I’m having a lot of fun pointing out that our Republican Governor is asking Republican legislators to vote to collect more sales tax from South Dakota voters less than two months before most of them face reëlection. Rep. Susan Wismer (D-1/Britton), who has already won her promotion to Senate and faces no immediate electoral backlash from a potential vote in the September 12 Special Session to raise taxes, tells me to quit calling the potential vote a tax increase:
Anyone that talks like that is encouraging non-compliance. We have a voluntary tax system, and every citizen has an obligation to pay that tax, and the fact that they choose not to pay it is only inefficient administration, and when they call that a tax increase, as far as I am concerned, they are just encouraging not following existing tax law, and that’s not healthy [Rep. Susan Wismer, audio transcribed from “Support Growing for South Dakota Special Session,” WNAX Radio, 2018.08.13].
I disagree with the honorable representative from my favorite town almost in North Dakota. I’m not encouraging people to flout existing law. Unlike the Aberdeen City Council, I agree completely with the good Representative that South Dakotans should pay the full sales tax demanded by law on every purchase. I think it would have been far more constitutional and respectful of state sovereignty for our Legislature and our Attorney General to pursue compliance from South Dakota taxpayers on their online purchases rather than luring the Supreme Court into putting political convenience over the Constitution and granting South Dakota tax collectors jurisdiction over online vendors who have never set foot in South Dakota.
But there is no error in describing the September 12 Special Session as an invitation to get more sales tax. The Governor’s clear intent in calling this special session is to hasten the implementation of the Wayfair ruling and increase the sales tax revenues that South Dakota and its municipalities collect.