Pierre Report: Temporary sales tax increase may make it to vote

With so much discussion on the budget that our governor has proposed, this week has been interesting to say the least.

Conversation from both sides indicated that possibly something could be adjusted to stifle the huge cuts (or shifts) to education and Medicaid.

Sales tax increases, income tax and or corporate income tax have all been discussed. As it now stands, I believe only one suggested method is still to be discussed and voted on. That one is a temporary sales tax increase of 1 percent for the months of June, July and August.

After the superintendent of schools in Sioux Falls met with our governor, there might be some other alternatives possible.

A bit of interesting history tells us that the sales tax was created in South Dakota in the Depression years in the 1930s. Land values crashed and there was no value, which meant there was no revenue. Thus, the sales tax was created.

While attending a Streamlining Sales Tax seminar, we were told that in 2009, there was $6.9 billion worth of sales tax lost because of Internet sales. The amount we will lose in 2012 will approach 23.3 billion. This is an area we, as South Dakotans, should be addressing. The estimated percentage in 2009 of sales over the Internet versus conventional sales was 10 percent. Through 2011-2015 Internet sales are estimated to rise to approximately 50 percent. Methods of collection should be through the huge internet companies such as Amazon.

HB 1161 concerned a photo radar camera used to ticket people turning right on a red light. The bill was to prohibit the use of the camera. It passed 43-24. I believe the fine was $86 and the monies received were split between the manufacturer of the camera and the city.

HB 1061 allows for midwives with certain credentials and experience to perform births in homes as long as the hospital is aware of the situation. It was thought that this bill needed a 2/3 vote to pass, and therefore failed 36-31. After researching the laws, it was determined that it needed only a simple majority to pass. This time the bill passed 37-31.

HB 1074 concerned game licenses for non residents. It proposed changing the current law which allows small game hunters two five-day hunting seasons to allowing hunters five two-day seasons. Because so many of our South Dakota hunters work and can hunt only on weekends, the majority of the legislators felt they should leave the law as it stands. The bill failed 28-41.

HB 1215 will be presented to committee this next week. It deals with tax collected on fuel used for non-highway uses. I believe this is a good bill and be interesting to follow.

We, as South Dakotans, are not much different from Americans across the United States. Pennsylvania Rep. Dwight Evans said earlier this year: �The problem with budget is that the people want what they�re not willing to pay for.�

The many, many e-mails that I am receiving in the past three weeks indicate that many of you want good roads, good education and good health care for our seniors and are willing to step up to the plate to do so. This is what I am hearing. If you agree or disagree, I welcome not only your opinion, but also your input to help coming up with a solution.

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