Democratic Statement of Failure of Gov. Noem’s Food Tax Bill

South Dakota Democratic leaders released the following statements:

South Dakota Democratic Party Chair Randy Seiler:

“Today, Gov. Kristi Noem’s bill to cut the food tax resoundingly failed in committee. Democrats have long supported cutting the sales tax on food in South Dakota, but Gov. Noem didn’t put in the work to do it right. She didn’t work with stakeholders, including tribal nations, or even show up in the Capitol to speak with legislators about the bill until the last minute.

“Gov. Noem’s support for cutting the sales tax on food was nothing more than a political stunt to win her an election, and when it came to the hard work of legislating, she let the people of South Dakota down. Democrats are continuing to work on compromise efforts to advance this long-standing priority after Gov. Noem’s divisive and disconnected style of politics failed.” 

House Democratic Leader Oren Lesmeister (D-Parade):

“I wish the Governor would have reached out to our caucus and had a serious conversation with us on this issue, but at this time that has not happened. The appropriators didn’t feel that it was the right move to make, and cutting the grocery tax to 0% could have been fiscally irresponsible. That is why Senator Nesiba and myself had a compromise bill, HB 1095, that would reduce the grocery tax to 2.5% as an incremental change. We are still committed to helping all South Dakotans, and there are other tax cuts in play that may pass and help South Dakotans that we will be behind.”

Senate Democratic Leader Reynold Nesiba (D-Sioux Falls):

“It is time to reduce the state portion of the state sales tax on baby food, beef, and bread. I am deeply disappointed in today’s vote. Unlike the Governor, SD Democratic leaders are regularly talking with Republican lawmakers in the Capitol. It was clear to me weeks ago that her 4.5-cent proposal would not get through the SD Senate this year. However, I do believe a 2-cent reduction would have had a chance to pass both the House and the Senate. The Governor should have worked with Democrats and like-minded Republicans on this compromise legislation. My understanding is that she opposed any amendment to her bill. It did not help that she has avoided press conferences with local reporters for the last seven weeks where she could have been promoting this tax reduction to her constituents.”