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Senate Spares South Dakotans from Al Novstrup’s Tax Hikes

Perhaps true Republicans should be glad that Senator Al Novstrup (R-3/Aberdeen) struggles to get any of his bills passed. The Senate has had to kill two proposals from Novstrup to increase taxes.

Novstrup proposed Senate Bill 99 to allow counties to collect gross receipts taxes to pay off bonds. The intent was for such bonds to pay for courthouses, sheriff’s offices, jails, and drug/alcohol treatment centers, which are good and necessary. It’s also good and necessary to see Novstrup admit that public services cost more money than his one-party regime has made available to counties. But Novstrup couldn’t translate his good intentions and relationships into a voting majority. SB 99 squeaked out of Senate Taxation on a 4–2 vote but then sank in the Senate with a meager 7 yeas versus 28 nays.

Then Novstrup really tried to open Taxdora’s Box with Senate Bill 131, which would have eliminated the caps on property tax levy increases that currently require counties and school boards to pass controversial opt-out votes that often spark contentious public referenda. Novstrup couldn’t even get that bucket of tax hikes out of committee: Senate Taxation nuked it 5–1.

Aberdeen, District 3, are failed bills and tax hikes what Al Novstrup promised you during last year’s election?


  1. Jake 2023-02-13 10:00

    Cory, I know you were probably disappointed not to win office when you ran against Novstrup: but in the grand overall scheme of things, I think that you certainly have served South Dakota far better doing this blog by which you let SD citizens be far more aware of what is really going on in our state/local government than you could have as a state senator. You’ve created far more awareness (and interest in) what’s going on out here in our state. (Besides, had you won, I’m sure that the GOP powerhouse would have QUICKLY created an “ethics” panel that would have occupied too much of your time!!).

    Not to mention, instead of owning/running amusement parks for fun, you are teaching future generations of voting citizens that will improve our society and country!

    A great big “Thank You” (and other sources of ‘Non-Main Street Medias”) !! Thank You.

  2. grudznick 2023-02-13 11:22

    The day before Valentine’s Day is unofficially known in the legislatures as “Novstrup, the elder, Derangement Syndrome Day.”

  3. P. Aitch 2023-02-13 11:27

    Novstrup’s a con man, grudz. If pressed, I’d testify that grudz is too.

  4. larry kurtz 2023-02-13 11:31

    Hey, 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, sacrifice zone, perpetual welfare state and permanent disaster area?

  5. Donald Pay 2023-02-13 14:20

    SB 131 appeared to be a good bill. I can’t speak to all of it, but the school district funding part of it certainly needs repeal or massive reform.

    You have to understand that the education funding system as structured in the 1990s and which continues, mostly unchanged, from then to today is a giant con. It does not fund education. It was never intended to actually fund education. It funds what was supposed to be a stop-gap measure that was passed to take the pressure off of tax reform.

    Passed in the days when school districts were incurring large spikes in costs due to addition of computers and other technology, as well as more costs associated with expansion of special education, the plan was meant to prevent districts from increasing property taxes beyond inflationary increases (the cap). The problem was the baseline was never established based on educational needs and the costs that would be incurred to meet those needs, but on funding provided at an arbitrary date in the past. The state promised increased state funding in exchange for these caps. Needless to say, the state rarely kept its part of the deal

    When the cap went into effect the Rapid City district’s finance director predicted that in 5-7 years districts would be cutting programs and closing schools, and he was correct. By the time I got on the school board, the district was in a tight financial situation, and we were closing schools and axing programs. For a few years the district did a good job of bringing in extra federal money, which helped fund some innovation.

  6. grudznick 2023-02-13 19:02

    Mr. Pay, it’s been a very long time since you were on the school board. I’m just sayin…

  7. Mark Anderson 2023-02-13 19:37

    Everything I buy a lotto ticket I’m funding Florida education. Show the children gambling pays for their education.

  8. Donald Pay 2023-02-13 22:10

    Yes, Grudz, 22 years. After I left, education went downhill fast. The most egregious parts of the 1990s changes to the education funding system have not changed much, though. There is still the cap of district funding. I understand they have changed parts of the funding formula, but not all of it. As long as the cap is there and the state is not keeping its promise to fund 50 percent of general fund costs, education is eroded year-after-year. The funding formula is still basically a way for the state to fund property tax reduction passed through the education formula. It doesn’t adequately fund education.

  9. Jake 2023-02-14 04:26

    And now the- “next big thing IS”–wait for it; using taxpayer dollars by the well-healed that don’t think public education is for THEIR kids, so “we want the state to give us socialized $$$ to educate our kid either at home or in schools of our choice!” These “well-healed” can afford NOT to have these socialized subsidies, but because they feel that by their presence at the upper rungs of the income ladder they are entitled to the taxpayer $$$!

  10. Jake 2023-02-14 04:29

    This will cause further erosion of the funding for the bottom 75 or 80% of the income ladder for education, because the GOP in SD will not EVER tax what it seems drives people: the lust for more money. . ..

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