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HB 1001: Increase Income and Home Value Caps for Property Tax Assessment Freeze

While the Governor drafts ineffectual culture-war bills of no practical import for most South Dakotans’ daily lives, rookie Representative Mike Weisgram (R-24/Fort Pierre) puts the first real bill in the South Dakota Legislative hopper, House Bill 1001,  which would help more elderly and disabled South Dakotans qualify for the freeze on property tax assessments.

Weisgram’s bill—and it appears to be totally his bill, as he is the sole sponsor—has three sections. The first is purely style, rewording the age limit from “the age of sixty-five” to “sixty-five years of age.”

Section 2 raise the income caps on the assessment freeze. Currently disabled South Dakotans and South Dakotans over 65 can qualify for the assessment freeze if their household income is less than $20,000 if they live alone or less than $25,000 if they live with others. Weisgram would raise those limits to $35,000 for single-member households and $45,000 for multiple-member households.

Section 3 would raise the property value caps on the assessment freeze. Right now, the county treasurer can’t freeze assessments for single-family dwellings worth $150,000 or more. Weisgram would double that limit, raising it to $300,000.

These limits were last increased in 2004 (Senate Bill 88), when the Legislature swiftly approved raising the income caps from $15,041.28 to $20K for singles and from $18,001.59 to $25K for folks with roomies and raising the value cap from $100K to $150K.

HB 1001 75% increase in the solo household income criterion and 80% increase in the multiple-member household income criterion are a bit below the 85.1% increase in per-capita personal income the St. Louis Federal Reserve reports South Dakotans saw from 2004 to 2020. There may be other metrics to determine the proper index, but if we used this rate of per-capita personal income growth (without adding a good guess for growth in 2021) to determine the increases, HB 1001 would set the single income limit $2,020 higher and the multiple-member income limit $1,275 higher.

Section 3’s doubling of the home value cap aligns reasonably with data from the St. Louis Federal Reserve showing that South Dakota’s all-transactions house price index  increased 103.2% from 2004 Q1 to 2021 Q3. Using that growth rate to set the value cap would add $4,800 to Weisgram’s proposed $300K limit. But the St. Louis Fed says South Dakota’s median house sales price over the same period has increased only 90.3%, which would bring Weisgram’s home value cap down $14,550 to $285,450.

Get out your spreadsheets, Chairman Dennert and House Taxation! You’ve got some figuring to do to catch South Dakota’s property tax freeze up with 17 years of wage and home value increases.


  1. jerry 2021-12-24

    Representative Weisgram makes sense, too much sense as he will probably be the only republcan sponsoring his bill. It looks to me like his bill would likely keep disabled and elderly folks at home to live in the peace of not worrying about investment bankers hovering over their homes like the vultures they are. Good start for the new year.

  2. larry kurtz 2021-12-24

    What’s not to like about six (seven? eight?) month winters, rampant racism, chilling effects on civil rights, an extremist legislature, living in a chemical toilet, perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area? Unless your Social Security pays your property taxes you’re just another miserable grudznick eking out a living and bleeding out every penny you can scrabble.

  3. Arlo Blundt 2021-12-24

    Well…It is time for Republicans to do the right thing. I doubt that they will.They prefer to put the disabled behind the walls of a nursing home.

  4. John 2021-12-25

    Saluting Rep Weisgram’s bill is easy. Let’s make it better. Let’s raise the floors as he proposes. Then let’s tie future annual increases, or decreases (which would be uncommon) to the rightful indexes determining home value and income increases, or uncommon decreases. By tying future floors to indexes frees the legislature from getting 17 years behind in the future.

  5. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2021-12-25

    John, I am curious: why wouldn’t the Legislature have indexed these limits? Tie the income limits to some percentage of the federal poverty level for singles and multi-family households; tie the home value limit to real estate market data—median home value? some percentage thereof? What would be a fair home-value cut-off? Should we get more ambitious and calculate different cut-offs for different housing markets?

  6. ds 2021-12-25

    Sorry but Naysayer Noem should veto this because it covers more than one subject. It needs to be 3 separate bills. What is required for constitutional amendments should also apply to submitted bills.

  7. jerry 2021-12-25

    Not to worry ds, this bill or bills is DOA in fascist South Dakota. You do bring up a valid point though, will all bills or bill be scrutinized to make sure they are all on one topic or is it just the pot bill?

  8. Jake 2021-12-25

    “One topic legislative bills”, hmmmm, this could get real interesting and timely, –fast! given this year’s Supreme Court ruling that the “people” can’t create laws of more than one subject content BUT the legislature, elected by $$$, can?!!!!!
    Are there others besides ds, Jerry and I that see this dark cloud coming over the horizon?

  9. Kent+Frerichs 2021-12-26

    It is gratifying to see that a Democrat concept that became law more than four decades ago is still in effect and continues to keep senior citizens and those disabled in their own homes. It is encouraging that an effort is being made to update the eligibility requirements, as has been done periodically. I had the privilege of serving as the prime sponsor of the original proposal. Governor Janklow also offered a Bill that would have capped the dollar amount. Don Naddy, a former Democrat Legislator and a lobbyist for the County Commissioner’s organization, felt that the Democrat proposal of capping the assessed valuation would be much easier to administer. Consequently, in a bipartisan vote, the Democrat version was enacted. This is just one example of some of the good ideas of Democrats that have become law with bipartisan support. We need to have that happen more often today, both in South Dakota and in the United States Congress.

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