Sunday, February 4, 2007

Food Tax reduction killed

Republicans in the Legislature ought to be ashamed of themselves.

On straight pary-line vote 5-4 (see KOTA story, legislative record) Senate Republicans killed Senate Bill 201, a ONE percent reduction in the food tax sponsored by our own Sen. Tom Katus. (Eliminating the food tax outright is a absolute no-go with the Republicans, so he was trying to at least reduce it.)

None of the states around us tax food--I guess they got the memo about how hard it is on low-income folks.

At the West River crackerbarrel yesterday morning, I asked Sen. Jim Lintz, who was one of the five Republicans who killed the bill, how he could fail to support this on a moral basis, because the food tax is so regressive, hitting the working poor and those just getting by very hard. He responded at the microphone that those who apply for poverty assistance could get a special card [stigma attached of course] to avoid the tax, and that income could not be replaced and he didn't want to get into cutting into the tax basis of the state.

This right after he used every minute of his speaking time at the event to inform us how hard he's been working to get tax breaks for large landowners in his District that don't want to pay property taxes increases as they become land-rich at the same time agriculture becomes less economically viable.

Give me a freakin' break.

The food tax decision was about who we want give a tax break to--the working poor in Rapid City [most of whom don't qualify for the "food card" or don't or can't apply for assistance], or owners of large acreages out of town. I know there are balances to be struck, tax fairness, the ag way of life, the value of open space, etc. but don't tell me the choices don't even exist. Furthermore, there was income freeboard in the budget this year from the new tobacco tax, the state is collecting interest on almost a billion dollars in investments (and growing) and from those sources can't come up with 13 million dollars to give the poor a break and at the same time stimulate the economy as people spend that percent food tax savings on ... more food and necessities?

Seems to me Lintz and his Republican colleagues have chosen to fund government on the backs of low-income folks instead of large landowners wanting a property tax break.

Again, this is a moral choice. You can tell who they are looking out for, and they aren't the same folks the Bible reminds us (again and again) not to forget.


  1. If everyone is paying the same tax rate, then it's as fair as any tax can be.

    The Bible tells us as individuals and as a church to take care of the poor. Nowhere does it tell government to take care of the poor, or use government to take from one person and give it to another.

  2. foxgrandma19:21

    The Bible does say that, but people as a whole and the churches do a really poor job of helping people. In the past there were times I had to ask churches for help and the church I attended even turned me down, the pastor saying none of the congregation was very well to do, but as soon as their kids got to high school they were sent to Wisconsin from SD to attend high school and all the church members had nice cars and SUVs and a lot nicer clothes than I had. As long as we have a food tax there should be no talk of lower property taxes. I don't think the Bible says to tax food, either. I don't even think there should be a tax on clothes. As far as that goes I have to have services from a home care provider once a month, because I am diabetic and unable to cut my own toe nails I have to have them send a nurse to me to check my feet and cut the toe nails. Besides the $35.00 they charge to do a job that takes less than a half an hour they also add tax to that. I have been for abolishing the sales tax and having a state income tax for about 30 years. I also know a lot of other people that feel the same way.