Monday, October 30, 2006

Please Stop Amendment D -- and give Bill some time off

Please folks, don't be fooled, Amendment D is a terrible idea.

Sen. Bill Napoli defended it again this week in the Rapid City Weekly News.

Sen. Napoli has it wrong. Amendment D basically shifts the tax burden on those that can afford it the least: young people buying their first house and older people selling to "buy down" after their kids have moved on. These are two groups that could really use the money. I honestly don't understand why Sen. Napoli, who seems to truly care for those who wrestle with keeping the household financial ship afloat, would be working so hard for this thing.

California tried this scheme in the 1970s--Prop 13--to try to address the same scary issue of assessments taxing people out of their homes with a bad law. Same bad problem, same bad fix. The end result: two decades of education in terrible fiscal crisis, no music, no art, sports all pay-as-you-go. Public education quality was devastated. The state has tried to fill the gap a little with other taxes, but guess what: it's more state money now, not local, so the schools have far less local control. Housing shortages and higher prices (and assessments) have resulted as well. State finanances are still a mess, 28 years later.

Amendment D, like Prop 13, is enshrined in the State Constitution, to shield it from modification by the courts, the Legislature or the people. Which means it's not only awful, but can't be easily changed or repealed. Taxes are the Legislature's business--this is NOT what the Constitution is for--so we should instead demand that our Legislature do its job and work out a better tax system, and we should ask more of ourselves the voters to finally get realistic about taxes and what we want from government. It's time to get Repubs and Dems together to really reform taxes, not try to hold the rotten, rickety edifice together with an iron band-aid like Amendment D.

Is this what we want for South Dakota? I think not. Get down there and vote no on D today.

And while you are down there, if you live in 35, vote to replace him and his sanctimoniously incumbent colleagues with new voices, especially Theresa Spry -- who will hopefully spend more time on what we really need around here: good-wage jobs, education, and health care. Republicans and Democrate together are needed to move forward, we need a new direction, based on our common ground!

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