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Ballot committee formed for “Taxpayer Support Amendment”

Updated: Jun. 22, 2021 at 8:33 AM CDT
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PIERRE, S.D. - South Dakotans Against Higher Taxes announced its recent formation of a ballot committee to support the passage of the “Taxpayer Protection Amendment” that South Dakotans will vote on in June 2022.

The “Taxpayer Protection Amendment,” if passed, would require future ballot measures that raise taxes to have a 60% voter approval, as opposed to the currently 50% threshold. The Constitutional Amendment will also require any spending that exceeds $10 million annually to receive the same benchmark for approval.

State Rep. Jon Hansen (R-Dell Rapids), who carried the resolution during the 2021 state legislative session to get the “Taxpayer Protection Amendment” on the ballot, will chair the newly formed committee. The Treasurer of the committee is State Sen. Lee Schoenbeck (R-Watertown), who pushed the effort to have the amendment on the primary ballot.

“We are excited to share the formation of South Dakotans Against Higher Taxes,” said Hansen. “Our central goal with this effort is to protect South Dakota families and their check books against major tax increases or bloated government spending that works against their best interests and their families’ bottom line. We hope you’ll join us in saying ‘yes’ to taxpayer protections next June.”

The Amendment was put onto to the 2022 primary ballot after being passed through both chambers of the state legislature in HJR 5003. HJR 5003 originally called for the amendment to be put on the 2022 general election ballot, but was amended in the Senate before passage to be put on the primary ballot.

“There are liberal interests all across the country and around South Dakota who want to raise your taxes, don’t let the liberals raise your taxes,” said Hansen. “We should have these protections in place from outrageously higher taxes.”

Critics of the bill say that it is an attempt to stifle future ballot initiatives, most notably the Medicaid expansion initiative which will be on the 2022 general election ballot. Dakotans for Health, a Medicaid expansion advocacy group, unsuccessfully filed a lawsuit against the Secretary of State, on the grounds that the amendment should be on the general election ballot, which would have allowed the Medicaid expansion to pass with only 50% of the vote, regardless of the result of the taxpayer amendment.

“It is unconscionable that the South Dakota State Senate passed HJR 5003 by the thinnest of margins, to put this resolution to a vote in the June 2022 primary rather than a higher-turn-out general ballot,” said Pam Cole, Grassroots Organizer for Dakotans for Health. “We need to fight fire and work that much harder to get issues on the ballot that the legislature and our governor refuse to address.”

“This is an attempt by Republican politicians to try and amass more power in Pierre, and to take it away from the people of South Dakota,” said State Sen. Reynold Nesiba (D-Sioux Falls), a staunch Medicaid supporter. “Its being passed right now because Republicans are opposed to Medicaid expansion.”

The 2022 primary election will take place on June 7th of next year. The general election will take place a few months later on November 8th.