Radio Update Report 6:30pm (Audio)
As the second half of the legislative session progresses, democrats and republicans say the pace is picking up. They say major bills are moving through both the House and Senate. One bill that passed the House Taxation Committee takes the sales tax off of food. House Minority Leader Bernie Hunhoff says it’s an important issue for South Dakota.
“And you may not think that sounds like a big thing to a lot of people, but a four percent sales tax on food can amount to about two weeks of groceries for a working family or an elderly couple in South Dakota,” Hunhoff says.
The House Appropriations Committee is taking a look how much of a tax increase will fall on other items as a result. House Majority Leader Bob Faehn says it’s important that the revenue estimates are accurate.
“Because it might have an unintended consequence of having an even larger hit on our sales tax,” Faehn says. “We’re seeing sales tax revenue drop now. I can nearly guarantee you that the sales tax revenue from food has been consistent. It’s everything else that’s dropping off.”
Faehn says the budget is still a top concern for lawmakers.
“I doubt that there’s been a day gone by that we haven’t talked about budget concerns and issues,” Faehn says.
But Senate Minority Leader Scott Heidepriem says Republicans aren’t doing enough to help decrease the size of government and stop spending. He says Democrats have been trying, but he isn’t happy with the result.
“Those attempts have been killed by the majority party, in each case with every member of the majority voting to kill every single measure,” Heidepriem says.
Heidepriem says he’s hopeful the two parties will have more chances to work together later in the session.
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