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Gov. Noem agrees with Democrats calls for grocery tax cut

Noem @ Butcher
C.J. Keene
Gov. Kristi Noem speaks to a crowd at Dakota Butcher in Rapid City. During the speech, she promised to repeal South Dakota's tax on grocery purchases.

Republican Gov. Kristi Noem now says she will cut the state’s controversial grocery tax if re-elected to another term in office. Eliminating the state's food tax is a position state Democrats have long advocated.

In the last legislative session, the Republican majority refused a bipartisan proposal to repeal South Dakota’s grocery tax.

But the 4.5% tax has since become a priority for the incumbent governor.

“I am promising that we will follow through and deliver the largest tax cut in the history of the state of South Dakota," Noem said. "I am promising we will repeal the grocery food tax on all grocery items in the state of South Dakota so we can bring relief to our families.”

Noem said inflationary pressure is clamping down on South Dakotans.

“What I’m hearing from families is they can’t believe how much groceries cost," Noem said. "They can’t believe how much meat has risen, how much dairy products have gone up, how much even just picking up a box of cereal is so different than it was a year ago.”

Noem’s Democratic challenger is state Rep.Jamie Smith. He said Noem’s promise is an effort to manipulate voters.

“She’s supporting a reduction on food tax that we brought year after year after year," Smith said. "It finally passed through the House of Representatives this year, and during session she opposed us. So, it shows it's election time, and it shows this Governor will do anything to try to sway the vote.”

Smith said he still supports the effort to cut the state's grocery tax.

Noem and Smith have their only scheduled debate this Friday.

C.J. Keene is a Rapid City-based journalist covering education, healthcare, arts and culture.