South Dakotans will not be voting on a constitutional amendment in the next general election. Senate Joint Resolution 2 proposes an amendment to Article XII of the State Constitution that creates a trust fund from energy mineral taxes. After a number of years, portions of the energy mineral trust fund would be deposited back into the state general fund. The resolution puts the amendment before voters. Opponents say there should be guidance as to what the trust funds are used for before letting voters decide. Senator Jean Hunhoff is concerned about not having the money readily available.
“Certainly, I think it’s a warranted idea but I guess my point that I’m thinking about is this money is general funds, plus it’s tax payers’ dollars. We’re telling tax payers’ dollars ‘We’re going to tie up your money for so many years, and then we’re going to need some money.’ What does that mean? How do we raise that additional money for the general fund if it’s tied up there because we put it aside? I feel a commitment to the tax payer that I only want to request what we need to address the priorities of South Dakota,” Hunhoff says.
Supporters of SJR 2 say the state should preserve the minerals being extracted for future generations through the trust fund. The resolution failed 8 to 26.