Neighbor on the other side of the state Stan Gibilisco absolutely will not support a state income tax. However, he is open to a revision of the state sales tax proposed by House Bill 1255. This legislation, sponsored by Representative Marc Feinstein and Senator Pam Merchant, would set the sales tax rate on food at 0%. "Food" would not include alcoholic beverages, pop, candy, dietary supplements, food from vending machines, or prepared food.
To keep the books balanced, HB 1255 would increase the state sales, use, and excise taxes on pretty much everything else from 4% to 4.3%.
What do you think: are you willing to eat that cost to end the food tax? As Mr. Ehrisman points out, more South Dakotans are having to turn to food aid like The Banquet. Food stamp use in the state is up over 10%. Would HB 1255 help working families put food on the table... or would the increased tax on other goods and services cancel out any advantage for the folks who need help?
We'll hear what the House Taxation Committee thinks when they take up HB 1255 bright and early tomorrow morning.
By the way, a perhaps discussion-worthy note on legal language: HB 1255 amend our tax law to refer to "the use of food" as a "privilege." I take it any of us lefties who think eating is a right can sit on a tack... as can international human rights advocates.
But our state tax law already says that "engaging in business as a retailer" and using goods and services are also privileges. So good old Main Street entrepreneurship isn't a right, either. Socialists and capitalists alike have something to discuss over (taxable) coffee this morning.
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