Democrat Jamie Smith showed up to talk to voters at the Downtown Sioux Falls Rotary Club’s gubernatorial candidate forum yesterday; Republican Kristi Noem and Libertarian Tracey Quint did not.
The Rotary shares the full video here; the conversation with Smith starts at 25:45:
While Noem didn’t have time to attend and face the voters, her campaign did have time to dig quotes out of context for cheap attacks. She was quick to tweet that Smith “said today that he wants to find ‘more things to tax.’”
This statement misrepresents Smith’s point. Around minute 32, Smith discusses the long-standing proposal to repeal the food tax that Kristi Noem resisted until she needed a “political stunt” to save her failing campaign. At 33:30, he addresses the question of replacing the revenue we would lose from repealing the food tax:
…I am concerned about, you know, revenue. And first of all I think marijuana’s going to pass this year, and I think we’re going to have a new thing to tax. A good friend of mine from the past said, “We don’t need to tax things more; we need more things to tax,” and I think we’re going to get one, and I think we’re going to end up there with an offset [Rep. Jamie Smith, Downtown Sioux Falls Rotary Club forum, video provided by DSFRC, 2022.10.17, timestamp 33:30].
Smith was not talking about going on a tax-increasing binge; he was citing an old truth about sales tax and economic development: if you expand your marketplace, making it possible for people to sell more goods and services, you’ll collect more tax revenue without raising tax rates. I don’t know who the old friend was he was quoting, but the words he stated could as easily come from the mouth of Mike Rounds, Bill Janklow, or George Mickelson as from Dick Kneip.
If Noem had shown up for the Rotary forum, she and Smith could have honestly discussed that point. Instead, she stays home in her pajamas and tweets from her couch.
And she still hasn’t called that Special Session or done anything else to make the promise of repealing the food tax a reality.