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South Dakota Surplus Could Have Covered Food Tax Repeal

South Dakota state government took $115.5 million more out of taxpayers’ pockets than it really needed to in Fiscal Year 2022, which ended June 30. The Governor’s Office celebrates this fiscal overcharge as a surplus, but remember: Back in February, Governor Kristi Noem said South Dakota couldn’t afford to cut the sales tax to give working people a break and they’re growing grocery bills. Such a tax cut passed the House on a bipartisan vote, but Noem’s Republican allies in the Senate killed it.

At the time, I calculated that eliminating our unusual sales tax on food would have cost the state about $80.4 million. The overcharge the governor announced yesterday could have paid for the entire food tax repeal and still left a historically remarkable $35 million surplus.

Cutting the food tax would produce immediate economic stimulus, as the beneficiaries—i.e., you, me, and other working people getting groceries for their families—would translate that entire tax cut into increased consumer spending. Such stimulus would strengthen South Dakota’s economy. However, since Governor Noem prefers words to action, and since she is already committed to her counterfactual campaign slogan that South Dakota has the “strongest economy in the nation,” she prefers bragging about more money in her government hands than more cash in your pockets.


  1. DaveFN 2022-07-19 10:07

    Excellent, Cory.

  2. Eve Fisher 2022-07-19 10:13

    Meanwhile, in order to determine the best state economies, WalletHub compared the 50 states and the District of Columbia across three key dimensions: 1) Economic Activity, 2) Economic Health and 3) Innovation Potential.
    South Dakota ranks 37th.

  3. buckobear 2022-07-19 11:31

    Our Democratic Party candidates need to be thumping this tub from now ’til November.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2022-07-19 14:26

    There is no such thing as a “surplus” in state government. Any surplus is just over taxation. Why South Dakotans should be over taxed to put money into an investment fund for unspecified purposes has never been explained by the Noem administration. It’s just bad planning and bad tax policy.

  5. Jake 2022-07-19 15:12

    Arlo, you are so “right on”!! Poor planning toward what’s good for ALL the state, not just a select few meant to be longterm beneficiaries if the ruling GOP. Taxes whenever considered by the GOP in South Dakota, always are considered with the mind-set of the majority party- “How can we get back what we (gov’t) pay out to the darned Natives and the poorer of our society. THEY need to pay THEIR fair share to the system.” Hence, as we’ve seen nationally since the Reagan years, tax cuts go largely to the wealthiest who don’t need them while the bottom struggles harder. Upside down, only because of greed/power. Tell me, when did it ever really hurt the rich to be dealing with inflation? 5 or 6 $$ gas doesn’t cause them any ‘pain’ like it does the woman with 2 kids needing to commute to a low-wage starter job. No compassion GOP, greedy GOP, lying GOP.

  6. larry kurtz 2022-07-19 15:23

    Nearly 100,000 people in South Dakota are food insecure and since Republicans have given up local control to being ruled by Pierre there are far fewer donations to food banks.

  7. Jake 2022-07-19 21:33

    Of course, there was no mention of where this surplus came from was there, of any thing other than the political reference to running “good government” for the people. Largely due to the transfer of payments from the Feds thru Bidens’s “Build Back Better Plan” and the millions sent to Pierre from Washington “for the good of the people” but all the time she (Noem) was holding out her hands for more and more federal $$$ largess, she was whining and crying crocodile tears over how bad Biden was for America and SD. Such a hypocrite, and some think she deserves another term of governing. !
    When we are ‘over-taxed’ from sales and property tax to the tune of 115 million $ in one year, on top of last yr and the yr prior, there’s something wrong in paradise, wouldn’t one think?!!!

  8. 96Tears 2022-07-20 08:49

    Stop the steal, Kristi, and do one decent thing in office. Give us back our money, you slacker.

  9. Bonnie B Fairbank 2022-07-20 18:30

    You are correct, Arlo, about the State gummint surplus. I shall now address Fall River County’s rapacious property taxes (I write pompously.)
    I’m eligible for, and have applied twice, to no avail, for The Elderly/Disabled PropertyTax Freeze. I even wrote a testy letter to the Hot Springs Star/FRC Herald they actually published before they recognized what a Librul, mouthy, NASTY FEMALE Demoncrat I was, about the lack of FRC’s responsibility.
    Property taxes took 38% of my 2017 income; 30% 2018, 34% 2019, 36% 2020.
    My property was reassesed yesterday and the cheerful and perky assessers assured me I merely had to return to the courthouse AGAIN and apply AGAIN.
    I’m a patient but poor person and can’t afford a lawyer, but I’m beginning to understand why an old, widowed veteran might throw a stapler at a county employee.

  10. All Mammal 2022-07-20 19:22

    Dammit, Mz. B.B. Fairbank- I am willing/able to assist you in whatever way you might find my services appropriate. I will be in Hot Springs when you say go. They tried that with my mom (Pennington) and my buddy (Meade) and we managed to get the appraiser to see things our way or get the right paperwork into the right hands and freeze the outrageous property tax.

    I’ll admit, donating my sometimes shadowy services gives me purpose and so I get a double whammy out of helping. Sometimes alls it takes is a six foot, strapping(if I say so myself) mobile, smart lipped broad OR delightfully courteous damsel(whichever the occasion calls for) advocate to haul you around or escort you or creep through some tall grass, WHATEVER (and I mean whatever) you need; just tell me when and where. I have resources and love to help my independent sisters live in peace and be treated fairly. Especially those who feed the over wintering birds!

  11. mike from iowa 2022-07-20 19:36

    Noem’s surplus likely came from tax payers in blue states via fed gubmint handouts

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