Senate Bill 86, Senator Jeff Partridge’s (R-34/Rapid City) effort to undo his famous 2016 sales tax give-back amendment, got out of the Senate this week, enjoying easy 28–6 approval from the full body after three days of wrangulation in Senate Taxation.
Bart Pfankuch summarizes the debate so far and catches this fine justification for raising taxes from Senator Partridge:
“It’s integral for them to reduce the tax rate in conjunction with estimates of the revenues based on what else is going on, based on econometrics and potential current events,” Partridge said. “Even with the sales tax increase, we continue to have a very low burden on the citizens of South Dakota” [Bart Pfankuch, “Lawmakers Spar over Potential Reduction in State Sales Tax Rate,” South Dakota news Watch, 2019.02.11].
Did you catch that? Republicans raised your taxes in 2016. Senator Jeff Partridge now wants to make that tax hike permanent. That tax hike is o.k., says Senator Partridge, because we still have “a very low tax burden.”
If our tax burden is so low that Republicans can justify a permanent increase, then Democrats should be able to justify swapping out the sales tax with a progressive state income tax that wouldn’t increase that burden at all but would simply reapportion that burden more fairly and promote worker recruitment.