Legislative View

Legislative View
We have completed our last full week. The weather turned nasty on Friday in Pierre and stranded many of us here. Luckily we were able to hold a legislative day on Saturday to complete the rest of our bills (extra funding for education) and allow appropriations to complete their additions and subtractions to the General Bill (the bill that funds state government).

This should be completed by 1 p.m. on Saturday, which would allow the Legislative Research Council the 6 to 8 hours needed to check and cross-reference all the amendments containing dollar requests because this needs to be in balance when we vote on the final draft when we reconvene on Monday.

The bill of the week had to be SB 173. It has good intentions but in my opinion lots of flaws. As you may be aware, there is a 150 percent rule established in 1996 to help fix tax problems in agriculture. This was intended to be a temporary fix and has been building into a bigger problem ever since. Due to rapid increases in sales prices for agriculture land, mainly in Turner County, if the sale is more than 150 percent, the average of comparable sales in the county, it cannot be used to reassess the county average. SB 173 attempted to fix the problem by moving away from market values to determine the assessment that taxes are based on and instead use cash rent of the property. There is a calculation used which consists of the cash rent, soil quality and rainfall amounts and when computed would give the tax liability for that property.

The problems I had with this bill and why I did not support it was because it is unfair within the agriculture community. I do not see the fairness in ground worth 50K/acre around Sioux Falls being assessed the same tax as ground in Turner County

which sells for 3K/acre, with the same soil quality.

The other problems were all the exceptions: income was not counted from hunting lodges, wind power, CRP payments, movie/film industry, and power line easements. These should not be excluded. Also I felt there were many loopholes in how cash rents or income was reported and I could think of at least three ways that I would be able to dodge taxes with this bill passage. HB 1308 and this bill SB 173 if brought together would have some potential to fix this problem and concerns I described above, but it will not be this year.

SB 207 passed the House which is technically a trigger bill and will raise the minimum wage over a period of three years only after the federal government passes the minimum wage bill at the federal level. Some concerns with passing the minimum wage increase before the federal one is passed is that it could inadvertently place people over the income limits so they may not qualify for benefits such as food stamps or other programs. We do not want to harm the ones we are trying to help.

SJR9 is a Senate joint resolution, passed the House 38-32 which would allow the voters at the next general election to allow legislators to have an additional five fun filled days in Pierre. Presently the first year we are in Pierre for 40 days and the second year we are here for 35 days. The bill would have kept us here for 40 days each year but the Senate showed some wisdom and voted the bill down.

SB 199 passed both houses and has been signed by the governor, which would require students to attend high school until the age of 18. I did not like this bill – if a kid does not want to be in school, what is the point? Will she/he learn if they do not want to? What about the kids who have to work to support their parents or families? I am not sure if there were exceptions for this. The bill does allow students to be expelled under certain conditions. I did not like this bill but others in the House seemed to like it enough to pass it 46-23.

I would like to thank those who have provided comments or information regarding bills. Many times your e-mails provide new insight to an issue that is not otherwise known. Feel free to contact me if any questions arise or if you would like to make any comments. I can be reached through e-mail: Rep.Boomgarden @state.sd.us.

Lets not forget all of our American Troops and keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they perform their duties and are away from family and friends.

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