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Janklow, Daugaard, Noem All Looked for More Things to Tax

At Monday’s forum with the Downtown Sioux Falls Rotary Club, Democratic candidate for governor Jamie Smith said we could tax recreational marijuana, if voters legalize it, to make up the revenue we’d give up by repealing the food tax, as he has worked to do for years. Smith’s opponent, incumbent Kristi Noem, who refused to participate in the forum, is misrepresenting that sensible fiscal proposal in tweets and robotexts (I got one last night) as a wild liberal plot to “find more things to tax.”

Bill Janklow expressed exactly the same general idea of looking for more things to tax instead if imposing new and higher taxes when he celebrated his efforts to bring Citibank and other usurers to South Dakota:

We were passing legislation to lift the usury ceilings. At the same time, right during that period of time, Citibank contacted us, and when I told them that I was willing to go forward to try and do this, then Citibank and we worked together, and Citibank actually drafted the legislation that I then took to the Republican leadership, and the Democrat. Even though my party had a two-thirds majority, I took it to the Democrat leadership privately and to the South Dakota Bankers Association board of directors. This was all done in private. Once I had all those players together, then we introduced and passed legislation in one day. Literally we introduced it, and it passed our legislature in one day.

And it was one of the best things we ever did, [because] my state’s made hundreds of millions of dollars, hundreds of millions in taxes that we’ve collected. We had a 5 percent tax on the profits from these companies at one time. They make $500 million, we get $25 million. That’s a lot of money in South Dakota. To put it into perspective, one penny on our sales tax statewide raised about $60 million, and they paid the equivalent of over half of that at one time; just fell out of the sky for us. Plus, they put thousands of South Dakotans to work. The highest paid jobs for people in the white-collar industry was at Citibank … [400] people making over $40,000 a year. That was a lot of money 25 years ago. That’s a lot of money today for people [Bill Janklow, interviewed by PBS: Frontline, 2004.08.24].

Dennis Daugaard expressed the same concept of finding more things to tax when he touted economic development as a route to more funding for important government services:

Also, just last month, South Dakota’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), a measure of the state’s productivity by value of goods and services produced, was released.  South Dakota saw a 4.28 percent increase and outpaced the national average for GDP growth.

My No. 1 priority as Governor is to create good, new jobs and expand the economy. Doing so will also grow our tax base, allowing more funding for those things we find important [Gov. Dennis Daugaard, press release, 2011.07.21].

“Grow our tax base”—that means producing more goods and services that the state can rely on for tax revenue. That means finding more things to tax.

Kristi Noem herself has looked for more things to tax. She has promoted bribes economic development incentives for factory feedlots so I-29 corridor counties have more CAFO buildings to tax. She has recruited gun businesses to relocate and expand in South Dakota so we have more of their property and products to tax.

Janklow and Daugaard looked for more things to tax so we can avoid raising other taxes or implementing the dreaded income tax. So has Kristi Noem. So will Jamie Smith.


  1. jim 2022-10-19 06:51

    Kristi Noem has been taxing us SO MUCH that the state has this giant surplus!

  2. Donald Pay 2022-10-19 08:22

    Growing the tax base is different from taxing low-income people to pay for the welfare of the wealthy.” You notice they don’t grow the tax base by taxing vacation homes in the Black Hills. What do you use to grow the tax base? Whether you think of Janklow’s usury policy handed to him by the big banks (I thought it was bad) he did one thing right: he put an income tax on the banks. He should have gone further and instituted a progressive income tax on individuals and other corporations. As with everything Janklow did, and much like Trump, he fudged words. He camouflaged his bank income tax behind some jargon: “bank franchise tax.”

  3. Guy 2022-10-19 08:51

    Well, at least Kristi helped cut the Bingo tax! That helped a majority of South Dakotans since an overwhelming number of us play Bingo.

  4. Mark Anderson 2022-10-19 13:51

    Yes Cory, the people of the United States love Bill Janklow for doing that. Debt is always the beast.

  5. P. Aitch 2022-10-19 16:31

    Justin Van Ormer thinks he saw something. He thinks he saw it “somewhere”. He doesn’t really know but he “believes” he knows.
    How’s that for a recommendation for someone to criticize Cory’s reputation?
    Try again, JayVO.

  6. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-19 17:29

    One of my favorite Bill Janklow quotes came when he was promoting the “Big Deal” with CitiBank. He started out by saying South Dakota was in dire need of additional capital to grow and prosper. Then he said “South Dakota is an agricultural colony of the Federal Reserve Bank in Minneapolis.” That quote, still today, has a ring of truth.

  7. Justin Van Ormer 2022-10-20 07:45

    I’m not criticizing Cory at all.

  8. Donald Pay 2022-10-20 11:32

    Arlo, yes, 40+ years out from the CitiBank deal, it did little to change anything. It did help spark growth in Sioux Falls. Jobs did come with the deal, but capital didn’t. If anything, South Dakota lost farms and farmers.

  9. P. Aitch 2022-10-20 15:58

    Speaking of cutting taxes and showing how liberal states handle a “good economy” and how liberal states are wrongly accused of raising taxes willy-nilly, I quote this note received today from my Governor.

    “State law limits how much the state can spend each year, and thanks to our strong economic growth and our successful work to close special interest loopholes, we are able to send you this check for your share of the extra taxes paid by state citizens and businesses in 2021.”

    A cool $750.00 smack-a-reenos.
    Thanks, liberals for not trying to hide these millions in some shady “rainy day fund” of which ours, like SD’s, is already overflowing

  10. Arlo Blundt 2022-10-20 19:00

    Donald–yes, it’s a scandal…millions and billions sitting in Sioux Falls banks and a pittance invested in South Dakota, outside of Sioux Falls, and practically, little there.

  11. cathy 2022-10-21 01:09

    Yankton is getting a gun manufacturer. It will be right next to the state mental hospital and trusty prison unit and a youth soccer complex. And they got the land for a pittance and a TID. Can GOED money be far behind?

  12. ABC 2022-10-21 01:26

    Growing the tax base? Why? Not needed.

    We should be taxing fewer things actually.

    What has SD government invented that justifies taxing more things? Nothing.

    So the R argument goes, let us tax more things so we have larger tax revenues every year even though we have NO experience in creating anything new and good?

    The opposite is true. Shrink the taxbase 1% every year. Innovate more. Government should not be a dumb exercise of hey we got you voters, now you serve us by giving us more tax dollars every year. Wrong song

  13. M 2022-10-21 06:56

    This is a regressive state intellectually, morally, and economically. It is a state that demotes education through example and modeling like the idiots in Pierre. Morally, well just have a look at the governor who chums around with the likes of Corey Lewandowski yet gives an embryo full rights. Maybe Noem believes a zygote and Corey are of similar mind. And economically, just look around at the state of things. The census reveals the brain drain which causes an economic drain which is increasing at an incredible rate in the small towns around here. Many public schools in the surrounding towns still have oodles of job openings, including you guessed it, social studies and Lakota or culture teachers.

    In a few years, my prediction is that the census will reveal and increase in the male population especially ages 18-30. Fewer young women will remain in a state where they have fewer choices than men. There go your teachers, nurses, etc and there goes your future generations and some very wealthy landowners. Maybe a buffalo common?

  14. M 2022-10-21 07:00

    Sorry, the last two sentence should read: There go your teachers, nurses, etc and there goes your future generations and only the wealthy landowners will remain in this area. Maybe it will become a buffalo commons.

  15. O 2022-10-21 11:53

    I have always thought the centerpiece of SD’s tax policy was taxing “the other guy” through taxing tourism. Get people to visit SD and get THEM to pay all our taxes for us. Vice taxes were same idea. So when Smith spoke about having the marijuana smokers start paying our taxes, that seemed VERY middle of the GOP party line to me.

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