Incumbent Republican congresswoman Kristi Noem and challenger Democratic State Representative Paula Hawks squared off on SDPB TV to talk about energy, the Affordable Care Act and the presidential race.
Hawks and Noem discussed social security solvency during the SDPB Forum.
165,000 South Dakotan’s receive social security. Some officials say without reforms That benefit is set to run out in the coming decades.
Hawks says she wants to remove the payroll tax cap. She says the wealthy need to pay their fair share.
“It is not fair for a person making $125,000 or more to pay the same in payroll taxes than I did as a teacher making less than $40,000 a year," Hawks says. "And that’s part of the problem. We’re allowing millionaires and the top earners of this country to get by with less than their fair share in paying those taxes into Social Security program. SO, it’s being leaked out.
Hawks says the program can remain solvent by also gradually raising the retirement age.
Noem disagrees that lifting the payroll cap is the way to fix Social Security. She calls the Hawks plan a tax increase. Noem says congress needs to work in a bi-partisan way to make sure workers are in jobs that pay into social security.
“I want to get back to those numbers where we have more people paying into the programs, rather than pulling out. And the best way you can do that is by growing the economy," Noem says. "We grow the economy by getting the government off peoples backs, cutting regulation, letting small businesses thrive, paying those higher wages and paying into those social security funds, rather than constantly just pulling up and raising taxes on people. We’ve seen what raising taxes has done to states that have heavy tax burdens and you end up having businesses leave.”’
Noem says the best way to shore up the social security fund is by getting more workers in higher paying jobs.
Noem has served in Congress since 2011. Hawks has served in the state legislature since 2013.