Is Pennington County crying uncle?

The headline from today's Rapid City Journal said a lot this morning: "Higher alcohol taxes questionable."

Wasn't it announced in the RCJ this past August where the Pennington County Commission put Delores Coffing in charge of the effort?
The county hopes to gather enough signatures to put the measure on the November 2006 statewide ballot. Coffing will act as petition coordinator in Pennington County.

They were pretty fired up about the whole thing this summer, breaking from the South Dakota Association of County Commissioners to lead the charge on their ow. But as of this AM, it looks like they might be having second thoughts that they've bitten off more than they can chew:

Delores Coffing, a county commissioner from Rapid City involved in the campaign, said people like the idea of a 1 percent tax on beer, wine and liquor sold for home consumption or in bars. But finding volunteers to circulate petitions is a chore, she said.

“Everybody that I’ve talked with supports the idea of an alcohol tax to offset the cost that alcohol imposes on everybody via their taxes. People want relief from supporting the problems that alcohol abuse causes — law enforcement, treatment, welfare, prosecutions, the public defender, the whole thing.

“However, I’m having an awful time getting anyone to carry petitions. They will sign the petitions, but they’re just too busy to carry one,” Coffing said. “Maybe people will be less busy after the holidays.”

Read the whole thing in Today's Rapid City Journal. Yea, SURE everyone supports it. It's just not petition carrier season (as opposed to "duck" season or "wabbit" season).

Compare this effort to Bill Napoli's STOP property tax measure. It's being criticized as being a radical change to our tax structure. Yet he was able to gather sufficient petition signatures to place this measure on the ballot - and he needed TWICE as many signatures as the Pennington County led measure does.

The big difference between the two? One is a measure to attempt to alleviate taxes. The other is a measure to raise them.

This seems to be the same stumbling block that Gerald Lange faced in his recent attempt to place a corporate income tax on the ballot. Failing at getting petitions signed, he's promising to bring it back to the legislature to attempt to get the measure on the ballot.

Prediction on the Alcohol Tax measure being placed on the ballot? Another proposed tax increase bites the dust.


Anonymous said…
Great article! Two examples of dumb ideas not resonating with the public. It is too bad the Pennington County Commission spent so much good will and political capital on Holloway's scheme to grow his little empire.
Anonymous said…
One reason for ths success of the S.T.O.P. petition drive that can not be overlooked is Bill Napoli. He is a strong articulate advocate for issue and is willing to dedicate all his time to a cause he belives in. The amendment E petition drive from a few years back might have failed but for the work of Sen. Frank Kloucek. He single handedly collected thousands of the needed signatures. In a pinch paid petition circulators can get the needed signatures but dedicated volunteers can't be beat.

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