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SDPB Radio Coverage of the South Dakota Legislature. See all coverage and find links to audio and video streams live from the Capitol at www.sdpb.org/statehouse

Lawmakers Consider Raising Required Percentage to Pass Tax Initiatives

To change tax rates in the state, both chambers of the State Legislature requires a two-thirds vote, and now that requirement might also apply to the general public. Members of the House Judiciary Committee advanced Senate Joint Resolution 2, which requires a two-thirds majority to pass tax issues on the ballot. Under current law, South Dakota citizens only need a simple majority to pass tax initiatives. Opponents say the proposed change destroys South Dakota history. Representative Jim Bolin spoke in opposition of the resolution.

“What it fundamentally does is it puts a constitutional requirement, again, that binds the legislature, legitimately so, but you’re going to use constitutional requirement to also bind the will of the people. In our state motto, the only entity that is set above the people is God, ‘Under God, the people rule.’ And there is a hierarchy that is established there. There is no measure in any state where an initiative goes beyond 50 percent,” Bolin says.
Other opponents say it puts an extra burden on voters, but supporters of the resolution say it should be difficult to increase taxes in the state. The House Judiciary Committee advanced the resolution 8-4 and it next heads to the full House.