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If Threat Is Real, Noem Needs to Veto Budget Now So Legislators Can Renegotiate

Governor Kristi Noem vetoed three bills on the last day of Session (bringing her veto total for 2023 to four so far). But she hasn’t acted on her biggest veto threat, rejecting the state budget if the Legislature doesn’t repeal the sales tax on food. The Legislature didn’t repeal the food tax; instead, it chose to reduce the state sales tax from 4.5% to 4.2% for four years, providing around $12 million less in tax relief than Noem proposed and spreading that relief around less helpfully. So we should expect Governor Noem to ink up that VETO branding iron and mark up Senate Bill 210, the general budget, right?

Well, if she’s going to take that drastic step, practically speaking, she’d better do it this week. Vetoing the entire state budget, leaving the state without a funding plan for the fiscal year that starts July 1, would send the Joint Appropriations Committee back to the drawing board. Even if Noem’s threat worked, if it made legislators immediately capitulate and promise to repeal the food tax, appropriators would have to recalculate the tax savings and rebalance the budget. Adding or subtracting any millions in SB 210 would bring everyone back to the table asking to get more than they got over the last two months of budget negotiations or to deflect any necessary cuts to someone else’s program.

That renegotiation won’t happen in just a couple hours on Veto Day, Monday, March 27. Appropriators and the rest of the Legislature would need the next two weeks to call and email and Zoom back and forth to figure out how they would respond to a veto of the entire state budget. If Noem expects a budget veto to have the effect she desires, she needs to give the Legislature time to effect that effect.

Of course, if Noem simply threatened her veto for show, and if she has done the headcount with Senators Schoenbeck and Crabtree and realized there’s no way the Legislature will be swayed by her tantrum, she can sit on her branding iron until next Friday, then stamp her veto and her feet, knowing legislators will return on the 27th and swiftly override her veto to ensure the smooth fiscal functioning of the state while she goes on Fox News for more conspiracy-air time.

If Noem’s veto threat was offered in good faith, then it’s time for her to act. Put up or shut up, Kristi. If you’re going to veto the budget, do it now, so the grown-ups can work out Plan B.


  1. Nick Nemec 2023-03-13 09:38

    It’s an act. Stomping her feet to get her way has been her go to play since she was in her terrible twos.

  2. Jake 2023-03-13 09:56

    Amen, Nick; while riding on her unicorn!

  3. grudznick 2023-03-13 11:55

    If Ms. Noem read your bloggings, Mr. H, she’d probably see this one as a double dog dare. However, she does not, grudznick is sure.

  4. Arlo Blundt 2023-03-13 14:39

    Governor Noem will move on to other low lying fruit. Her crack staff is telling her she needs to focus on the Iowa Primary if she is, indeed, going to continue her lucrative campaign to become our next President. She hasn’t even announced officially as a candidate yet, but Ian can comb through his Hillsdale alumni directory and recruit enough Iowa based Hillsdale alums to form an exploratory committee. A quick flight (in the State Plane??) through Sioux City, Council Bluffs, Des, Moines, and Cedar Rapids to press the flesh and model some new outfits will suffice at this point. She needs to finish at least third, ahead of Pence, to become a contender. With her Right to Life cred, that is doable.

  5. 96Tears 2023-03-13 14:40

    Is there a hook here for her national campaign, now in its fifth year?

    If not then she’s looking for a way to slide along and put the session in the books and out of sight. My observation is she flopped horribly through her laziness on the state sales on food removal. That bill offered something for everyone that everyone shares: Eating.

    If there’s a “big” winner in the current sales tax bill it would be big ticket purchasers. Luxury cars, pickups and boats. Higher end houses. Farm machinery purchases. But for folks on fixed incomes, people who are paid crappy wages and others who make up the majority of South Dakota citizens: Bread crumbs at best.

    Nobody put a gun to the Queen of Snowflakes’ head and forced her to make that huge ad and direct mail buy to save her re-election campaign. That promise is forever tattooed to her face. If she had any kind of chutzpah, she’d use that fake branding iron veto device and tell the politicians to go home until they’re ready to pass a total repeal of the state food tax. Period.

    Make it a John Wayne “True Grit” moment, Kristi. Drag their asses into a special session. or meet them at the polls with the sales tax on food removal petition. You’ve got nothing to lose at this point.

  6. grudznick 2023-03-13 20:38

    Well, Mr. Tears, who are we to say those fellows buying cars and boats shouldn’t get the same tax breaks as the rest of us? The legislatures have spoken, and now we must abide.

  7. Mark Anderson 2023-03-13 22:31

    Come on, she’s making South Dakota transgender free. She has balls.

  8. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2023-03-14 05:33

    Grudz, Kristi Noem, like Trump, doesn’t read anything. But someone on her staff checks all the press, including the Dakota Free Press.

  9. 96Tears 2023-03-14 09:23

    Dear Mr. grudznick, you seem to take issue with my political advice to the governor to make it a “True Grit” moment. Is it because you don’t care for grits with your breakfast? Grits can be made to taste great and can go very well with pork gravy. That was my experience when I lived in the South.

    And did you know that grits are “most nutrient-dense and high in fiber” which is good news for your colon?

    Tastes great going in, and hurts less going out. In politics, they call that a win-win.

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