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HB 1042 Reduces Taxes and Paperwork for Riparian Buffer Strippers

Governor Noem’s well-subsidized brothers must want to grow some grass.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources, which the Governor can proceed to bury now that the Republican Senate has refused to get behind Senator Troy Heinert’s effort to stop the complete corporate capture of our environmental regulations, asked for a farewell gift from the Legislature: House Bill 1042, a measure to gently expand the tax break we give to landowners for maintaining grassy buffer strips along our lakes and streams. HB 1042 lowers the assessment on riparian buffer strips from 60% of the standard agricultural income value to 50%. That may not be much—the Friends of the Big Sioux River report that the total tax savings for landowners currently participating in the program in 2019 were only $2,900, so arithmetically, we may deduce that reducing the assessment from 60% to 50% of standard ag value would bring those savings to $3,600. But we should welcome any additional incentive the state is willing to offer to get more landowners to adopt good conservation practices.

HB 1042 also reduces paperwork: grass-minded landowners will no longer have to apply for the riparian buffer strip tax break every year; applications and reduced assessments will now be approved for ten years.

This pleasant reduction of taxes and bureaucracy sailed through House and Senate unanimously last month and received the Governor’s signature on February 25. So send in your applications, farmers, and keep those plows back from the creeks!


  1. SD is 20 per cent nonwhite 2021-03-10

    Unanimously? It means the Me Too Democrats voted Yes on this welfare?

    Why do the Democrats have a separate political party, if they vote with the Rs on this welfare?

    Do I as a citizen get a tax break if I stand on a piece of grass by a Game Stop Store?

    Why do we elect 11 Democrats if they are kissing Republicans ugly butts on bad bills?

    A REAL Democratic Governor elected in 22 will split DENR and Agriculture into 2 separate departments.

    Where are the tax breaks for W2 workers and 1099 Contractors?

    A unanimous vote means the Democrats weren’t doing their job!

    New Legislature in 22. Vote them ALL out!

  2. SD is 20 per cent nonwhite 2021-03-10

    A Democratic Governor, elected in 22 and taking office in January 2023, should do this:

    Spend time every week THINKING of tax breaks we can give to wage workers and 1099 wage workers, too.

    Governor Kneip speaking in the mid 1980s said he hoped the Democratic Party he loved should regain its footing and be a leader again.

    Unanimous vote on landowners welfare? No way.

  3. SD is 20 per cent nonwhite 2021-03-10

    Tax breaks can be reduction in sales taxes, rebate on rent paid, graduated income tax with 3 or 4 % tax at the high income levels (people can always move to Wyoming if they don’t like income tax).

    Maybe there could be a Permanent Dividend Program, like Alaska has. Base it on a tax levied on gold production and a tax on the Trust Companies operations (not a tax on trust money, but a bigger tax on trust companies). That could be a few hundred dollars a year for every citizen.

    Drunk driving and voting with Republicans are big no no’s for Democrats. Or Democrats don’t let Democrats vote elephant.

  4. Mark Anderson 2021-03-10

    Let’s see, so Democracts don’t vote Elephant, that’s asinine.

  5. Jeff Barth 2021-03-11

    Clean drinking water is important for all of us. Clean water is important for the natural world, fish, birds, mammals too.
    Doing the right thing is not the wrong thing.

  6. Donald Pay 2021-03-11

    I agree with Mr. Barth. When I lobbied for the Sierra Club in the 1990s, our groups were very supportive of incentives like this that provided a bit of encouragement for land management that protected the environment. You can do that both through regulation and through incentives. Generally, incentives have less push back, and can be just as effective. If they don’t work, you can always regulate.

  7. Arlo Blundt 2021-03-11

    Well…I’m very supportive of Riparian buffer zones adjacent to waterways and, if I ruled the world, would provide more of a tax adjustment and a periodic cash payment for the additional wildlife habitat provided by the buffers.We are facing a rising tide of hog manure. We can’t let the pathogens become dominant in the environment. Buffers, yes. Dysentery, No.

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