Press "Enter" to skip to content

SD House Passes Sales Tax for Teacher Pay; Craig, Klumb Switch to Aye, Feickert Nay

On its second try, the South Dakota House today approved House Bill 1182, Governor Dennis Daugaard’s funding mechanism for increasing teacher pay. The vote was 47–21, the minimum required to meet the required two-thirds threshold for a tax increase.

Roll call, HB 1182, South Dakota House, 2016.02.22
Roll call, HB 1182, South Dakota House, 2016.02.22

The Governor needed one Republican to change from nay  to yea from last week’s vote. Two Republicans, Rep. Scott Craig (R-33/Rapid City) and Rep. Joshua Klumb (R-20/Mount Vernon) switched to aye. Democrat Dennis Feickert (D-1/Aberdeen), after an ambivalent speech in which he scolded the education lobby for not sticking together and fighting the cuts of Governor Daugaard’s first budget, switched to nay.

Rep. Thomas Brunner (R-29/Nisland) said raising taxes is the easy way out (all it takes is a vote, said Rep. Brunner, apparently ignoring that it took the House two weeks and thirty years to get to today’s vote) and that we should reprioritize our state budget lines and raise taxes only as a last resort, not as a first resort (again, for thirty years, Dems propose plans to increase teacher pay, GOP consistently shoots them down, and somehow, HB 1182 is now a first resort?).

Rep. Elizabeth May (R-27/Kyle) spoke of the poor, hungry kids who come into her grocery store and need pennies from the change jar to cover the sales. She voiced the sentiment, repeated by many of her Republican colleagues, that the HB 1182 sales tax will hurt those kids. Sales tax is regressive and hits the poor the hardest, said the Republican opponents.

As I picked my jaw up off the floor over conservative Republicans finally endorsing my argument that sales tax is bad and that South Dakota’s overall tax scheme is rigged to favor the rich and beat up the poor. I think Rep. May might actually mean what she said: last year, she supported the traditional Democratic proposal to repeal the sales tax on food. Alas, Reps. Beal, Haggar, Latterell, Russell, and Wiik, who voted against HB 1182 today, voted against the effort to relieve the poor of the food tax.

Rep. Feickert is the first Democrat to peel away from unity behind the Governor and his Blue Ribbon panel and the SDEA.  Feickert will not have to answer for that decision at the polls, since he’s termed out of the House. I’ve wondered if there could be a Democratic argument for voting against the funding mechanism for raising teacher pay, and have settled on this distasteful pragmatic position (informed in part by Rep. Ray Ring’s [D-17/Vermillion] speech during today’s floor debate on HB 1182):

  1. We need to raise teacher pay to competitive levels now, this year, in one big shot.
  2. Current revenues cannot cover such a raise.
  3. No one in Pierre today can assemble a working two-thirds majority to pass any tax increase or new tax for teacher pay other than a sales tax. (Translation: Raising teacher pay is a big dang pill. Raising sales tax is a big dang pill. There’s no room in Pierre’s sclerotic gullet for more or bigger pills in this dose.)
  4. We accept teacher pay raised on a crappy tax now.
  5. We get teachers show us their gratitude by rounding up their friends and electing new legislators who express a commitment to (1) sustaining competitive teacher salaries and (2) making serious tax reform the centerpiece of the 2017 Session.

I don’t like that position. I don’t like burdening the poor with extra sales tax while redistributing their wealth up the ladder to property owners with $40 million of property tax cuts. I’d much prefer a progressive tax plan. But I also realize I’m not going to get food tax relief or an honest to goodness progressive tax this year.

So let’s patch the biggest hole we have right now. Let’s pay our teachers and end our embarrassing and damaging status of being 51st in the nation for teacher pay. But once that problem is solved, let’s use the things we’ve heard in this debate to turn South Dakota voters’ attention to the next big problem we need to solve: our regressive tax system. Let’s get everyone together—teachers and taxpayers (wait! teachers pay taxes, too!), ranchers and renters, the country club crowd and those kids in Kyle scrounging pennies to get a sandwich at Liz May’s grocery. Let’s talk about how South Dakota’s tax system hurts the poor and doesn’t fairly or fully capture the wealth available to support public services. And let’s come back with new legislators next year committed to solving this problem by enacting a new progressive tax system for South Dakota.


  1. Straight outta ridge 2016-02-22 16:31

    Elizabeth May would rather keep those poor little skin kids dependent than afford them a chance to receive a better education!! Besides I wonder how this sales tax increase will benefit the tribally controlled schools like Little Wound School?

  2. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-22 16:57

    I’m hearing from some folks down in Kyle that if May would reduce the exorbitant prices on food those little brown kids would have more pennies.

  3. Donald Pay 2016-02-22 17:13

    The South Dakota Republicans protect the wealthy at all costs, and the South Dakota electorate allows it. Until enough of poor and middle class voters wake up to the massive redistribution of wealth from the poor to the wealthy that the South Dakota tax system allows, you end up having to meet needs through a sales tax that is very, very unfair.

    That said, I would have held my nose and voted for this tax increase. I wouldn’t support putting any of that money into property tax relief, though. After the teacher salary issue was addressed, I would put most of the rest into innovative education programs, reduced class sizes, added teacher prep time, etc. I would put some seed money into an angel fund or startup seed money for young entrepreneurs. That might keep some young college graduates around, or bring some others back to the state to start businesses.

  4. Just watching 2016-02-22 17:19

    Roger, are you interested in buying her out and making a ton of money at her store?

  5. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-22 17:33

    Cory, you wrote: “As I picked my jaw up off the floor over conservative Republicans finally endorsing my argument that sales tax is bad and that South Dakota’s overall tax scheme is rigged to favor the rich and beat up the poor.”

    You don’t get to have it both ways. You supported this the worst of all the sales tax increase bills and you are as bad as the Democrats who supported this piece of horse manure. That the Dems supported this, though, should not have surprised me. The way they didn’t support or stick by Kathy Tyler in past issues, just shows what a bunch of spineless people they are.

    Do we need to increase teacher pay? I was saying so longbefore Daugaard cut it back in 2010 after saying that he would not in the campaign. To do it with a bill that does not promise them a pay increase but promises property tax payers with another property tax lowering is more than disingenuous, it is outrageous and every poor person and every renter in this state should be outraged.

  6. Teach 2016-02-22 17:33

    Nice to know hypocrisy is alive and well in Pierre. This group that voted “nay” are concerned about poor kids and how this tax will affect them? Funny. Isn’t this the same group that thought it would be a great idea to drug test all welfare recipients? And (here’s the good part!) have the recipient pay for the drug test up front? They didn’t seem to care about the negative ramifications on underprivileged children in that proposed legislation. Where did this compassion for the poor come from all of a sudden?

  7. Steve Sibson 2016-02-22 17:40

    “Let’s get everyone together—teachers and taxpayers”

    Teachers don’t respect taxpayers who make less than they do while working 12 months. They instead think they are above taxpayers as they tell taxpayers’ kids that they can be any gender they want to be.

  8. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-22 17:46

    Steve, just how do you know teachers don’t respect taxpayers? As Cory pointed out, teachers are taxpayers too. Do teachers not respect themselves?
    That is a broad generalization Steve.

  9. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-22 17:53

    Just watching: NO

  10. grudznick 2016-02-22 18:00

    I see one Mr. Fieckert is now against raising this money to give good teachers raises, after he was fer it before. Mr. Fieckert, what say you?

    Mr. Sibby, I just bet you there are some teachers like Mr. Bolin who does not tell taxpayers’ kids that they can be any gender they want to be. Mr. Bolin tells kids the way things are. Kids don’t mess with Mr. Bolin.

  11. grudznick 2016-02-22 18:12

    Let me add that on the SILT, the Seven Indisputable Levels of Teachers, Mr. Bolin was at least very good. Probably very, very good. You can just tell.

  12. owen reitzel 2016-02-22 18:12

    “Teachers don’t respect taxpayers who make less than they do while working 12 months. They instead think they are above taxpayers as they tell taxpayers’ kids that they can be any gender they want to be.”

    Even for you that’s not to bright Steve. You couldn’t keep up with the work my wife puts in during the school year.
    Sorry to see our kids are on the bottom of your priority list.

  13. Jana 2016-02-22 18:19

    Where was Verchio? Was that a planned absence?

  14. grudznick 2016-02-22 18:28

    Ms. Jana, Mr. Verchio is a stand-up kind of guy from rural Pennington County and he is not the type of a fellow to hide or back down. Even though he was voting wrong.

    But since he was already a “no” vote his absence or presence wouldn’t have contributed another “yes” vote anyway. So he didn’t matter. All the no’s could have been gone and it wouldn’t have mattered. Ask Mr. H, he knows the rules.

  15. larry kurtz 2016-02-22 18:29

    Verchio’s health is failing. One of the journalists covering the legislature (Dana Ferguson?) said he looked like hell.

  16. larry kurtz 2016-02-22 18:30

    I’ve known Verchio since he got to the Hills in ’88: a chain smoker most of his life.

  17. grudznick 2016-02-22 18:43

    He does limp worse than I, Lar.

  18. Steve Sibson 2016-02-22 18:44

    “Sorry to see our kids are on the bottom of your priority list.”

    Cheap shot, typical of tax and spend liberal bullies. You really think taxing the working poor and giving to the wealthy is good for kids? And I am very sorry your wife are among the bullies who covet from their neighbors.

  19. John Kennedy Claussen 2016-02-22 18:49

    Cory, I honestly want to believe in your final paragraph, totally, but I cannot because of the current gerrymandering of many of our state legislative districts. I also do not have faith that the “country club crowd” in particular have any interest in getting rid of our current regressive tax system, which directly benefits them, as well, and are the ones who greatly guide and fund the current South Dakota Republican Party and its leadership, who are the political majority.

    The legislators in Pierre cannot go home without solving this problem, I would agree, but the Democrats really have all of the cards in their hands right now. For now they are relevant, but they are playing into the hands of the Republicans, instead. If there is nearly a 2/3s majority to raise taxes in the House then there is certainly a 51% majority to find the funds to significantly increase teacher pay with our current revenues, reserve funds, school district reserve funds, and currently exempted sales tax transactions to come up with the money to fund teacher pay; but if we don’t or can’t, then what was the Democratic narrative about education in 2010 and 2014 all about? Were Democrats advocating tax increases in those respective years to fund teacher pay? No, they were telling us that the money was there and I believe that is especially true when you recognize that there are currently over 900 million dollars in exempted transactions from the current sales tax levy and the fact that there are over 400 million dollars in reserve funds at the local school districts not to mention the State’s reserve fund and other fee building cookie jars. When you combine those two realities with the hopeful continual growth of the economy you have more than enough to fund a significant increase in teacher pay with our current tax system levy without having to increase sales taxes on the poor or even entering a debate about tax reform. Although, the latter idea would be refreshing.

    This past weekend I witness a good Democrat remind us that the sales tax rate in this state has not been increased since 1969 and that it was “about time.” Oh really? About time? It is never time to raise the sales taxes in this state especially for the working poor and especially when this increase benefits the property owners at the expense of the renters. I also heard another good Democrat claim that the money was not there in our current budget. Well, then I ask were Scott and Susan then lying in 2010 and 2014? I do not think so. Our economy is much better today than it was in 2010 and at parity with 2014. If we can or were told to trust the Democrats then, why can we not trust those same comments now? And if we cannot believe what they once said, why can we believe what a majority of Democratic leaders in this state are now saying about the state budget and teacher pay?

    I know in theory we only have 40 days to solve this problem and the legislators would like to eventually go home for the year and I respect that. But this idea of increasing the sales tax levy, which is often called a “hidden tax” of great political value for the politicians, appears to me to be merely a lazy answer and not an educated answer. And when you keep in mind that HB 1182 does not even mention the word “education” in the bill, then I must ask ….”Are we all not being ‘duped?'” Are we not just writing a big check (or increasing sales taxes) because we can?

    I know Democrats not only want to be pro-education, but they also want to be on record having done something significant for education and I support and appreciated that. But when you support a bill which is regressive, has no guarantee that the funds are for education, and offers property tax relief on the backs of the renters, then are you not as a political party dependent upon an under educating of the masses on a given political debate, in order, to claim victory for a political party, the teachers, and the students, and is that right? Especially, when the funds are already there, and any other issues such as legitimate tax reform are realistically in the distant future and not next January?

  20. larry kurtz 2016-02-22 18:56

    Verchio’s sciatica is the result of sitting and never walking anywhere. New knees and hips at taxpayer expense, right?

  21. Will 2016-02-22 19:18

    Don’t listen to Steve. He pontificates in the Daily Republic so often via letters to the editor that people have written responding letters to his drivel even offering to help him move and provide moving boxes as well. This is the man that attacked high school kids for supporting a pool in a letter to the editor. Even when a referendum passes by voters and a general election he’s a sore loser. He’s run for about every office he can and hasn’t come close to winning. He and Guymon have a poker party of two….. At least at that party everyone sees the world the same!!

  22. owen reitzel 2016-02-22 19:28

    Cheap shot Steve? Can’t take what you dish out?

    I repeat. You couldn’t work as hard as my wife and most teachers. You have no idea what you’re talking about

  23. Steve Sibson 2016-02-22 19:28

    Mr. Claussen, Daugaard’s proposed general fund budget is $128 million higher than what we spent last year. So there is plenty of money that instead will go into crony capitalist pockets if taxes are raised.

    Now that the tax increase has passed the House, it will be a sure thing in the Senate. And it will take only 51% to shift money from teachers to crony capitalists. That is how things are done in the corrupt system we have in Pierre.

    The problem is not a lack of Democrats, it is a lack of truth. The people bought into Daugaard’s budget crisis deception when he took office, and that is how they created this teacher pay crisis that they now are deceiving us into thinking requires a tax increase to fix.

  24. Steve Sibson 2016-02-22 19:32

    “You couldn’t work as hard as my wife and most teachers”

    I know how hard the teachers worked to get this tax increase, while the working poor were busting their butts at work not even aware what was going on in Pierre. In a few months their hard earned money will buy less, while $50,000 per 9-month teachers buy new cars. That is if the crony capitalists don’t get their hands on it first.

  25. larry kurtz 2016-02-22 19:33

    Let’s review: Steve Sibson hasn’t supported a sitting governor since he came of voting age and thinks Stace Nelson is christ’s second coming.

  26. grudznick 2016-02-22 19:39

    Lar, Mr. Verchio is strong like an ox and smart like a fox.

    Did you see that Mr. PP says he pulled a “stealth ninja” routine like you do when you visit the Great State of South Dakota, where Mr. Verchio lives?

  27. owen reitzel 2016-02-22 19:43

    Funny how you care for the poor now Steve. Just like the rest of the Republicans.

    I agree that a sales tax is regressive so I take it you’re for a state corporate and personal income tax?

  28. grudznick 2016-02-22 19:46

    Mr. Sibby will never support a sitting Governor because Stace Nelson will never be Governor. Yet, Mr. Sibby keeps working for Toshiba who is trying to social engineer a new world order and he’s just a pawn of the man.

  29. Paul Seamans 2016-02-22 19:56

    I wasn’t aware that Elizabeth Mays’ store in Kyle, on the Pine Ridge Rez, collected sales tax. Is it collected for the state or for the tribe?

  30. Darin Larson 2016-02-22 20:00

    JKC, a lot of Republicans would like nothing more than for the Democrats to vote against 1182. Then the Democrats would be viewed as the ones who did not support education funding and raises for teachers. Good luck explaining to voters that Democrats support education, but don’t support the regressive tax system so they had to vote against 1182.

    Voters do understand who made this regressive system (the Republicans), but until they care more about it, there is no use in cutting off education’s nose to spite Daugaard’s face.

    As an aside here, it was interesting to me being from District 25 that Rep. Roger Hunt noted that SD was 43rd or so in education funding (I think he meant to say per capita). So, he asked why isn’t teacher pay toward the middle of the pack like funding levels. Ummm, who taught Rep. Hunt that 43 out of 50 or 51 is toward the middle of the pack?

    Also, has Mr. Hunt missed the fact that we are a sparsely populated rural state with many smaller school districts that would naturally cost more per capita than in largely urban states. Thus, 43rd or 44th becomes 51 when you take that into account. Mr. Hunt apparently could use a lesson in economics as well.

    Luckily for us all, Mr. Hunt’s time ran out and no one yielded him anymore time in which to reveal how out of touch and misinformed he is.

  31. owen reitzel 2016-02-22 20:02

    lol Grud. You might be right. See we can agree

  32. Steve Sibson 2016-02-22 20:06

    “Funny how you care so little for the poor now Owen, just like the rest of the tax and spend liberal bullies of both parties.

  33. owen reitzel 2016-02-22 20:10

    lol. nice try Steve.

  34. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-22 20:17

    Paul Seamans

    The tribe and state have a compact to collect sales and gas tax and then paid back to the tribes.
    It is a myth that tribes don’t collect sales tax.

  35. Will 2016-02-22 20:21

    I feel Steve’s 100th letter to the editor in the Daily Republic coming on….. While written in his bunker….protected from the crony capitalist and high school swimmers…. The true satanists of the world

  36. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-22 20:21

    Sibson pesters and annoys us because he can’t get any traffic on his own sporadic blog.

    I fully expect Steve to give us names and incidents of these people he claims are crony capitalist. Come on Steve, do a Cory type investigation and prove yourself, if you can.

  37. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-22 20:31

    Roger C, is it time for Pinky’s to open a branch store in Kyle, create a little competition? ;-)

  38. Kurt Evans 2016-02-22 20:32

    Serious question for Cory: Would you have strong feelings one way or the other about me mounting an independent state senate campaign against Klumb? I was considering a run for the house until today.

    I’m not sure there’s any reason you should care, but I wanted to ask directly. I wouldn’t request that you publish an announcement before I’m ready to file my signatures, as I can easily imagine you may have grown weary of the abbreviated campaigns in my past.

  39. John Kennedy Claussen 2016-02-22 20:33

    Darin, if I was a legislator and it was the last day of the legislature and HB 1182 was the only opportunity to raise teacher pay, then I would vote or change my vote to vote for it on the final day, but we are not there, yet. And if the Democrats can be blamed for a possible failure of HB 1182 and not a half of the Republicans that did not vote for it, then we have deeper problems in our state political system for our party then the potential further political failings of the the SDDP do to this issue….. Not to mention, that the Democrats do not have to fail in the 2016 fall political campaign with the narrative you are suggesting absent the passage of HB 1182, because there is another answer and it is found within our budget and a mixture of Democrats and Republicans for and against HB 1182 can make-up a vast majority for it, I believe.

    Also, as I believe there is a possible true majority to find the funds within our current tax system and budget. I also do not believe Daugaard would then veto such a solvency and want the Republican party to have to answer to such a veto.

  40. Steve Sibson 2016-02-22 20:40

    Roger, there was a time when Cory used to name crony capitalists. Then I got kicked out of Madville for pointing how you people act just like them. Now the cronies have proven to be tax and spend liberals just like you. Now you have to defend them. LOL

  41. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-22 20:40

    Lanny, I’m sorry to disappoint you. I bucked at the sales tax increase when it was proposed. I said to SF Democratic Forum and I maintain today that the Democratic plan to raise sales tax to 5% but exempt food and not throw money away on property tax relief is a better plan. As I say above, I maintain that a progressive tax would be far preferable way to fund competitive teacher wages.

    But the Dems plan and my ideal plan isn’t going to get a 2/3 majority this year, is it? I’ve surrendered, as has Donald Pay, to the pragmatic logic of the moment. We have a once-in-30-years window to get a majority of Republicans and the Governor to join us in raising teacher pay. The only way they’ll fund it is sales tax. Do you really want us to blow up this deal over tax policy? Do we have the luxury of waiting another year and fighting it out at the polls?

    Believe me, I don’t like all this pragmatic talk. But 9,400 teachers come out better if we pass this plan. As S.O.R. notes at the top, our kids come out better if we invest in teachers now. can we afford to give up this sub-optimal yet valuable opportunity?

    Or can we do better by following the track I propose at the bottom of the post: accept this sub-optimal plan, then build on the opponents’ rhetoric and say, “We agree sales tax is regressive! South Dakota has too many important needs to rely so heavily sources of income that overburden the poor and middle class. Elect more Democrats in November, and we will deliver tax reform in 2017!”

  42. grudznick 2016-02-22 20:43

    Mr. Evans, many have grown weary of you quitting so early. I, for one, encourage you to run and do so again. It is no doubt inevitable. So when you flame out please do it really big and entertainingly, ok?

  43. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-22 20:46

    Kurt! I can’t say I have strong feelings about an Indy challenge—I want a Democrat to beat Klumb and take his seat. Selfish me says sure, run, Kurt, so you split the conservative vote and give a Dem a better chance. Decent me says I welcome all intelligent people who want to participate in the process, and you’ve shown your intelligence in past conversations. Aspiring me says I think I would have a better chance of getting Senator Evans to join the Anti-Ridiculousness Caucus and swing my way on certain important votes than I would of getting Senator Klumb to talk.

    One plus: you only need 81 signatures by April 26.

    So tell me, Kurt—how would you vote on HB 1182?

  44. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-22 20:56

    John KC, I included the country club crowd in part out of irrational optimism and in part for alliteration. I’ll invite everyone to the table, but all I need is 66.7% of them to agree with me in the Senate or 50%+1 of them at the polls.

    Gerrymandering in the way? O.K. We can fix that with Amendment T. Vote for that, we redistrict in 2018, and then I can assemble the restof my tax-reform majority right along with electing an amenable Governor. Can do?

    I do agree that the mere passage of time does not create a mandate to raise tax rates. That idea leads to conclusion that ultimately, taxes must be 100% (and then what?).

    John KC, you speak of Dems power. Is there any chance the Dems could be playing their few cards wisely? Could this be the game: support the Governor early, get the train rolling, reveal the enormous popular support for this plan, then on whatever final vote comes (Senate? Conference committee?), say to the Governor, “All right, we’ve shown our willingness to play ball; now we want something in return”?

    Or, as I think we were talking about in a previous thread, are Dems so weak that such machinationas are beyond us, and the best we can do is hang on for the ride?

  45. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-22 21:00

    Darin, didn’t Rep. Schoenfish rebut those cost issues on the floor this afternoon? If I recall correctly, he gave a decent speech about the unavoidable extra costs of operating a large rural school district.

    I also noted with some mirth the fact that no one yielded time to Rep. Hunt to continue his deceptive whining.

  46. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-22 21:01

    And Roger, you appear to be answering Straight Outta Ridge’s question: Little Wound School will benefit from increased sales tax revenue as well, correct?

  47. Kurt Evans 2016-02-22 21:03

    Cory writes:

    So tell me, Kurt—how would you vote on HB 1182?

    I’m predictably opposed, so you’d apparently have a better chance of getting Klumb to swing your way on that one (ha ha).

    Your response was about what I expected. Thanks for taking the time. I’ll keep you posted.

  48. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-22 21:16

    Little Wound School would indirectly benefit from the increased sales tax, remember they are a government contract school.

    Shannon County School teachers would indeed benefit from the tax increase.

  49. Darin Larson 2016-02-22 21:45

    Cory, you are probably right about Schoenfish’s rebuttal, but he was preaching to me in the choir, so I concentrated on working on my taxes.

  50. John Kennedy Claussen 2016-02-22 22:28

    Cory, you are right. Amendment “T” is a must, but for know with what I am advising we only need 51 % and not 66.7%

    As far as the “Conference” scenario, that is a plan, but I question if the Democrats have the stomach to do that since none of them really show any real concerns over further and greater sales tax dependency for state government and education.

    In terms of our last “previous tread,” in my final comments I wrote that the Democrats were relevant in terms of being a part of the crowd who is potentially increasing sales taxes, however. In the long term they are not relevant, which further questions our ability to convey a successful political message in the fall regardless of what happens, but right now we are relevant within the legislative halls and we are not playing our cards right…. Our relevancy is short lived and we are blowing it for political expediency which we will never get credit for….

    Let me leave you with a quote from the Sioux Falls Chamber of Commerce Twitter account after the passage of HB 1182 today. It said:

    “Three changed votes. Klumb and Craig from no to yes and Feickert from yes to no. That moves it to the required 47. A good day for SD k-12.”

    Well, all three plans, HB 1182, the Democratic Plan, and the idea of finding the funds within the budget are all “good” for SD k-12, but only one of them is good for the South Dakota working poor. A constituency that the Chamber often works to under pay, under benefit, and ignore, but the Democrats are currently in bed with politically, unfortunately. I remember a time, when Democratic legislators would take joy in having the lowest voting record with the Chamber’s Legislative Report Card, but with HB 1182 their report card percentages are rising, while at the same time, it is not a “good day” for the incomes of many of the parents of SD k-12 students here in South Dakota.

  51. Greg 2016-02-22 22:44

    On KELO news tonight it was reported that 85% is required to go to teachers salaries. Will the remaining 15% go to the greedy administrators?

  52. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-22 23:27

    All of you on here, including Cory, who are defending this bill, don’t be surprised if the teachers don’t get the size raise that they are being promised. But even if they do, there will be 400 less of them if the entire governor’s proposal goes through.

    For the life of me, I cannot understand how in the world you folks can trust a governor who in 2010 while running for office said that he would not cut education funding and turned around and asked for a 10% cut. The legislature restored it to a 6 1/2% cut and even though state employees got raises every year, it took until last year for the teachers to catch back up to where they were in 2010.

    Oh, I know why you all support it though. You are all property owners and will get some more property tax relief at the expense of renters and the poor, or teachers or have kids who are teachers.

  53. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-22 23:31

    Here is the letter that I sent to each of the reps last night.

    Dear Representative

    If I spend $1500.00 a month on sales taxable products, I will contribute to the pay raise for teachers that we all know is so desperately needed by paying an extra $90 in sales taxes per year. But I will also contribute to a $90 property tax cut to a farmer who has 90 acres of land worth $5,000 an acre, according to the South Dakota Budget and Policy Project.

    That farmer just like any property owner has had his property tax frozen for the last 20 years and has had property tax relief out of the existing 4 cent state sales tax for about the last ten years.

    Now during that same 20 years the approximately 500 square foot studio apartment that I rented 20 years ago had a storage area with it. I am back renting almost exactly the same size studio apartment from the same landlord, across the parking lot from the one I rented 20 years ago, but I do not have a storage area with this one. I paid 285 dollars a month then and pay 475 dollars a month now an increase of $2,280 per year.

    I also don’t think many farmers today only farm 90 acres, and at least east River South Dakota, not much land is sold for only $5,000 an acre. And homeowners, just like those farmers, are building equity in their home or land, while as a renter, I am building none. They also get federal income tax relief for the interest and property taxes they pay while I get none for the rent that I pay. I guess I am supposed to understand why there is property tax relief attached to this bill, but frankly I don’t. What makes property owners so much more important than the thousands of us who rent? Food tax relief—yes. Property tax relief —no.

    Lanny Stricherz

  54. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-23 06:31

    Kurt, you might be an uncrackable nut on this issue, but at least I could trust your reasons for opposition.

  55. Jenny 2016-02-23 06:36

    I want to know and no one has answered me. No where in the bill does it say food being -‘just goods’. Is food being directly taxed? Cory, Lanny??

  56. Jenny 2016-02-23 06:38

    I meant the bill does not mention ‘food’ specifically. It mentions ‘goods’.

  57. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-23 06:41

    Greg, that’s possible. The other 15% may also go to conscientious administrators not making market rates, to support staff, and, most importantly and not included in the 85% requirement imposed by the Mickelson amendment in Section 27 of SB 131, additional staff to reduce class sizes. How that 15% is spent at the local level will depend on school board decisions, which can be pushed in the right direction by effectively organized teachers and voters.

  58. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-23 07:02

    Jenny, true—the sales tax applies to goods in general. HB 1182 does not include the word “food.” Section 1 of HB 1182 indicates the relevant statute is SDCL 10-45-2: “There is hereby imposed a tax upon the privilege of engaging in business as a retailer, a tax of four and one-half percent upon the gross receipts of all sales of tangible personal property consisting of goods, wares, or merchandise, except as otherwise provided in this chapter, sold at retail in the State of South Dakota to consumers or users.”

  59. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-23 07:05

    John KC, at peril of painting a false dilemma, imagine two South Dakotas on January 1, 2017: one in which we pay teachers $48,500 and tax goods at 4.5%, and one in which we keep our average teacher pay at $40K–$41K and keep our state sales tax at 4%. Which South Dakota is better off?

  60. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-23 07:06

    Of course it includes food, Jenny. In Sioux Falls and most places that puts another half a buck on the grocery bill for the family of four when they only buy a hundred bucks worth of food and they have already contributed 6 bucks on that hundred.

    It also raises the tax to eat out to 7 1/2%, of course the poor don’t “have” to eat out. But all those drug commercials that you see when you watch the news and the 5 to 10 pounds of advertising that comes with your Thanksgiving day paper plus all the ads every day on TV and in the newspaper, they are still getting a free ride. But the drug companies and the big stores, auto dealers, newspapers, TV stations etc all need that tax break a lot more than the poor schmuck working for minimum wage and trying to feed his family.

  61. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-23 07:06

    Lanny, I don’t trust him. But the bill is written so we don’t have to deal with trust. We have rules for how the money will be used. If those rules aren’t followed, we can hang people.

  62. Steve Sibson 2016-02-23 07:09

    Looks like South Dakota Democrats love money as much as the crony capitalists do. They are willing to sacrifice their principles and the poor in order to line their own pockets.

  63. Steve Sibson 2016-02-23 07:12

    Cory, what about a South Dakota that stands up to the crony capitalists by starving the beast that feeds them? Instead we are starving the poor so that teachers can advance their middle class lifestyle as a reward for creating a new social order that benefits the rich.

  64. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-23 07:18

    Sibby, I know you’d like to starve public education. That’s the bigger agenda behind the Gordon Howie nays on HB 1182. I can’t let that happen. Teachers are not crony capitalists.

  65. Jenny 2016-02-23 07:26

    In MN in regards to food they only tax a person on candy, soft drinks and fast food. They get you big on alcohol and cigarettes. A pack of Marlboros is around eight bucks, so I glad I don’t smoke.

  66. Steve Sibson 2016-02-23 07:48

    Cory, I want to reform education, not starve teachers. I am on record promoting higher teacher funded by less brick and mortar, eliminating social engineering, and eliminating money going to crony capitalists in the name of economic development.

    Your claim to work with us in the future is hollow.

  67. Nick Nemec 2016-02-23 08:01

    Jenny, even though sales tax is inherently a regressive tax, some states have designed it to be less regressive than it could be. South Dakota is not one of those states.

  68. Happy Camper 2016-02-23 08:28

    This is a good compromise. Entirely relying on real estate taxes is not sustainable or fair. Municipalities work around the state cap by applying frontage fees and farm taxes have gone way up as assessed values have increased substantially.

    Locally when our city commission began charging frontage fees they told the concerned landlords to raise the rent. Landlords can only charge market rates so that expense was absorbed, and most people would like to afford a home. Real estate taxes are already way too high.

    It’s very expensive to clothe, feed, and educate multiple kids: Not my responsibility! As a general statement if you decide to have kids you have to be the one to take care of them, not some other part of the tax base.

    Compromise is necessary to get a majority or supermajority, and all the partisan bickering and name calling has to end because obviously right-leaning moderates are needed to get anything done (and it’s just the right thing to do). Far right extremists are a different story: They need to get voted out.

    You have to turn off the noise, the judgements, and talk to everyone as a person without labels. Our teachers deserve a raise. They’re already doing way too much and taking on more roles than a teacher should be forced to do. This looks like a good bill.

  69. O 2016-02-23 08:34

    The “other 15%” can also go toward teacher salaries. In fact so can any amount of the 31% “overhead” and/or any funds from the flexibility in use of capital outlay. The Mickelson amendment is a floor, not a ceiling.

  70. leslie 2016-02-23 10:36

    50% moronic posts by sibby and grudz.

    funding doesn’t feed crony capitalists, republicans do.

  71. Happy Camper 2016-02-23 11:11

    Regarding farmers property taxes, here is one example:

    -Year 2000 $473
    -Year 2010 $764
    -Year 2015 $2,150

    What freeze is Lenny is talking about?

  72. John Kennedy Claussen 2016-02-23 11:41

    Cory, I prefer a third image of South Dakota in 2017, where we pay teachers $ 48,500 a year with our current budget and reserves.

    As Democrats, if we are to be the political party which wants to expand Medicaid for the working poor and end abusive payday lending to protect the poor and working poor, then do we really want to be the political party which offers property tax relief to the owners class on the backs of the renters?

    Nick is right, regardless of ones position on HB 1182, we really need to make our current sales tax system less regressive. The one thing we could do is figure out how we can replace the sales tax on food and clothing with the over $ 900 million worth of current exempted sales transactions in this state.

  73. Roger Cornelius 2016-02-23 11:42

    It is disgusting how conservative republicans play on “starving” children when it suits their tax arguments. These are the same politicians and mouthpieces that are first in line to cut food stamps and require drug testing.

    republican compassion for the poor is a fraud.

  74. Bill Dithmer 2016-02-23 11:54

    ” It’s very expensive to clothe, feed, and educate multiple kids: Not my responsibility! As a general statement if you decide to have kids you have to be the one to take care of them, not some other part of the tax base.”

    No truer words were ever spoken.

    But a great compromise, for who?

    It sure didnt take long for everyone to get on board with cutting teacher numbers did it. 400 teachers at $35,000 would come out to $14,000,000 that wont be rolled over, even once. Those teachers getting more wont spend much more then they do now but hey they got their raise right?

    Remember there is no guarantee written into this bill, just guestimations. Who decides who goes and who stays? Would that be someone with a chip on their shoulder?

    This isnt a regressive tax, its progressive, everyone gets to pay, even people like me that dont have kids. It isnt great, but it is what it is. I suspect that if the posistions cut were foreign language, debate, band, or cooking, Cory might think differently then he does, but a nearly 20% raise will do that for ya.

    The reason there is opposition to any teacher pay bill is this in a nut shell. In most communities, even the lowest paid teacher is still one of the highest paid workers other then administration and management in their counties. They dont get paid enough, but a 20% jump when others wages are stagnant is hard to take.

    Im just telling it like it is. That doesnt mean its right, but it is what it is.

    The Blindman

  75. Steve Sibson 2016-02-23 12:05

    “republican compassion for the poor is a fraud.”

    So is the Democratic. HB1182 proved it.

  76. O 2016-02-23 12:13

    Paying $2,500.00 in sales tax will prevent the purchase of a $500,000.00 tractor/combine? Still scratching me head over that one.

  77. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-23 12:37

    I notice that Happy Camper didn’t say how many acres that property tax is on. But to my point, whatever amount it is, but the value of that farmer’s land has probably at least doubled in that time. But in my illustration above, my $90 a year in property taxes is going to go directly to a farmer with 90 acres worth 5k an acre. So the teachers don’t get a penny of it.

    You want to pay the teachers with the sales tax increase, I won’t like it, but I’ll shut my mouth, but I sure as hell don’t want to give some millionaire a property tax relief by my contribution in sales taxes. What part of that don’t you get Happy? You just can’t see that the property tax relief was just a way to get those who already have plenty, to support the bill because then they will get more.

  78. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-23 12:46

    Another thing that Happy didn’t mention is whether or not that property tax is on farmed by the owner or if it is rented out. Because if it is rented out, it does not qualify for the freeze, just like rental property doesn’t which is the main driver in rent increases.

  79. O 2016-02-23 13:24

    In the future, I hope all the discussion of taxation and fairness can be resolved – not around $67million of new spending — but on the entirety of $4.3 billion of total spending. Without muddying the water with additional needs, the question ought to be: does SD use the best, most fair methods of revenue collection? That then will be the test of Steve’s and other’s assertions about who really cares for the poor and who is using different groups as pawns in their excuse to perpetuate dogma.

  80. Happy Camper 2016-02-23 13:50

    Our state is dead set against income tax. Within reason sales tax is a fair way to collect revenue: It’s simple, encourages saving, and everyone pays.

    Lanny my example shows an increase of 345% in 15 years that is simply not a tax freeze. I am unaware farms get a freeze of any kind, only the elderly and disabled on their home. Non-owner occupied also pay a higher rate than owner occupied so it’s much more fair to spread the burden. Your example misses the point everyone will be paying more on sales tax, so those who own property will be paying more as well, it just won’t be generated from one source.

  81. larry kurtz 2016-02-23 14:00

    “Our state?” Get a grip, Hap.

  82. Joe 2016-02-23 14:04

    I’m a teacher, I moved out of state, someday I’d consider moving back, I’m pretty liberal, and it’d be hard for me to vote for this bill.

    1st. Sales tax, or as I like to call it a poor tax, and an old person tax. Poor people get hurt the most, and older people get hurt more, because young people buy so much on delivered to their house and not taxed.

    2nd Some of the other provisions. I think there is nothing more big government than telling a local school district how to operate. I do agree on sharing certain teachers, but not to save money, more so to allow schools to offer more classes with highly qualified teachers.

    The property tax relief being built into this. Why not direct this money towards something else? Its the whole move things around, slight of hand bs that South Dakota has been doing forever with its taxes.

  83. larry kurtz 2016-02-23 14:06

    New Mexico has a personal income tax and has over $4 billion in reserves. Montana and its income tax is running about a $400 million surplus.

  84. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-23 14:12

    Happy, You did not answer the question I posed as to whether or not the farmland you cited in your example was farmed by owner or rented. Nor did you say how many acres are in the example that you cited. Did your county, township, or school district do any opt out(s) in that time that would have raised the mill levy or is the tax increase entirely to the increased value of the property? Were any wind towers or buildings built on the land?

    You just made my point with “Non-owner occupied also pay a higher rate than owner occupied so it’s much more fair to spread the burden.” Renters are non owners and pay higher rent because the landlord’s property taxes are not frozen. Educate yourself, farms as well as all owner occupied, not just elderly and disabled, have had their taxes frozen for twenty years without an opt out. If the taxes go up on owner occupied, and there was not a mill levy increase because of an opt out, it is because the value of the property has increased. Most homeowners are either not aware that they can, or are too lazy to go down to their county board during the few days each year when the new values are set, to protest those values. That is why their taxes have gone up.

  85. Happy Camper 2016-02-23 14:46

    Lanny I think you’re totally wrong but I’m only 80% sure. The max mill levy is dictated by the state but starting in like 09 land was reassessed based on productivity so those values for everyone have gone way up. Nothing else in my example is relevant. The county can’t go beyond the regulated mill levy (unless an opt out), but the assessed values of homes have also increased regardless of owner occupied or not (in our town anyway), with owner occupied paying a higher rate.

    If a landlords taxes go up that doesn’t mean the local market will bear an increase. Tenants don’t care about the landlord’s expenses, but it will tell landlords they should increase the rent when possible. Not every landlord is a greedy jerk.

  86. Baby Moon 2016-02-23 14:58

    Here is a link to help explain, somewhat, the basic contours of South Dakota state/tribal tax agreements and the issues these agreements generate. SD State/tribal tax agreement primarily benefit the State, the state administers them (bc tribes do not have the infrastructure, typically), the administrators take their cut.

    Also, there are already 2 grocery stores in Kyle so Mrs. May already does have competition…no reason to try to insert Pinkie in on the deal (which she has probably NO idea some blogging lame brain – I forget who it was but scroll above – even proposed this) as she is probably not interested in that kind of crass capitalism and community division.

    Truth is, American “solutions” don’t typically work in NDN country. Sorry, just the truth with ample proof over the course of generations. Still, it’s interesting to read these things blogged about here bc it gives insight into how some people’s (white male South Dakotans) brains work.

  87. Straight outta ridge 2016-02-23 15:47

    Just to expound a little more on Baby Moon’s comments about SD/tribal tax agreements. In the current agreement the state takes 4% of tax revenue collected primarily with the boundaries of Oglala Lakota County for administration. Most of the remaining revenue has been used to collateralize a tax exempt bond taken out several years back, refinanced, and new money borrowed on more than one occasion for “essential government services”. Most municipalities would have tangible projects to show for the bond placement. But since the OST used this to finance over expenditures and other old debt, there is nothing to show other than a paper trail.
    The OST could have used the bond proceeds for capital improvements but chooses not to, as their is strong feelings that many of those possible projects are a treaty obligation and as such the tribe should not borrow money for them.
    An additional concern if the tax for teacher pay is passed, how will that impact the current agreement between the OST and State? With a variety of Public, BIA, Tribal and Parochial schools how will this money filter down to the teachers? Or will the additional 1/2 percent sales tax go towards retiring existing bond debt?

  88. Kurt Evans 2016-02-23 20:52

    Cory writes:

    Kurt, you might be an uncrackable nut on this issue, but at least I could trust your reasons for opposition.

    Thanks, Cory. There are very few compliments I’d rather receive than that one.

  89. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-23 21:46

    It appears that Happy can guess I am 80% wrong without bothering to answer the simple questions I asked twice. But the bill has passed the house now so I don’t suppose there is any hope that the Senate will shoot it down.
    So what difference does it make. I hope that they give the counties the penny they asked for and the municipalities the penny they asked for. Then we will start to hear the people squeal. I can hear it now. A half cent here a penny there and another one there, pretty soon you will be talking about real money. Well folks this half cent to the poor people is already real money.

  90. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-24 12:34

    John KC, your third option is not preferable and probably not doable. Unless you crack the next great corruption scandal and find $80M lining crony pockets, you will not find $48.5K for each teacher in existing revenue without cutting other important programs (and matching federal funds) that are already operating on a tight budget.

  91. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-24 12:36

    Roger, I share your disgust. The poor are rhetorical tools for the GOP Grover Norquisters, to be used as human shields against investments in education and scapegoats to justify attacks on the social safety net.

  92. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-24 12:37

    Bill D, the fact that everyone pays a tax does not make it progressive. The fact that a tax places greater burdens on the poor than the rich makes it regressive.

    We can support the funding mechanism and still save those 400–630 teachers’ jobs by changing the funding formula. Bring on Senate Bill 131 in the House!

  93. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-24 12:39

    Lanny, I don’t want you to shut your mouth. I want you to continue to challenge our consciences. I want you to challenge your local Legislative candidates to address our regressive taxes and tackle tax reform in 2017.

  94. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-24 12:41

    Understood, Baby Moon. I welcome your further reminders that white male Western capitalist values are not the right solutions for every problem.

    How well are those two grocery stores serving the Kyle market needs?

  95. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-24 13:04

    Cory, Your arguments at 12:36 and 37 don’t mesh.

    And you wrote at 12:37 “We can support the funding mechanism and still save those 400–630 teachers’ jobs by changing the funding formula. Bring on Senate Bill 131 in the House!”

    That was the main reason to put this piece of crap in the garbage bin where it belonged. Passing this gives the legislature the option to approve this bill as the final way of giving the teachers the pay raise that they may or may not deserve, (with a nod to the person who posted that the teachers are the highest paid people in town with the exception of the other government employees.)

    There is no question that teachers will get a raise out of the legislature this session. So why give them this as an option. Reading all of your math on this issue on this morning’s posts, all of a sudden the 48.5 that then became 46.5 and now can vary a lot lower than that depending on where the teacher, teaches. And with this bill we will still be looking at filling the positions that are now short, with the teachers who are losing their jobs by the downsizing caused by this bill.

  96. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-24 13:38

    Cory, So you want me to challenge people’s consciences.

    I contacted the SF City council and the SF Chamber of Commerce before the session started asking them to contact the legislature in their agenda meeting with members of the legislature and say no new sales taxes. I then contacted every member of the legislature asking them not to pass any of the regressive sales taxes being asked for by the Governor, the counties, and the municipalities, but to move the responsibilities back to property taxes where they belong.

    I contacted each member of the committees to which the various sales tax bills were assigned, after they were assigned. HB1116, the bill to allow municipalities to put a third penny sales tax on was assigned to the House taxation committee. As usual I contacted each member. The 12 Republicans were split 6-6 on a motion to refer to the 41st day. If two of the three Democrats had voted yes, the bill would have then done just that. But they did not. All three of them voted no on the motion and yes on the do pass recommendation. So the municipality 1cent additional tax lives. It was deferred three times by the House, and finally approved yesterday 37-30.

    Back when the 3 Dems refused to stop that bill by voting yes on the proposal to refer it to the 41st day, I sent an email to my own legislator, who is on the committee telling him how disappointed I was in him and the the other two Dems for not stopping this bill, here is the response that I got.

    “I think you got the wrong bill, all three democrats voted for this bill it is going to the floor but if your going to find fault with every vote. I don’t have time for this.”

    This is the only vote that I contacted him on, after the fact, in the session. But with a third penny, plus the ability to opt out on their share of the property taxes, Sioux Falls will surely continue to expand. Last night on the news, it was announced that they are planning a 20plus million office building for the city offices. That third penny possibility hasn’t passed the Senate, but they feel like they have cleared the biggest hurdle.

  97. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-24 13:42

    correction, now I am confused. Back when the 3 Dems refused to stop that bill by voting yes

    yes should be no. They voted no on the refer to the 41st day. They voted yes on the do pass.

  98. Darin Larson 2016-02-24 13:54

    So property taxes are progressive in your mind? Interesting, I’d love to hear your explanation of that. Is it because you can sell your house to buy groceries? But what if you have a big mortgage and no equity to speak of?

  99. Darin Larson 2016-02-24 13:55

    I should have stated that my question is directed at Mr. Stricherz.

  100. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-24 13:56

    I’ll answer your question when you answer the ones I asked of you yesterday.

  101. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-24 22:58

    Lanny, hang on. We can support HB 1182 and advocate for changes in the funding formula in SB 131 that would get rid of the pressure on most smaller schools to cut staff. Unfortunately, the pressure in the House won’t take SB 131 in that direction. It would be very interesting to sit in on caucus and find out how many Reps are willing to push for more for teachers and how many are angling for less. I get the impression that every No vote on HB 1182 was about doing less. A good portion of the Yes votes are Republicans who are swallowing the biggest pill they can.

  102. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-25 16:01

    Well Cory, I finally got around to try to read SB131, but of course there is nothing on line to allow reading of the full bill. Not that I would have time or inclination to anyway since it was 23 pages long. But I did read the two amendments and it appears that each school district will need an accountant and several attorneys to comply.

  103. Happy Camper 2016-02-25 18:18

    Late back to the game but I had a chance to stop at our tax office who confirmed there is no freeze on farm land. If an elderly person lives on a farm who qualifies the buildings with one acre are all that’s allowed. The state cap allows only a 3% increase a year in the mill levy against assessed value, but farm property value is being re-evaluated by productivity so that’s gone way up, and city assessed amounts have also moved up toward market value so they’ve collected a lot more in taxes. Elderly/disabled that quality for the freeze do have to go every year to remain qualified which is minor to the whole. Arguments should be factual and I gave a specific example that showed farm taxes up almost 350% in 15 years no changes to the property just vacant land. The parcel size hasn’t changed so the number of acres is irreverent: taxes have increased substantially. My opinion everyone not just property owners should directly contribute to education. I would call it a progressive notion for everyone to contribute to education with a dose of accountability for those who want to have children.

  104. Darin Larson 2016-02-25 18:28

    Lanny, can you point me in the direction of your question to me?

  105. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-25 19:02

    Well based on the post at 18:18 and now this one ten minutes later, I have to presume that you and Happy Camper are the same person, because in the earlier threads Happy mentioned the amount of increase in taxes on the particular piece of property and then you come in as Darin and say how unpatriotic or unsupportive of teachers I am by not wanting to pay my share.

    Where my argument comes in is that property taxes were what paid for education my entire life in SD. South Dakota got in trouble with funding education when they froze property taxes 20 years ago and required an opt out to unfreeze them. So now that they have regressed to a point where our teachers are not just the lowest paid in the country but are at least 10% behind the next lowest state. So here is how we will fix that. We will put additional sales tax on all the people including those who don’t own property and whose rent goes up every year because their landlord doesn’t get the freeze.

    My questions were: 1. Is the farmland referenced, rented out?
    2. Were there any opt outs any time during the 15years?
    3. Were any improvements, such as wind towers, buildings added to the property during the 15 years?

    Now you or Happy can claim that there is/was no freeze on taxes on farmland all that you want to, but South Dakota Budget and Policy Institute shows the effects of the tax cut in this bill on farm property.

  106. Darin Larson 2016-02-25 21:19

    Well, I’m not Happy Camper, but I’ll be your huckleberry.

    I don’t think that taxing property of and by itself is very progressive if it is not tied to the productivity and profitability of the property. Real estate property taxes came about because land holdings used to be the chief indicator of wealth in an agrarian society. Real estate holdings can still be an indicator of wealth, but there are many other assets nowadays that are also equal or greater stores of wealth.

    The Repubs have fallen all over themselves not to have an income tax which, if done right, could be truly progressive taxation. Instead they have instituted stealth income tax mechanisms like the bank franchise tax and now a productivity index for ag land. The problem is that productivity does not equal profitability. The ag sector is looking at some tough times ahead that could go into full-blown crisis mode and we could be bleeding red ink, but property taxes will not go down.

    The nineteen forties and fifties brought on the 30 year mortgage and house ownership swelled in America which actually helped the progressiveness of real estate taxes. But the farm crisis of the 80’s called into question the assumption that landholdings were an indicator of wealth and income deserving of taxation.

    A property tax is probably more progressive than a sales tax, but it is still not based necessarily upon your income or wealth. A sales tax is based upon what you purchase which is somewhat correlated to your income. A property taxed is based upon the property that you own which is somewhat correlated to your income. If you take the sales tax off of food, the sales tax gets more progressive.

    I would like to see the sales tax removed from food. I would also like to see a three legged stool that would be more fair: sales, property and income. Reduce the other two and add income.

  107. Darin Larson 2016-02-25 21:22

    Right now we are trying to balance on two legs and we are likely to fall on our ____.

  108. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-02-26 08:14

    Hap and Darin are distinct individuals.

  109. Lanny V Stricherz 2016-02-26 11:04

    Well I can see that I am in way over my head trying to discuss with Happy, Darin and Cory on this issue, so I will let all of you have your way since the Senate will approve the bill shortly, and since it is his bill we know the governor will sign it.

  110. Happy Camper 2016-02-26 11:36

    It’s not about having my way since I can’t change it, but I wanted you Lanny to look at this factually and not tell everyone farmers haven’t had tax increases. There is no tax freeze for farmers or property owners but a cap and max 3% increase more to the mill levy. Assessed value times mill levy equal tax. In my example we did have an opt out 3 years ago but I don’t think more. It is vacant land no improvements, but the assessed value has gone way up based on their new way of assessing value, our city values have gone up, and my city and some others have added “frontage fees” for street improvements which amounts to a tax. You seemed to have an axe to grind that these people should continue to be the only tax payers that pick up the bill and that renters are the only ones affected. Not the case. Yes low income elderly/disabled can keep their low assessed values which can’t amount to that much to the whole of what is collected. Our tax office told me if productivity values go down those ag values could go down. While the market price of land has remained crazy high rental rate of return to that amount is low (2-3%). I’m not complaining about the tax I’m paying though not thrilled but enough is now enough there’s an excessive burden in one area of the tax base. Yes please sign the bill Governor.

  111. Kurt Evans 2016-04-25 22:35

    I’d asked Cory:

    Would you have strong feelings one way or the other about me mounting an independent state senate campaign against Klumb?

    Cory indicated that he wouldn’t, and I wrote:

    I’ll keep you posted.

    In the interest of keeping my word about keeping Cory posted, I’d like to say for the record that I’m not running.

  112. caheidelberger Post author | 2016-04-26 21:27

    Dang it, Kurt! Not even House? Now Rozum and Carson get a free pass to Pierre.

    At least Burg is challenging Klumb for the seat Vehle is leaving in the Senate.

  113. Kurt Evans 2016-04-26 22:28

    Cory writes:

    Not even House? Now Rozum and Carson get a free pass to Pierre.

    For whatever it’s worth, Cory, I share your disappointment.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.