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Desperate Noem Threatens to Veto Budget If Legislature Doesn’t Repeal Food Tax

Evidently stung by criticism of her failure to work hard enough to win approval of the food-tax repeal that she borrowed from Democrats, Governor Kristi Noem is now threatening to throw a tantrum and veto the state budget:

During an unrelated bill-signing ceremony Wednesday in Sioux Falls, Noem responded to questions from the media and suggested she would not approve a state budget that does not include her proposed repeal of the states sales tax on food.

“I don’t think anybody should ever take for granted that I will just automatically sign a budget,” Noem said. “I think it’s silly that they think in two weeks I have got to sign that budget if I don’t like it.”

Noem made similar statements in a Tuesday news release and video. She did not use the word “veto” in the release or during her statements to the media Wednesday. Later Wednesday, South Dakota Searchlight asked Noem’s spokesman, Ian Fury, if Noem is threatening a veto.

“Her words speak plenty well for themselves,” Fury replied [Joshua Haiar, “Noem Threatens to Pull Budget Support If Lawmakers Don’t Pass Her Food-Tax Repeal,” South Dakota Searchlight, 2023.03.01].

(Funny: if Noem’s words speak plenty well for themselves, what is she paying Fury and mostly invisible press secretary Amelia Joy for?)

On SDPB yesterday noon, Lori Walsh asked House Majority Leader Will Mortenson about the prospect of a budget veto. Mortenson strove mightily to flack for his party’s leader, but he noted that the budget usually passes with veto-proof majorities.

Two thirds of the House is 47; two thirds of the Senate is 24. Last year, the FY2023 budget, House Bill 1340, passed with 59 House ayes and 31 Senate ayes. In 2021, the budget passed 61 + 34. In 2020, the budget passed 58 + 31. In, 2019, the budget passed 53 + 27.

Every budget Noem has signed has passed with comfortably more than two-thirds support in each chamber. This year’s budget amidst flush revenues should be no different. Noem’s threat to torpedo the entire state budget just to salvage one of her failed policy priorities demonstrates the desperate measures to which she must resort amidst her distraction with celebrity and lack of actual lawmaking skill.


  1. Nick Nemec 2023-03-02 07:13

    The bottom line is her biggest priorities all failed to pass. Her lack of political clout is interesting, despite winning reelection with 62% of the vote and having huge majorities in both houses of the legislature she is powerless to get anything passed, she is the least powerful governor in over 50 years. When Bill Janklow was governor if one of his propposals was floundering there would be a steady stream of slightly bloody, formerly recalcitrant legislators exiting his office with their arms in slings. And then that proposal would pass.

  2. sx123 2023-03-02 07:23

    Nice. She does have that power and I’m glad she’s threatening with it.

    Although I’ve criticized her for not getting this food tax bill passed, in all honesty, for this type of bill, the governor shouldn’t have to work for it because the legislature should just pass it out of decency without handholding.

  3. ABC 2023-03-02 07:38

    She should veto.

    Either way, we are rich.

    No food tax, we save 4.5% every time we buy groceries.

    4.2 state tax? We save 3 cents for every 10 dollars we spend anywhere.

    The extra money is ours. 3 cents into our millions. Easy way.

  4. John 2023-03-02 08:36

    SD Legislators are acting in their usual tone deafness. Repealing the sales tax on food is popular. One must rhetorically ask, just what interests are the legislators working for?
    The legislators could mitigate the Weiland effect. Or the legislators could at least reduce the inevitable Weiland petition to ‘finish the job’ by barring municipal food sales tax.

  5. Mark Anderson 2023-03-02 08:59

    OK, Ian Fury and Amelia Joy. No producer would go with those names in any movie except a parody. Who’s the next hire Kristi, Crystal Meth?

  6. 96Tears 2023-03-02 09:31

    Where in the world is Amelia Joy? Talk about a governor’s office falling apart. The “LARGEST TAX CUT IN SOUTH DAKOTA HISTORY” and Kristi Noem’s signature legislation for “CUTTING TAXES AND SAVING SOUTH DAKOTA FAMILIES” is officially in the toilet. (Sorry for the capital letters, but that’s how she designed her campaign posters.) All those talking points for Noem’s White House hopes and dreams are as dead as doornails. What is interesting here is what is motivating the vast majority of Republican legislators to embarrass Kristi Noem and prevent her from jumping on the national stage with a bagful of wins and accomplishments of a governor from a small population state and a 90 percent GOP legislature? None of this should have been hard, right?

    Someone once said of a previous Republican governor that “once in a while, a governor doesn’t have all the answers and is just plain wrong.” Failure, normally, should not define a South Dakota governor as long as that governor stood up to the challenge and gave it what he/she could.

    Did Kristi Noem stand up to the challenge of passing a repeal of the state sales tax on food?

    Did Kristi Noem give it what she could?

    No and no. She was too busy priming the pump for her White House campaign.

    Mr. Furry should be brushing up his resume. It will also be tough for him to claim much from his experience as a state employee in little ol’ South Dakota.

  7. All Mammal 2023-03-02 09:58

    I back our governor on this one. Aside from doing what she promised us, it would be swell to see the cocky legislative body get served after an entire session of serving their own interests and thumbing their noses at the people.

  8. O 2023-03-02 10:32

    Overriding a budget veto really would be an impressive punctuation mark to stamp the end to this example of ineffectual leadership. Otherwise all that is left is the tried-and-true nuclear option: to call one final press event at which the Governor theatrically holds her breath until the legislature gives her what she wants.

    I still don’t think it is a given that there will be any tax repeal of any kind. This is the year to fully-fund state investments in its essential services and workers.

  9. Richard Schriever 2023-03-02 10:38

    Mark, I would speculate the next hire to be “Crystal Blue” (persuasion).

  10. Richard Schriever 2023-03-02 10:41

    96 tears – No one expects a beauty pageant winner to actually do anything. Proxy attractiveness to the party is all that sort of “winner” is expected to provide.

  11. larry kurtz 2023-03-02 10:47

    Pass the popcorn and watch the SDGOP train wreck!

  12. DaveFN 2023-03-02 11:39

    *Noem said. “I think it’s silly that they think in two weeks I have got to sign that budget if I don’t like it.”*

    One possible English translation: “They’re mistaken if they think I’ll sign a budget I don’t like.”

  13. DaveFN 2023-03-02 12:08

    “Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite ’em,
    And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.”

    Considering that businesses invariably pass their excise taxes on to the consumer by adding them into the price which (in addition to food tax) also disproportionately affects the poor, maybe it’s time….

    [I know, I know. One issue at a time, the reductionistic approach that prevents us forever from looking at the larger picture and addressing the larger problem]

  14. Arlo Blundt 2023-03-02 12:32

    Well..I believe the Republican Legislature has already ” moved on” leaving Governor Noem as the lamest of ducks. Legislative Republicans have their own fish to fry and the Governor and her national ambitions have become a vexing distraction. Will the budget pass by a veto proof majority? Unless someone in the Legislature “stands tall” for the Governor and there are plenty of the legendary “rewards for courage” handed out, the answer is Yes and the “biggest tax cut in South Dakota History” dies an orphan.

  15. Vi Kingman 2023-03-02 14:36

    Not only lack of lawmaking skills but of leadership skills as well.
    Hard to lead the nation when you can’t lead her state.
    Maybe she could blame China.

  16. John 2023-03-02 18:23

    . . . or blame Obama, or Biden.
    Delighted she found the estrogen to veto the hotel tax increase.
    The captive republican legislators are bribing the rentier class with a property tax reduction and partial refund – none of which will end up in the pockets of folks working 2-3 jobs.
    The republican legislators are like a parody of the Churchillian ‘worst form of government except for all the others’.

  17. Mark Anderson 2023-03-02 19:01

    Well the Florida legislature is doing backflips and handstands for the shortstop who wants to be centerfielder Fury and Joy.

  18. Elizabeth 2023-03-03 17:27

    After she fails miserably at everything she promised in her re-election campaign, scuttling her reputation even here in South Dakota where voters love her (but will they now?), I’d love to see the texts and emails behind the scenes at FOX News: “Dumb as a box of rocks”? “Pretty, but can she type?” “All fluff, no substance”?

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