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Noem Afraid of Special Session to Push Promise of Immediate Food Tax Relief

Predictably, Governor Kristi Noem is not willing to call a Special Session to enact her new campaign promise to repeal the food tax. She rejected the proposal for fast-acting tax relief while shopping for votes at the grocery store yesterday:

“I’m not convinced that we have enough votes to pass it right now,” Noem told reporters at Sunshine Foods. “I don’t want to put us in a situation where this bill fails. It’s too important for us to get relief to the families of South Dakota and I want to make sure the legislators are well educated so that they do vote for this” [Eric Mayer, “Smith, Noem Differ on When Food Sales Tax Should Be Repealed,” KELO-TV, 2022.10.12].

Noem then tweeted a jumble of statements about wanting to sign a food tax repeal as soon as possible, needing a two-thirds vote to pass such a measure before the regular Session, and pretending that she is the real leader on the food tax issue:

Kristi Noem, tweet, 2022.10.12.
Kristi Noem, tweet, 2022.10.12.
Kristi Noem, tweet, 2022.10.12.
Kristi Noem, tweet, 2022.10.12.

No wonder Noem couldn’t stay long at the grocery store: Sunshine would have thrown her out for selling baloney on their property.

Noem’s gaslighting on leadership is blatant and appalling. Her Democratic opponent in the governor’s race, Representative Jamie Smith, and other Democratic legislators have been advocating a food tax repeal for years. The Republican legislators who have jumped on that bandwagon have supported the idea for months. Noem has been publicly supporting a food tax repeal for two weeks.

Her gratuitous slam against Smith for lacking leadership is a distraction from her failure to wield her power and lead her party to make her promise real. Sure, Smith said he doesn’t have a headcount right now, but he’s at least calling on legislators to get together and work out a solution that will provide immediate tax relief. Noem is the Republican Governor of a Republican state with a Republican supermajority in the Legislature. She is proposing a tax cut for every South Dakotan, an idea that epitomizes the Republican platform. And she has millions of dollars in spare campaign cash. A Republican leader in that lucky situation shouldn’t have to namby-pamb around “educating” legislators. She should be able to exercise real leadership by convening her fellow Republicans (and all those helpful Democrats who will solidly support a proposal to enact this moral policy that they’ve been fighting for for years) and saying, “We’re going to vote on repealing the food tax. Your voters back home will go to the polls in a few days. Do you really want to look them in the eye and tell them you just refused to lower their grocery bill? Do you want me to look them in the eye and tell them that? Pass this bill.”

Noem’s two-thirds vote assertion is also a distraction from her refusal to act as soon as possible—i.e., through a Special Session—to provide the tax relief she claims she supports.

First, let’s be clear: it does not take a two-thirds vote to cut taxes. It takes a two-thirds vote to raise taxes or implement new taxes [SD Const. Art. 11 Sec. 14], but cutting taxes requires a simple majority. It takes a two-thirds vote to enact a bill with an emergency clause to take immediate effect [SD Const. Art. 3 Sec. 22], but a food tax repeal enacted by majority vote at a Special Session on November 3 would take effect 90 days after the Special Session adjourns—i.e., on February 1. And the two-thirds-plus Republican Legislature has been passing more emergency clauses than ever lately, so getting a two-thirds vote for a Republican Governor’s proposal to do a Republican thing should be no problem.

Waiting for the regular Session does not make it any easier to pass swift tax relief. If Noem anticipates that she can’t muster a two-thirds vote from Lee Schoenbeck’s Senate, waiting for January to put a bill before the Legislature won’t get us food tax relief until July 1, if at all. A leader would recognize that we may have a better chance of pushing a majority to back a food tax repeal right now, in the heat of an election, under the attentive eye of citizens casting votes, than we will come winter when all of the legislators are safely insulated from ballot-box consequences by 20 months.

The only reason Noem wouldn’t want to call a vote on food tax now is that she’s afraid she can’t exert the leadership necessary to get the Senate to pass the Democratic policy that she has endorsed as a campaign promise. She is afraid that her own party would rebuke her, with all the voters watching, just days before the election.

In other words, Noem’s campaign mouth is writing checks that the public cash. She now must spin wild tales to stop Smith, Phil Jensen, and other legislators from taking us all to the bank to see how little cash Noem has in her account.


  1. scott 2022-10-13 07:17

    Noem’s food tax repeal idea is actually starting to hurt her. Her announcement and the SDSU poll show she is in trouble and beatable. Then yesterday she admitted her fellow republican legislators will not help her get re-elected by passing a food tax repeal.

    If Noem does not have the backing of her fellow republicans, that shows the voters that Noem is not popular among top republicans and that will send a message to other voters that it is OK to think about voting for someone other than Noem.

    Noem’s food tax scam is starting to backfire bad on her, especially since she has never presented how this lost money would be made up.

  2. BobJ 2022-10-13 09:00

    How would she know the legislature in SD, she is never there. Social climbing, fake, lying, those are her strong suits. Perfect Republican.

  3. O 2022-10-13 10:03

    The unspoken REAL difference here is that the Governor’s failure will be after the election. I want to give Governor Gnome the benefit of the doubt and point to a legislative promise that she was able to deliver on, but I keep coming back to a special session to “fix” the problems with the abortion trigger laws, the Critical Race an Divisive concepts fiasco, and even the grocery tax itself in the last legislative session. Even when she did executive orders in the past, she often was backed down by business interests.

    I guess as a voter I’m looking for that evidence of success. “I’ll deliver on the the grocery tax relief — just like I delivered on . . . “

  4. All Mammal 2022-10-13 12:13

    She has absolutely no desire whatsoever to help South Dakotans. Especially broke ones. She never intended to repeal an tax for us lowly peons.

    She is so cold blooded, I keep expecting to see her long tongue come out like a reptile and lick her own eyeball.

  5. Vi Kingman 2022-10-13 12:22

    If Noem can’t get the votes from her own party, then what kind of a leader is she?
    Plus, if she knew she doesn’t have the votes to pass removing the tax off of food why did she bring it up?
    Of course we all know why.

  6. larry kurtz 2022-10-13 13:07

    On twitter Emperor Schoenbeck’s son Jake is calling Noem spokesboy a liar so the chasm in the SDGOP is widening ever more.

  7. O 2022-10-13 13:30

    Larry, what specific lie is he calling out?

  8. larry kurtz 2022-10-13 13:41

    Ian Fury, “Jazzmine, are you a reporter or an editorial writer? Governor Noem told Senate leadership this past session that she supported this tax cut reaching her desk, but they killed it. That’s a fact. Tell the full story, or else go to work for the @RepJamieSmith campaign.”

    Jake Schoenbeck, “This is a blatant lie @IanTFury and either you know it or you weren’t involved enough to know what happened. You are only doing a disservice to the Governor’s campaign and her integrity with lies like this.”

  9. Rules Guy 2022-10-13 14:16

    I believe her saying it takes 2/3 vote to pass is because it would take a 2/3 vote for the legislature to call itself into special session.

  10. Phil 2022-10-14 08:58

    Are special sessions restricted to only one topic?

  11. bearcreekbat 2022-10-14 11:45

    To answer Phil’s question, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, more than one topic can be addressed in a special session as long as the topic is identified in advance for the agenda, which would seem to apply to SD unless there is a special SD statute that changed this general rule.

    [Special sessions] occur intermittently to deal with the specific issues or topics. Usually, the scope of a special session—that is, the topics that may be taken up—is limited to the issues specified in the notice calling for the special session.

    Here, in my view, a second important topic for a special session would be to consider amending SD’s First Degree Murder statutes, such as SDCL 22-16-1, and 4, and the section of the aggravating circumstance statute (SDCL 23A-27A-1(6), that automatically permits imposition of the death sentence, before some overzealous, politically ambitious SD prosecutor grabs ahold of these atrocious laws and convinces some jury to impose the death sentence on some hapless woman, and anyone that helps her, for unlawfully terminating her pregnancy.

    It would be a simple amendment to add language to the First Degree murder statute similar to the express and clear exclusion in the Fetal Homicide Statute, SDCL 22-16-1.1 (“This section does not apply to acts which cause the death of an unborn child if those acts were committed during any abortion, lawful or unlawful, to which the pregnant woman consented”).

    The claims by the Governor that a pregnant woman won’t be punished for an unlawful abortion, coupled with the deafening silence on these murder laws so far from legislators, the AG’s office, local States Attorneys, and even most media, would seem to be a sign that the majority of legislators don’t really support the State killing women, doctors, family and friends, or mandating life in prison without parol, for obtaining or assisting a consensual, but now unlawful, thanks to Dobbs and various SD trigger statutes (see e.g. SDCL 34-23A-3, 4 and 5), termination of a pregnancy gone bad. A special session to change these draconian laws seems like a good idea unless our State legislators really do hope to quietly use up more of SD’s supply of lethal injection drugs on a brand new group of women, doctors, and their complicit friends and family that can be convicted of participating in a termination of a pregnancy “perpetrated without authority of law and with a premeditated design to effect the death of . . . an unborn child.” SDCL 22-16-4.

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