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Saturday, December 22, 2007

Voters Save Governor's Budget with Tax Increase

So where does Governor Rounds find the political genius to craft a state budget with a spending increase of $23.9 million but no new taxes?

Oh, this just in: the voters (that's us) already handed him the new taxes. The cigarette tax increase we voted into effect last year has generated a 136% increase in tax revenue, a $35 million dollar increase to a total of $61 million in eleven months. At the same time, the smokes tax has had its other promised effect, decreasing sales by 9 million packs and an estimated concomitant 20% reduction in smoking [see Perry Groten, "SD Tax Hike Lowers Smoking," KELOLand.com, 2007.12.22].

Raise taxes, raise revenue, and produce positive social effects? Heck of a deal. A little social engineering gives the governor more fiscal wiggle room to smile and say "No new taxes!" But Governor Rounds -- where'd the other $11.1 million (the difference between the raised revenue and your proposed budget increase) go?

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