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Noem questions if budget is 'worthy' without food tax cut

Governor Kristi Noem
Kristi Noem Twitter
Governor Kristi Noem

South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem is taking to Twitter to criticize lawmakers in their efforts to reduce the overall sales tax.

Noem promised to cut the food tax during her reelection campaign last year. House lawmakers rejected the proposal last week.

Lawmakers are advancing a bill that reduces the overall sales tax. Noem has cautioned lawmakers about ballot question efforts to remove the food tax. So, Senators are making the cut temporary.

From her campaign Twitter account, Noem said South Dakota residents would not benefit as greatly from reducing the overall sales tax. For every $100 spent, the cut would save 30 cents.

She said the sunset makes the state’s sales tax easier to change.

“It would create instability in our business and tax environment as it creates an uncertain future," Noem said. "In fact, they have chosen this option because they recognize the people of South Dakota will support repealing a sales tax on groceries in the near future. They’re worried that they can’t afford two tax reductions.”

State lawmakers are steadfast in their opposition to removing the state sales tax on food. Some say a broader sales tax cut will be more stable in the long run. Both ideas would cut around $100 million from the state budget.

Noem said she’ll get the final say.

“As we go into the last two weeks of legislative session my hope is that policymakers remember that they work for the people and that they will be accountable to the people," Noem said. "They’ll present me a budget soon and I will have to decide if it is worthy of my signature or not. I’ve proven in the past that I’m willing to make hard decisions. I will again.”

When asked if the governor was threatening to veto the general bill, a spokesperson for Noem said her remarks speak for themselves.

Lawmakers have until March 9 to pass a state budget.

Lee Strubinger is SDPB’s Rapid City-based news and political reporter. A former reporter for Fort Lupton Press (CO) and Colorado Public Radio, Lee holds a master’s in public affairs reporting from the University of Illinois-Springfield.
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