Press "Enter" to skip to content

Al Novstrup Proposes $39-Million Tax Increase for Social Program

Senator Al Novstrup
Don’t raise taxes unless I say so!

Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen), who campaigned four months ago as an opponent of liberal tax increases, has proposed a liberal tax increase.

Senate Bill 169 would raise property taxes 0.5 mill (50¢ per $1,000 of value) on every class of property. SB 169 dedicates this tax increase to “increasing the wages of the employees employed by community support providers and nursing facilities.”

Working from 2015 data from the South Dakota Municipal League, raising taxes on all property by 50¢ per $1,000 of value on $78.8 billion of total taxable property valuation would raise South Dakotans’ taxes by $39.4 million, essentially wiping out the $36.4 million in property tax relief that was used to secure passage of the 2016 sales tax increase for teacher pay.

Novstrup sponsors this $39.4 million tax increase after voting for last year’s $107 million sales tax increase and 2015’s $85 million road tax increase.

At today’s crackerbarrel in Aberdeen, Senator Novstrup explains this bill is a response to a problem brought to his attention by Aspire, an Aberdeen non-profit that provides services to people with developmental disabilities. Citing Aspire exec Jennifer Gray, Senator Novstrup said Aspire is only able to pay employees $11 an hour, well below the wages the state pays at the Redfield Developmental Center. This uncompetitive wage means significant employee turnover at Aspire, which erodes quality and continuity of care. SB 169 does not specify how the state would make these funds available for community support providers and nursing facilities, nor any accountability for use of these state dollars, nor any clear guidance on competitive salary standards to be met. It is a tax hike buttered with a vague promise.

Aspire foundation board member and former legislator Paul Dennert rose to question the wisdom of raising property tax, which is dedicated to local use like schools and roads, to add to a new state budget item in the general fund. Dennert suggested raising the excise tax on cars instead. Dennert’s grandson and current District 3 Representative Drew Dennert said he would prefer an alternate funding mechanism. Senate Pro-Tem Brock Greenfield (R-2/Clark) said “property tax probably isn’t the proper way to start the conversation.” Representative Burt Tulson (R-2/Lake Norden) referred to SB 169 as a “vehicle bill,” indicating he doesn’t view Novstrup’s proposal as anything close to passable in its current form.

But every Republican who spoke to Senate Bill 169 today, including Al Novstrup, signaled a desire to raise taxes for a good social program.


  1. Porter Lansing 2017-02-04

    … phony baloney good time rock & rollers

  2. jerry 2017-02-04

    Aspire is a national company, why not ask the home office for some money. Al knows that with the Medicaid block grants, South Dakota will be in the red by the 1st of February each year. Keeping the elderly and disabled in the nursing homes is gonna cost a whole lot of taxpayer money for this state. So property tax and spend republicans are already getting that horse ready to ride.

  3. Alan F 2017-02-04

    The regressive tax structure in this state needs to be totally re-done. I sincerely hope this bill dies a very quick death.

  4. scott 2017-02-04

    SD definitely needs to pay these care workers more money. From experience I know there is great turnover among these care workers.

    I’m not a fan of Al’s, but I do give him credit for proposing a tax increase to pay these workers more.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2017-02-04

    I agree 100% that we should find a way to provide these services. I find it fascinating that it takes a Republican to tell us that we have to raise taxes and use big government to solve a problem.

  6. grudznick 2017-02-04

    Mr. Novstrup, the elder, is one of the most caring individuals in the legislatures. If his idea is bad or people don’t agree, at least they can’t say he’s not stepping up to the plate with good, solid ideas instead of sitting around whining.

  7. Porter Lansing 2017-02-04

    Novstrup Is A Common Con-Man
    How To Be Elected In South Dakota …
    Never combat any one’s opinion; for though you may live to 200 years, you can never set them right on all the absurd things that they believe.
    It is also well to avoid correcting people’s mistakes in conversation, however good your intentions may be; for it is easy to offend people, and difficult, if not impossible, to mend them.
    If you feel irritated by the absurd remarks of two people whose conversation you happen to overhear, you should imagine that you are listening to a dialogue of two fools in a comedy.
    The man who comes into the world with the notion that he is really going to instruct in matters of the highest importance, may thank his stars if he escapes with a whole skin. – Arthur Schopenhauer 1844
    Wise and clever people learn early on that they can display conventional behavior and mouth conventional ideas without having to believe in them. The power these people gain from blending in is that of being left alone to have the thought they want to have, and to express them to the people they want to express them to, without suffering isolation or ostracism. Once they have established credibility they can try to convince a wider circle of the correctness of their ideas.

  8. jerry 2017-02-04

    I really am astounded that everyone is in agreement that a private company should have taxpayers pay their help more. Where in the business plan does it say that taxpayers must pay increased taxes so that a private company can get more profit? Is that a Russian thing?

  9. Porter Lansing 2017-02-04

    Exactly, Jerry. Does anyone really believe Al Novstrup is going to propose a property tax increase to help anyone or anything except his own business? It’s a ploy to appear compassionate and community minded with zero percent chance of going anywhere.
    Just Another Phony Baloney Good Time Rock & Roller

  10. grudznick 2017-02-04

    Since we are down to one Novstrup in the legislatures, it would be swell if Mr. Dennert, the eldest, were to run again and serve with his grandson. From district of Aberdeen we could have Novstrup the elder, young Mr. Dennert, and Mr. Dennert the eldest. Plus that would run the table on having conservative, liberal, and moderate representation for Aberdeen. Everybody would win.

  11. Kurt Evans 2017-02-04

    Forty million here, forty million there, and pretty soon you’re talking real money.

  12. Adam 2017-02-04

    Al Novstrup sucks; he campaigns on lower taxes but has secret plans up his sleeve to raise taxes.

  13. Greg 2017-02-05

    Adam you are right, Al Novstrup does suck. This will be the third year in a row that he purposed tax increases. Maybe Al and the two Greenfields could break some new ground for the Republicans and purpose a state income tax.

  14. Roxanne 2017-02-05

    Something stinks in the capitol building.

Comments are closed.