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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Knudson Proposes Taxing Sick People

South Dakota gubernatorial candidate David Knudson wants to raise your taxes. To be fair, State Senator Knudson appears to be aiming for a trade-off that would reduce your property taxes but squeeze you more at the grocery store... and the hospital.

But even a trade-off isn't enough for conservative Dakota War College to swallow the proposal. Pat Powers's fiscal conservative sensibilities are sufficiently offended for him to refer to Knudson's medial services tax as part of "the clincher" that motivated him to throw in with the Scott Munsterman campaign.

Knudson's medical tax proposal is offensive on multiple levels. Property tax may be an outdated method of taxing individual wealth, but taxing injury and illness is even worse. Knudson reasons that much of the tax will be paid by the federal government via Medicaid and Medicare, but that idea reeks of the South Dakota "We love pork!" attitude. Our neighbors in other states pay their taxes, Congress designates that money for health care, and we reappropriate a slice fo that money to fill potholes. Is that even legal?

Knudson's thinking is reflective of the whole legislative session this year, where we nibbled about the edges but saw no real fiscal leadership in coming up with broad, serious reforms in the state budget. Evidently the best Knudson can come up with is another sop to regressive taxation and reliance on Washington.


  1. Apply the sales tax to medical care? Holy political suicide, Batman. That would be almost as fiscally irresponsible as a state income tax, and immoral to boot.

    I've looked over Scott Munsterman's Web site. Although I can't find any statement where he directly expresses opposition to a state income tax, two of the links strongly imply that he would be against higher taxes in general, and an income tax in particular.

    It's clear to me that Scott Munsterman favors limited government and the expansion of private-sector opportunity. Sounds good -- so far.

    Has anyone read Scott Munsterman's book? I'm thinking about ordering it from his Web site, but I don't want to spend the money unless the book drills straight to the stuff that matters and then lays out specific plans of action.

  2. Indeed, Stan, taxing medical services seems like a nutty idea. The Aberdeen American article indicates voters felt the same way when Janklow (perhaps at Knudson's urging) floated the idea back in the 1990s.

    Munsterman is on the record saying he can solve the structural deficit without raising taxes. That sounds even more magical than chiropracty to me... but I hear chiropracty works.


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