Senate Amends Tourism Tax Extension Bill
By Kealey Bultena
Senators in Pierre have okayed an extension of South Dakota’s tourism tax, but they voted against making it permanent, as the governor wants.
Republican Senator Russ Olson says the state’s half-penny sales tax for tourism has helped create jobs and drive indirect revenue for South Dakota.
"100% of the revenue allocated to tourism by the half-penny promotion tax is used to fund cooperative marketing programs that are matched dollar-for-dollar all across our state," Olson says.
That’s why Governor Dennis Daugaard wants the tax indefinitely. But some lawmakers argue that tourism shouldn’t get that extra penny forever. Democratic Senator Jim Hundstad says perpetuating the tourism tax is a tax increase, because it is set to expire in December.
"There shall be no one in this room that doesn’t understand that we’re going to be raising the taxes. There should be no doubt anywhere else in this building that this will be a tax increase," Hundstad says.
Senators amended the bill to sunset at the end of 2012. Because the Senate passed a different version than Representatives approved, legislators from both chambers will try to compromise. Then lawmakers will vote on the final bill.
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