Food Tax repeal group starts petition process over to rectify Attorney General, Legislative description conflict

After considering a lawsuit that could take 4 to 6 months, the decision was made to start the process again from scratch. “We know that submitting new language
Published: Dec. 4, 2022 at 7:28 PM CST
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SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (Dakota News Now) -Last July, Dakotans for health submitted a request to the Legislative Research Council for a ballot description. Co-founder Rick Weiland says it’s the first step to getting a food tax repeal on the ballot.

“You’d actually exempt the state tax collection from food and drink at the grocery store,” said Weiland.

A few months later, Governor Noem announced plans to ask the legislature to remove the tax as well.

“You know, when the governor made this part of her campaign, we really thought that that was a good step forward,” said Weiland.

Governor Kristi Noem visited several South Dakota Grocery stories prior to the November election to discuss her ideas for a repeal of the State Tax on groceries. “It’s important for us to get relief to the families of South Dakota, and I want to make sure the legislators are well educated so that they do vote for this,” said Noem.

In case it doesn’t pass in the legislature, Weiland says the ballot measure could be the backup plan. The LRC provided its fiscal statement, stating that municipalities could still collect food tax. The next step, however, at the Attorney General’s office excluded cities from taxing groceries.

“So you had, you know, the AG’s Office saying one thing and the LRC saying another,” said Weiland.

After considering a lawsuit that could take 4 to 6 months, the decision was made to start the process again from scratch.

“We know that submitting new language, even though we don’t think we should have to, was really probably the better path for us,” said Weiland.

The hope is that restarting the process will go quicker this time, allowing organizers to collect signatures sooner than 3 to four months from now.

“And we have asked the LRC and the Attorney General to expedite this new measure. So that’s where we’re at today,” said Weiland.

A spokesperson for the Attorney General’s office responded with “no comment.” When asked if the resubmission would be expedited, they responded that there is yet to be any paperwork at their office to review.

We reached out to Governor Noem’s office for confirmation that she still intends to ask the legislature to repeal the food tax on a state level. Spokesperson Ian Fury responded, saying:

“Governor Noem will unveil her budget next Tuesday. As you know, she has promised to make repeal of the sales tax on groceries her number one priority in the upcoming session.”