is more.

  110. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-26

    $10K per acre? That seems cheap for Black Hills land. I see 2.95 acres on Ivory Cliff Lane west fo Rapid on 44 offered for $245K. But then there’s another parcel on Nemo Road, 144.25 acres, asking $721,250.

    Barry raises a fair point about the value of the land. When you go to the bank, you can access capital proportionate to the sale value of the land. But we only tax wealth once, right? Maybe we should make life fairer for Barry and for those lucky homesteaders by taxing only their liquid assets. Lower the taxes on Barry’s little house and instead tax his income. Equalize the property tax levy on Barry’s house and those now-millionaire acreages, let the current owners enjoy that land and make what money they can gardening, ranching, or logging (and tax that income), then apply an income tax or a capital gains tax when they finally liquidate the property. Would that feel fair to you, Barry?

  111. barry freed 2015-12-26

    What I am saying is if someone owns 100 acres and it can only generate $5K of income per year, it is a hobby, not Ag. They have a larger lot than most is all. To value and tax a single .10 acre lot in town the same or more than 100 acres in the Hills is not equitable. The are no “settlers” in the Hills, only their descendants. They may be land rich, but homeowners are only house rich, why should one make up taxes for the other? People of means work the system buying 100 acres, loping off 1 or 2 acres for the house, rent the other 98 acres for grazing and pay $500 per year taxes on land worth $1 million on the open market. Yes, they pay $7K per year for the house, but it 5,000 square feet of luxury.

    It would be close, Cory. The people getting by with a job in town and selling 10 cows per year are not living high, even though the live in beauty, surrounded by millionaires. My dream tax base would be income only with no property tax at all. Roughly figuring, it wouldn’t lower my tax burden any, but it would make my home safe should I develop a serious health issue and not be able to work full time anymore. Income tax only would nearly eliminate cheating and cronyism, and to cheat the State, one would have to cheat the Treasury also… not a prudent thing to do.

  112. Les 2015-12-26

    Barry@”why should those lucky or smart enough to buy millionaire property when it was $100 per acre be excused from the rules” Unlucky and stupid. So the rules need to be changed for those?

    Property taxes are inherently unfair due to differences to costly to judge. City folks live with improvements and services not seen in the country. Tax the capital gains, Barry. You wish for a tax system which puts all average to low income old folks out of their homes because they were lucky or smart enough to buy or build where they had good appreciation. That was everyone through 2008. Give rural the same services you enjoy in town at the same rates you pay in town and swallow your share of that. You can hardly eliminate all property taxes but the insanity of the SD cost versus almost all other areas dictates a need for change!

    Cory, I could live with your ideas. Can you get your fellow brother and sister educators on board and pass them?

  113. barry freed 2015-12-27

    Les, so if I buy my folks’ house from them, the valuation for me should be $12K? Same thing you support to make the average and low income old folks pay the freight for those who own millions in Hills property.
    It is noted that you avoided the issue of the rich who buy large tracts, split the house from the land and pay almost nothing in property taxes on the land. Is it because you are benefiting personally from this awful system? Time to disclose as you accuse me of wanting to throw old people out of their homes.

  114. leslie 2015-12-27

    this conversation is the same as the thread about noem and ryan sleeping in their DC offices, using public (and private, when opportunity arises) janitorial, bath room, shower, gym and closet space, and airlines “for free!”

    the explosive black hills land prices per acre range from a few hundred to a few hundred thousand dollars an acre. the guy with an “owned” view, public plowed access full of water, gas, electrical and fiber entrenched to the lot line, who pays almost nothing in tax for the bulk of the surrounding estate, is no different than trump bragging how smart he is filing bankruptcy 4 times,

  115. Les 2015-12-27

    I don’t know of anyone buying large tracts of land and splitting the homes from the land, Barry. Farmers and Ranchers don’t need to do such. Are you saying, the majority of these forty +/- acre plots which most are in the Hills, are rich guys. If so you are full of it.

    I do know of a man who purchased 6000 acres of homestake ground. I imagine it is taxed at ag and I also imagine he pulls pieces off to develop. Are you willing to break ag and the majority who are these cash poor forty acre owners just to get the one guy you jealously despise?

    I own nothing taxed ag but a ranch I’ve always said isn’t taxed as highly as it should be but when compared to the income of my commercial property it takes 4 times the value in ranch to equal my commercial income.

    You can get into that smart lucky bunch, Barry. There is no Royal jelly necessary.

  116. leslie 2015-12-27

    liens come to mind. thousands of acres. hill top, isolated residence. private airstrip. public air pollution, highway destruction. minerals.

    the royal jelly in sd is spelled gop

  117. Les 2015-12-27

    As I said, break all the little guys on their 40 acres so you can get those two or three you so jealously hate.

  118. leslie 2015-12-27

    lets see if thats true. homestake still owns, tens or hundreds of thousands of acres in the hills, or is it barrick. margie? lets see if les is worried about unintended consequences-the little guy, or the one big fish in the little pond. prove it.

    i could be wrong. show us

  119. Les 2015-12-27

    Happy New Year, leslie.

  120. grudznick 2015-12-27

    It is “Barrick”, Ms. leslie.

    And the other big mining outfit, Goldcorp, recently sold out to some French sounding outfit. But they dig and they dig and the rip the earth apart with big pushing machines.

  121. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-27

    So Barry recognizes that an income tax would reduce the risk of his being priced out of his house. Les recognizes the inherent unfairness of property tax. Barry, Les, I know you’re not representative of the entire electorate, but if you can see the greater fairness of an income tax over property tax, why does everyone else in the state treat income tax like the Anti-Christ?

  122. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-27

    Les, I’ll work on my teacher friends to support this idea. Now can Stan’s neighbors get Stan to back an income tax? Would replacing property tax with income tax eliminate what he sees as unfair subsidy to agriculture?

  123. Les 2015-12-28

    I don’t think replacing the property tax is the answer but lessening the impact of sales and property tax with a less regressive tax would not hurt our state at all. Those with little, spend every dime. Let them grease the economy rather than the kings, paw.

    Contrary to some beliefs that the poor pay no or little property tax, as renters they pay through rents. I’m not going to try to get into Stan’s mind here. I do think someone could put numbers together and pull off an initiative. I also don’t believe anyone has ever put it together with examples as they’ve done with opt outs.

    I doubt you’d ever get the Gov’s sig.

  124. leslie 2015-12-28

    rohr, have u met grudz. you two will be very happy together?

  125. caheidelberger Post author | 2015-12-29

    Not replace but lessen—I’ve been told the “three-legged stool” is the proper model for taxation, spreading the tax burden across multiple sources to provide more stability. South Dakota’s tax system could use that third leg.

  126. barry freed 2016-01-07

    I think the resistance to an income tax is the legislature will raise it every year. Add an income tax to the State Constitution that lays out all increases over the next 100 years and does not allow any modifications without the approval of a minimum number of citizens.

    Again, we have enough taxation, what we need is a dynamic website of every Government purchase order to track where this money is going.

  127. Les 2016-01-07

    Interesting thought from Grud as I peruse this post. What will bring the poor renters cost down if we implement an income tax? Slumlords feeling mercy on them?

    Barry’s optimistic with SD lasting 100 years. At our current rate of corruption we are less than ten years from becoming the new Puerto Rico of the west.

    No income tax until teachers are willing to share their new found wealth and help vote it in.

  128. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-07

    Barry, that’s interesting… but does any such fear prevent citizens from having a sales tax and property tax? Is the two-thirds majority required for any tax increase not enough protection for citizens?

    I’ll agree there is plenty of corruption taking place. Will we find $75 million worth to fund the teacher pay increases?

    Les, for the umpteenth time, I’ll rally teachers to support an income tax, but they aren’t the political force to make it happen. And I’ve never said teachers wouldn’t share in the income tax. By definition, if we raise their pay, they are going to pay more income tax. Bring it on!

  129. Les 2016-01-07

    How will reducing RE taxes with an income tax help the poorest of our state not continue to bear an unfair portion of tax, Cory? Are the landlords going to reduce rents with prop tax reductions? The poor will now pay some state income along with their federal, sales and rent at rates required of the prior re tax rates.

  130. bearcreekbat 2016-01-08

    Les, couldn’t we address the issue you raise with a progressive income tax, such that no one pays any income tax until their income exceeds the federal poverty level by, say, 50%? Meanwhile, for those who will pay income taxes, why not use different tax rates depending on annual income, so that someone with an income of 50% over the federal poverty rate pays something like 5%, while folks with incomes 200% above the poverty rate pay 20%, on up until perhaps someone earning 1,000% over the threshold pays 80% of each dollar earned that is above the 1,000% mark? These percentages are arbitrary possibilities that would obviously require tweaking to coordinate rates with federal rates so the combination would be acceptable, but you get the idea.

    I was thinking about Lyndon Johnson’s war on poverty the other day and how many folks argue we lost that war because there still is poverty in the Country. I agree that there is still way too much poverty, but I disagree that we have lost the war. Instead we have too many people who oppose winning the war by a straight forward reallocation of existing revenue. We could win the war if we funded poverty programs instead of wasting so much money on our military industrial complex. One estimate is that it would take another $175 billion annually to end US poverty, while we are spending $700 billion annually for our military industrial complex. If we could just get by with $525 billion annually for defense, then the savings could be used to end poverty is the USA.

  131. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-08

    Helping the poor: I agree, Les, that on face, replacing some chunk of property tax with income tax takes more money out of the pockets of a minimum-wage worker who owns no property. And I’ll bet that no matter how I jiggle it, someone whom I’d rather not tax more will end up paying more taxes under Plan Heidelberger than under the status quo. Here’s how we minimize that impact:

    1. Do what BCB says: impose a progressive income tax with a fair personal exemption and standard deduction, higher rates for higher income brackets, and nothing else (no loopholes, no crazy credits and deductions, nothing to game at the tax office or in the Legislature).
    2. Don’t just replace property tax, which only property owners pay. Use the income tax to replace sales tax, too—specifically, coordinate the income tax rates to generate the new revenue we want for K-12, put our target amount in the property tax reduction fund, and offset the impact of eliminating the sales tax on food and clothing. The amount poor renters save on food and clothing should balance nicely with the amount they’ll pay in income tax.
    3. Count on some rental savings. No, not every landlord will lower rents out of the goodness of his heart. But as new landlords enter the market and calculate what they need to cover taxes, mortgage, maintenance, and income, more of them will settle on rents that are lower than previous landlords calculated on comparable properties.Markets are powerful things. (Oh! But landlords will also pay income tax on their rental income, so maybe there’s not advantage to be had here.)
  132. mike from iowa 2016-01-08

    I like bcb’s idea of not taxing poor until income exceeds poverty level by 50%. I just happen to believe a certain political party will whine that the poverty level is bloated beyond belief and the wealthy need the tax breaks or they can’t keep churning out jobs they already aren’t churning out. We will get the dame old same old-poor people are totatally responsible for their own plights and are holding back the wealthy from having it all.

  133. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-08

    Heck, Mike, I’d argue that taxing people making just 50% of poverty is already a compromise with those who think the poverty rate is bloated. I’d start from 100%: If you’re in poverty, you don’t pay income tax, because you need every penny of your income for food, clothing, and shelter.

  134. bearcreekbat 2016-01-08

    Cory, actually I suggested and mike agreed with taxing folks who earn 150% of the poverty level, not 50%. The 50% figure was intended to to be 50% more than the poverty level, which translates to 150%. Sorry for the lack of clarity.

  135. mike from iowa 2016-01-08

    We all have Obama phones and new SUVs and buy energy drinks and steaks,lobsters,etc with our food stamps and go to strip bars and gamble and who knows what else. Of course I haven’t heard one of them say any of this stuff lately. Maybe they are content with taking billions of dollars of food stamps away from the poor. Then again,it is an election year so I live and hope.

  136. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-10

    The lack of clarity was in my lenses, Bear! Sorry about that!

  137. grudznick 2016-01-10

    Income tax will never lower housing costs for renters. It may, in fact, increase them, as the lords will declare they must raise the rent on the apartment dwellers to pay this new drain on their coffers. The lords will indeed not lower rent based on the removal of their property tax.

  138. Les 2016-01-10

    Th fair tax is still the fairest tax. No tax on all basic life needs. Tax on equipment, new vehicles and luxury. Ag spends millions on equipment for Stan wanting to get even. My non ag biz spends similarly.

    We in biz spend to cover needs but also spend to minimize federal income tax. It’s a win win for SD to throw a tax on spending that doesn’t hit the poor.

    Btw, Bernie 45% – 48% in Iowa on little folks money, is a big deal in my book. The old rip now says she came out against the derivatives. Remind me who (Billary) signed the dereg. What a crock.

  139. Porter Lansing 2016-01-10

    The fair tax is a consumption tax that highly benefits upper income citizens. It is far from fair and that’s why it’s touted by the rich and their dupes. Low income people pay a tax on more of their income because they spend more of their income. The higher income people don’t spend all their income and thus are taxed on less. Furthermore, everywhere it’s been tried it leads to a culture of buying things under the table. Across Europe it’s common to be asked during a purchase if you want a receipt. If not, the price is lower and the gov’t gets no tax on the sale. e.g.-Greece
    USA’s income tax system is just fine. The tax rate on the rich is too low … that’s the problem. It’s called trickle down and it’s been a fraud ever since Reagan lowered taxes on his rich friends/

  140. Les 2016-01-10

    It is always going to be lopsided towards the rich until you scalp them dead, Porter. The poor pay little to no tax with a fair tax. The wealthy would pay a tax on a yacht. Tell me our sales tax on food and survival for the poor isn’t the most regressive tax alive.

    Don’t need more laws covering fraud. Just need the current laws enforced as in the need for no new gun laws.

  141. grudznick 2016-01-10

    I am on board with a flat tax. Every single body contributes a proportionate share of how much they earn. Working harder is not punished. Does the fair tax only tax your eating and buying? It does seem fair indeed.

  142. Porter Lansing 2016-01-10

    Only if the mortgage interest deduction was removed.

  143. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-11

    The fair tax is not fair because “proportionate share” is not the same percentage point for everyone. A $1,000 tax is a far greater burden on a worker making $20,000 than is a $10,000 tax on a worker making $200,000.

    A progressive tax does not punish working harder. Nowhere in a properly bracketed tax code does a person making $101,000 pay more in tax than a person who went home early a couple nights and made only $100,000.

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