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DFP Poll Results: Readers Want Action on Tax Reform, RV Voters, and Eminent Domain

The latest Dakota Free Press poll finds strong support for tax reform in South Dakota. I offered you ten proposals that came up in our discussion of things we’d like the South Dakota Legislature to do in its 2016 Session. Here are the issues you chose as Legislative priorities:

What laws should the SD Legislature pass? (Pick up to 5.)
Proposal Percent Votes
enact corporate income tax 61% 95
restrict RV voting 51% 80
cut sales tax exemptions 50% 78
enact personal income tax 43% 67
restrict eminent domain 43% 67
public vote on nuke waste 34% 53
lower no-bid contract amts 32% 50
hire more auditors 31% 49
tighten TIF rules 29% 45
allow e-petitions & e-voting 27% 43
Total Voters: 157

Corporate income tax, personal income tax, and elimination of sales tax exemptions—evidently the readers of this blog feel strongly that our current state tax system is not fair or sufficient to meet South Dakota’s needs.

RV voting made the list. Senator Craig Tieszen may beat us to the punch on filing a bill on that topic, and we need to tread carefully on Constitutional grounds so we don’t completely disenfranchise RVers who choose to make paid mailboxes in Rapid City, Alexandria, Madison, and Sioux Falls their home.

Restricting eminent domain rounds out the top five and offers us liberals on this blog a chance to reach out to our conservative neighbors and make a case for defending property rights against corporate encroachment.

I’ll take a little time to research relevant statutes and draft appropriate language. I’ll publish the final bills this week so you can send them to your legislators and say, “Hey, why not?”

The poll ran from December 30 to this morning, January 3.


  1. Donald Pay 2016-01-03 10:06

    Just in case there is interest, I continue to research potential legislation/initiative language regarding the nuclear waste issue. The issue is complex because it involves researching federal and state statutes and numerous cases involving state pre-emption on nuclear matters, as well as shifting federal policy on radioactive waste disposal. However, as indicated in my final paragraph, a moratorium bill could be structured fairly easily.

    The Department of Energy just started to engage on public efforts to flesh out their consent-based siting policy, which would have the Obama administration devolve more power to the states in siting matters. This could be a plus, but it depends on how that occurs. At any rate, federal policy may be in flux for a year.

    Unfortunately, the Obama administration’s Department of Energy has been extremely secretive and corrupt about the deep borehole project, refusing to release information on which entities have submitted responses to their Request for Proposals on deep borehole disposal tests. This is really a Secretary of Energy Moniz project, and he wants to fast-track the deep-borehole project in the face of considerable scientific skepticism. I believe Moniz got enough money in the latest budget deal to push forward with at least a half-assed approach at “testing” the idea. They have been talking to the Governor and a few of the SD elites over the last several years, and getting their consent, trying to keep everything on the down-low. This is what needs to be slowed down.

    Although federal pre-emption currently exist there are ways that the states can essentially overrule the feds, by regulating the non-radiological aspects of borehole disposal. I do remember we pushed for a ban on disposal in this manner in state law/regulation, and, if I remember correctly, we did get it enacted. I’m not sure if it still stands. This is another thing that I have to check into.

    My first inclination, however, is to put forward a simple moratorium on any testing for any concept of radioactive waste disposal until the federal government promulgates a consent-based siting policy that has at its core a statewide vote. This is what Governor Daugaard had promised, after all. It shouldn’t be that controversial.

  2. Porter Lansing 2016-01-03 10:06

    Polls offer insight into “we the people”.

  3. Richard Schriever 2016-01-03 10:08

    RVers frequently claim their only interest in voting is for the national offices (President, US senate and US house). I’d say allow that – and prohibit local election voting for those not physically resident for at least 37% of the year.

  4. grudznick 2016-01-03 11:24

    Polls offer insight into what a tiny partisan sliver of the readers of blogs think, many votes coming from people who can’t even vote in South Dakota. It is a darn shame the nuclear waste bill didn’t make the cut. Everybody should be against nuclear waste, I know I am.

  5. Paul Seamans 2016-01-03 11:30

    I want to thank Donald Pay for keeping us updated on the nuclear waste disposal issue. Not many people in South Dakota are aware of this. I feel that the only way to stop this is through the initiative process. Gov. Dennis Daugaard has pretty much indicated his stance on this and his Republican stooges will not buck him.

  6. bearcreekbat 2016-01-03 12:14

    I don’t really understand the angst about RV-ers. Why demonize people simply because they enjoy traveling and want to declare SD their residence? How is anyone actually harmed by this, other than folks who harbor deep prejudices against particular groups without really knowing what members of the group are actually about?

    What we should focus on instead is a progressive income tax. If a so-called “rich” RV-er, which is as likely as a unicorn (if they were indeed “rich” they would travel by plane and stay in expensive hotels – RV-ing is, by definition, an attempt to live cheaply), is so afraid of a state income tax, then they will declare residence somewhere else. I say we should adopt a progressive income tax and welcome all those folks that believe it in their best interest to become residents of SD.

  7. grudznick 2016-01-03 12:23

    Mr. bat, I believe that the angst of libbies about RVers is that they fear most of these demonized people are conservative in their voting, because they have enough money to have an RV. This is exactly like the libbies who claim that some conservatives demonize people on welfare because they believe they are libbies, because they have no money. To them I simply say look at Mr. kurtz, he has lots of money and travels prodigiously from his home in New Mexico often to the Great State of South Dakota so he can visit people and look into business interests. It is not just conservative voters who travel.

  8. mike from iowa 2016-01-03 12:28

    I suspect many votes come from in-staters who shouldn’t be allowed to vote at all.

  9. mike from iowa 2016-01-03 12:31

    FYI-iowa businesses are whining about unfair competition from Nebraska and South Dakota-both states with higher minimum wages than iowa. On the front page of the Sunday Des Moines Register today.

  10. Porter Lansing 2016-01-03 12:34

    Grudz is like a bitter and often distasteful item one adds to a stew. On it’s own, no one likes it but as a part of a larger dish, it’s absolutely necessary for depth of flavor and balance.

  11. Leslie 2016-01-03 12:55

    Bcb-my understanding is 3000 republican votes got dumped into a recent dist 33 race.

  12. grudznick 2016-01-03 13:06

    Are you calling me a horseradish root, Mr. Lansing? I am ok with that. And I don’t think you can take away somebody’s vote just because they live in an RV down by the river.

  13. Porter Lansing 2016-01-03 13:17

    More like a fibrous and calloused rutabaga.

  14. grudznick 2016-01-03 13:24

    Rutabagas are good for what ails ya!

  15. Richard Schriever 2016-01-03 18:45

    The issue with RV voters on LOCAL issues is that they tend to vote AGAINST things like a wheel tax implementation to pay for county road and bridge repairs. Why would an RV “resident” want to pay for better roads and bridges in a locale they NEVER frequent? It’s got nothing to do with party registration. It has to do with actual concern/interest about the issues in the community they vote in.

  16. grudznick 2016-01-03 18:59

    These RV voters are also generally a curmudgeonly lot and tend to vote in people like one of our Pennington County commissioners who is insaner than most against taxes.

  17. jerry 2016-01-03 19:35

    RV’ers are pretty well off and they are scared to death of loosing it.

    The middle class is going fast folks. Dropping like an anvil in a vacuum. They cling to the fact that they are just a little better than the brown and black people and they want to try to maintain it. They vote in this cluster of mailboxes for those that they think will keep their situation alive, white representation, why else would you vote for a d—head like Phil Jensen. The guy has the charisma of a venereal wart. I wonder if anyone checks to see it they have committed voter fraud by voting here and voting in their home districts.

  18. mike from iowa 2016-01-03 19:44

    bcb-everyone in the entire Universe knows that the wingnut party is the party of voter suppression and yet every election cycle comes around and you hear that Dems are committing voter fraud. It is uncanny,just like every 2 years there is a hue and cry that Obama is taking away guns and the wingnut base goes apeshit on cue. I can’t guess what is going on. Is there an institution that turns out clueless right wing voters somewhere?

  19. larry kurtz 2016-01-03 19:58

    That Cory chose to rig a poll to fit his narrative should be a lesson to all the readers of DFP.

  20. grudznick 2016-01-03 20:23

    Mr. H doesn’t vote more than once in his polls. I would have expected Mr. Pay to spend some late nights upping the vote for the nuclear waste option by calling all of his friends but that only pushed it into 6th place.

  21. leslie 2016-01-03 21:49

    Gerrymandering. Why not dump those 3000 votes in a white wealthy district that NEVER has a chance to vote democratic?

  22. leslie 2016-01-03 21:53

    Don, Suzie, Leon-perhaps we need an environmental subcmtte at county or state level to run with this?

  23. leslie 2016-01-03 23:22

    We need a medicaid expansion bill. Top of the list. “I hate that” daugaard is a narrow non-empathetic white man ill equipped as a governor.

  24. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-04 09:23

    Donald, do keep researching. The borehole issue hasn’t hit the big press much yet, so I can understand that it doesn’t leap up as a priority even for readers here. But we should be ready for it whenever there is an opportunity to debate it, and we should talk to legislators to get this issue on their radar.

    You’re right—Daugaard did say he would require the consent of the voters for any nuclear waste dump, but we repealed that statutory requirement in 1987. Just how would he put this matter to a public vote?

  25. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-04 09:26

    No rigging, Larry. I entered no vote.

  26. larry kurtz 2016-01-04 09:28

    Your choices of polled items was so incomplete that it bordered on ludicrous.

  27. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-04 09:29

    RV voters—Bearcreekbat and Richard pose an instructive argument. Everyone has a right to vote. We should not discriminate against people who adopt a transient lifestyle. Everyone has to be from somewhere, even transients. But a community has an interest in ensuring that decisions are made by people in the community, people who live with the impacts of policy decisions.

    Consider this: how would things go if we held city and county elections during the Sturgis Rally and allowed everyone present at Sturgis during that week to vote?

  28. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-04 09:30

    Choices, Larry. We can’t paralyze ourselves with infinite policy considerations.

  29. Porter Lansing 2016-01-04 09:34

    To extrapolate … How would things go if electronically every citizen in USA were allowed to vote on issues in every state?

  30. larry kurtz 2016-01-04 09:41

    “Consider this: how would things go if we held city and county elections during the Sturgis Rally and allowed everyone present at Sturgis during that week to vote?”

    Speaking of infinite policy considerations.

  31. Donald Pay 2016-01-04 09:56

    Grudz, I don’t have any friends, except you, my good buddy.

  32. bearcreekbat 2016-01-04 10:37

    First, to be able to vote each of us must declare our state of residence and that would be the only state we could vote in lawfully. That undermines Cory’s Sturgis hypothetical or national electronic voting in all jurisdictions.

    Second, has anyone actually polled or surveyed RV-ers to determine whether they support or oppose the wheel tax, or to determine whether they are Republicans or Democrats? Although to me it doesn’t matter what their views are (they should be able to vote in the state they have chosen as their permanent residence regardless of their views about party or issues), the objections I am seeing seemed to be based on an expectation that they might vote either Republican or anti-wheel tax as a unit.

    That sort of evidence-free assumption is a mighty weak reed to support denying them the right to vote in the state they claim to be their permanent residence. And even if we had this information, opposing their right to vote on this basis echos the Republican efforts to suppress votes because of fear about how they might vote – is that where we really want to go?

    As for keeping RV-ers honest, how about adopting a progressive income tax in SD? Wouldn’t that be more consistent with democratic principles?

  33. Les 2016-01-04 11:10

    The Feds do not answer or respond to any of my requests on site location or borehole specifics, Donald. How do we comment of deep bore ghosthole waste storage.

    So you’re alright with, the only good Indian is a dead Indian, Jer. Just when I thought we were in the 21st century.

  34. jerry 2016-01-04 11:28

    I have no idea what you are talking about Les. My guess is that you were just thinking of a way to present that out of touch slogan from the past. Truth be known, I think I would have preferred the time around the early 1500’s when I could try to outwit a hungry bear. In case my wit turned into a nitwit, I would hope that I would have been fleet of foot and was able to outrun any companion that was with me.

  35. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-04 12:20

    Bearcreekbat, polling the RV voters to determine their political views would be a terrible basis for arguing for their disenfranchisement. I agree with you that such an effort would be as bad as Republican efforts to disenfranchise minorities based on fears that they will vote Democratic. Disenfranchising RV voters must be based on some principle that is blind to partisanship or specific local issues.

    I also agree that we could kill two birds with one stone with a state income tax.

  36. jake 2016-01-04 15:37

    They chose SD as their “permanent” residence solely for cheap license plates (vehicle registration) and no income taxes! Nothing wrong with that, but what’s wrong is a state whose government encouraged this.

  37. Donald Pay 2016-01-04 17:38


    You have identified a real problem with “consent-based siting” of the deep borehole disposal project. Who consents? Who gets to know what information and when do they get to know it? Can you really have consent when all the relevant information is kept secret?

    Very specific information on one or more potential sites sits right now in the Idaho offices of the Department of Energy. Some of this information has been there since March or April of 2015, submitted as responses to DOE requests for information and Request for Proposals. They have done it this way because all the information can be kept secret under the Freedom of Information Act. I tried a FOIA request during the summer. They denied the request.

    So, the people of South Dakota are in total dark about this project. Who in South Dakota knows? Not many. Quite strange, really. Not much ballyhoo over a huge project like this is not the usual way these projects get pumped up by politicians. The Governor, some folks at SDSM&T( and maybe SDSU) , maybe a few folks at the Science and Technology Authority, maybe the Board of Regents, RESPEC, probably Rounds, Thune and Noem, and maybe a couple local people in the immediate area in northeastern SD. SDSM&T hosted a meeting in 2013 on this, where they heard from a big DOE mucky muck on this particular project. Since then they’ve shut up, pretty much.

    Who can consent, if they don’t know what’s going on? Just the elite.

  38. barry freed 2016-01-05 08:40

    A recent conversation in a Kentucky Derby parking lot: “Oh, I see you have SD plates, I’m from SD too. Where are you from?”

    “We ARE NOT from South Dakota!” True story. Yeah, they get cheap plates and can cheat the State where they made the money, to live their lifestyle, but they have to endure being seen as: “South Dakotans”.

    To close the RV loophole so fast one could hear an audible pop, just start a mailbox service that is distributed throughout a few of SD’s larger communities catering to the Rainbow people and others like them. Guess the first Bill submitted in the next Legislature. Poor RVer’s

  39. Bill Fleming 2016-01-05 09:21

    Don’t look now, but I think Mr. Freed may just have shown us the easiest way to rebuild the Democratic party in South Dakota. Just mail it in. ;-)

  40. Les 2016-01-05 10:09

    I’m not sure rebuild is the proper term for your party. I don’t know if there has ever been a SD Democratic Party of significance in my lifetime. There have been Democrats of significance welcomed by a majority of SD voters.

    A good Dem might be easier to find than an extra 20% at the polls, Bill?

    It’s obvious the angry old white liberals are not wooing voters or GOP legislators with honey or Cory’s poll.

  41. Bill Fleming 2016-01-05 10:19

    Les, when a guy puts a little wink symbol at the end of his sentence, that means he’s just kidding.

    You should think about doing that yourself, considering that most of the time what you type is so senseless, it’s hard for us to tell whether you’re kidding or not.

  42. Les 2016-01-05 10:38

    Nah, Flem. With you it means just kidding if there is a chance you may be debated, mostly used with your few oringial thoughts not derived from wiki.

  43. Les 2016-01-05 10:46


  44. Les 2016-01-05 10:47

    Amen, Porter.

  45. Donald Pay 2016-01-05 12:27

    Les, (and others)

    You asked about where to comment on the deep borehole disposal issue. As far as I can tell, that issue is not open for discussion at this time, but the Department of Energy is about to open discussion of the “consent-based siting” issue. See the following DOE website:

  46. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-01-06 14:03

    Interesting, Don—was Rugby mentioned in any of the previous documentation you’ve looked at and/or shared with us?

  47. Porter Lansing 2016-01-06 14:08

    Rugby seems like a nice little Dakota town. Around 4,000 people and it claims to be the geographic center of North America. As usual, USA will pollute something as close to the border as possible. Rugby is very close to Manitoba.

  48. Donald Pay 2016-01-06 16:54


    I had no clue about Rugby, ND, but it does have one of the requirements: it’s a rural red-state with a dippy Governor. It also has better rail connections than northeast SD. I assume Rugby is somewhat distant from the oil/gas patch, otherwise this choice violates a lot of the DOE’s siting requirements. I’m interested in how the crystalline rocks in that area of North Dakota related to the rocks in SD. I just kinda think there will be a bait and switch pulled at some point down the road.

    With Rugby chosen, I will resubmit my FOIA request to DOE. I doubt they will release the info SD submitted, but I believe I will be able to get the Rugby stuff to see how it dovetails with SD.

  49. mike from iowa 2016-01-06 17:18

    Rugby is the geographical center of North America and has a Victorian Dress Museum. Plus it is close to the Canadian border.

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