Four East River Republicans want more government and more taxes, in the form of new taxes imposed by a new water project district around Lakes Thompson and Henry in Kingsbury County:
Rural residents from the flood-prone Lake Thompson and Lake Henry area of Kingsbury County have received the green light to hold an election on whether to form a water project district that would have taxing power and local financial support and could seek state and federal assistance to reduce or respond to new flooding.
The state Board of Water and Natural Resources on Thursday approved a resolution recognizing that the petition was valid and calling for a local vote to happen within 60 days. If voters establish the district, a second election would be held to choose the district’s directors.
Publicly supporting the effort are the Kingsbury County Commission and four state legislators from the broader area: Republican Sen. Casey Crabtree, Republican Rep. Roger Chase, Republican Rep. John Mills and Republican Rep. Tim Reisch [Bob Mercer, “Lake Thompson Landowners Seek a Water Project District,” KELO-TV, 2023.03.30].
The new district would encompass 47 square miles, 5.4% of Kingsbury County:
In their letter to the Board of Water and Natural Resources (see March 30 agenda packet, way down in the middle of the PDF), the Lake Thompson Area Water Project District Petition Committee says hot-diggity-dog to the prospect of getting lots of federal money to make their lakeside lives less wet:
The petition committee says their petition has gathered signatures from about 65% of voters within the proposed district boundary, well above the 25% required by SDCL 6-16-2. As of March 1, Kingsbury County’s registered voters were 61.3% Republican. Unless the Democrats who make up barely a fifth of Kingsbury County’s electorate have clustered around the lakes, a lot of Republican lakeshore property owners are calling for new government, new taxes, and more state and federal money to support their lakeside lifestyle.
Maybe I should asterisk “a lot”: the petition includes 28 signatures, which suggests the total number of qualified voters within the proposed district boundaries is maybe 43.
But we should also asterisk that “28” and “65%”: a voter count included in the agenda packet and labeled as “Received from Kingsbury County Auditor” indicates that the auditor counted 26 valid signatures on the petition out of 52 registered voters who live in the proposed Lake Thompson water district:
26 out of 52 is 50%, which by no stretch of imagination rounds up to 65%. Hmmm… if they get their water district, let’s hope the Lake Thompson boosters are better at counting all those federal dollars they are after than they are at counting their voting neighbors.
Anyway, I can understand why a good liberal would advocate gathering the community to work together through government, pay taxes, and seek assistance from Uncle Sam to improve its quality of life. What I can’t understand is why good conservative anti-government Republicans like Casey Crabtree, John Mills, and any of the 61.3% of registered Republicans in Kingsbury County would support such creeping taxation, big government, and socialism.