Paper Tigers
After talking fiercely, Penn Co Commission Joins SDACC Anyway

From the Rapid City Journal:
Despite consternation about lack of support for a new alcohol tax, Pennington County commissioners reluctantly decided Tuesday to remain in the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners.

But Pennington County will pay only the first three months of $10,242 in annual membership dues and will then re-evaluate whether to make another payment or leave the association.


The county has had trouble finding people willing to circulate petitions to put the initiated measure on the November ballot that would ask voters to approve a 1 percent consumption fee on the gross retail sales of alcoholic beverages.

If approved, revenue would be shared among participating counties according to a formula based on population and the value of property in a given county. Pennington County would stand to gain about $1.2 million per year.

But the liquor tax has not received support from the SDACC.
Read it all here. I'm not sure what to make of this. They have made a lot of bluster over the tax. But in the end, they're sticking with their association that they've fought so hard with over this issue. Why?

I suspect the SDACC caved in a little, and agreed to come with a bill on the tax this session. But it's an election year. Does anyone in their right mind think a taxation bill is going to pass? What tax minded legislator is going to sponsor the measure?

Pennington County caving in to the SDACC is a bit of a mea culpa because of their failure to move this tax issue forward. Did they honestly think Delores Coffing was going to lead a statewide ballot measure? Honestly? When I was in Rapid City and she was on the City Commission, she didn't really traffic with us Political Party Types, and she wasn't known for having strong connections.

Then we we're supposed to believe that she instantly has a statewide network and organizational the ability to pull this off? It could happen, but personally, I wasn't buying it. And it looks like it was with good reason.

My best guess on all of this? The partial payment might be to get the issue introduced this session by the SDACC, with the rest to come if they deliver as promised. Hopefully, they only promised to get it introduced, because I think passage is going to be next to impossible.


Nicholas Nemec said…
I agree that the legislature would never pass this. That place is crawling with lobbyists for the liquor industry. If this bill was introduced and looked like it had a chance of passage the industry would hire even more lobbyists to help "educate" legislators.

There is a reasonable argument that this tax would be a good thing. The money would help offset court costs much of that cost is caused by alcohol fueled crime.

A strong governor who wasn't afraid to take a difficult position could get this passed and claim it helps counties reduce the pressure on property taxes.

The only realistic way this could become law is to let the people vote on it, and I think the people could see through the smoke and vote in their own best interests to pass this bill.
Anonymous said…
I can't believe that Governor Rounds hasn't endorsed the drink tax proposal. I didn't know there was a tax he didn't like. Maybe it is because he won't be able to decide where to squander it--laptops.

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