Thune Introduces Tax Reform Legislation to Accelerate Cost Recovery, Encourage Growth

Thune Introduces Tax Reform Legislation to Accelerate Cost Recovery, Encourage Growth

“Whether you’re running a family farm, taking on the risks of pursuing a new venture, or thinking about expanding your business to another state or foreign market, the INVEST Act is designed to ensure the tax code works for you, not against you.”

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), a member of the tax-writing Senate Finance Committee, today introduced the Investment in New Ventures and Economic Success Today (INVEST) Act of 2017 (S. 1144), legislation that would simplify accounting rules and reform key parts of the tax code to help small and medium-sized business owners more quickly recover investment costs and certain other tax deductible business expenses. By accelerating cost recovery on property, equipment, inventory, and other common business investments, the INVEST Act would encourage new business growth and help existing businesses, including farms and ranches, expand their operations, create new jobs, and grow the economy. The INVEST Act, while introduced as a standalone bill, is intended to be included in the Senate’s broader tax reform legislation.

“We have got to get our economy back on the path to strong, sustained growth, and I believe that starts with creating a pro-growth environment in which small and medium-sized businesses can thrive,” said Thune. “For years, American businesses and consumers have suffered from an overly regulated system that prioritizes growing the government over growing jobs, wages, and the economy. That government-knows-best approach, coupled with a severely outdated tax code, not only discourages some business owners from expanding their operation, but in some cases, it also deters prospective owners from starting a business at all.

“My proposal would help reverse this trend and help create the right kind of pro-growth tax code to reenergize new and existing business owners in South Dakota and across the country. Whether you’re running a family farm, taking on the risks of pursuing a new venture, or thinking about expanding your business to another state or foreign market, the INVEST Act is designed to ensure the tax code works for you, not against you. Congress and the president have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to truly reform the tax code and strengthen the economy, and I’m confident the INVEST Act will help move us in the right direction.”

The INVEST Act would:

Expensing and cost recovery:

  • Allow investments in business equipment and property to be written off immediately up to $2 million under Section 179 and start phasing out the benefit for investments over $3 million. Expensing would also apply to a broader range of property and equipment, including roofs, HVAC units, and property used in rental real estate.
  • Make temporary “bonus” depreciation into permanent 50-percent expensing.
  • Reduce the depreciation period for farm machinery and equipment from seven years to five years.
  • Increase the amount that a company can deduct for a passenger vehicle, including a light truck or van, used for business purposes. Businesses would also be able to claim the full 50-percent expensing in the first year, up to $25,000.
  • Allow businesses that acquire intangible property, like a patent or customer list, to recover that investment over 10 years, rather than the 15-year period under current law.

Start-up costs:

  • Allow new business owners to expense more of their start-up and organizational expenses, which would encourage entrepreneurs to pursue new business opportunities.

Simplified accounting:

  • Enable more small and medium-sized corporations to use the cash method of accounting.
  • Simplify inventory accounting so small businesses can deduct the cost of their inventories rather than having to use complicated inventory accounting methods that can delay the recovery of those costs.
  • Allow more small construction companies to use the simplified completed-contract method of accounting.

Click here for a full topline summary of the INVEST Act, here for a section-by-section summary of the bill, and here for legislative text.

The INVEST Act is the third major tax proposal that Thune has introduced during the 115th Congress. In January, Thunereintroduced legislation to permanently repeal the federal estate tax, a purely punitive tax that has the potential to hit family farms, ranches, and businesses as the result of an owner’s death. In March, Thune reintroduced legislation with U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) that would make pro-growth reforms to help S corporations operate more effectively andimprove their ability to raise capital.

In 2015, Thune and Cardin co-chaired the Finance Committee’s Business Income Tax Working Group. The report theysubmitted to the full committee included key principles for business tax reform and multiple recommendations that were designed to modernize U.S. business taxation, address structural biases in the tax code, and promote American innovation. Numerous policy principles outlined in the working group’s report are addressed in the INVEST Act.


The Mid May 2017 Edition of the GOP’s roster of who’s running for what!

It’s been about 45 days since we last visited things, and while there haven’t been a lot of changes, we’ve solidified up some things.

The statewide races for Governor and Congress seem to be stabilizing, although, there’s a little time left for people to jump in. Mainstream GOP candidates Marty Jackley ad Kristi Noem are campaigning hard across the state, while fringe candidates ‘Dr’ Terry Lee LaFleur and Lora Hubbel are relying on gimmicks and social media, eschewing most GOP events.

Neal Tapio indicated he’s most definitely planning to run for Congress, joining the field currently held by former PUC Commissioner and Governor’s Chief of Staff Dusty Johnson, and Secretary of State Shantel Krebs. Dusty and Shantel are devoting most of their campaigning to the GOP Lincoln Day Dinner Circuit, with Dusty having a campaign kickoff today across the state in 3 cities.

Who might join either of those marquee races? There’s still lots of room to jump in the water, but I would look to Congress being the more accessible.

Insiders don’t expect State Sen. Stace Nelson, who placed third in the 2014 US Senate primary, to jump in a major statewide race in 2018. I’ve had people cite both health and lack of funds as reasons he’d likely stay out, although as recently as this past legislative session, it was noted to me that he was trying to talk people into it.

If Nelson would decide to run for statewide office this cycle, as an underperformer in 2014 at the statewide primary level, his only realistic path may be in a Constitutional office where the GOP Nominees are chosen at convention. At convention, the delegates tend to be more conservative, and may accept him as a nominee. Generally, the path after that is easy, as Democrats provide only nominal opposition, if any at all.

Larry Rhoden who defeated Nelson to place second in that same 2014 Senate race seems to be sitting quietly so far this cycle, although many see him as a genuine contender in the future or quite possibly as someone who might be tapped as a Lt. Governor candidate.   Depending on who wins the GOP nomination for Governor, that could be a genuine possibility for the affable State Representative.

And what about Senate President Pro Tempore Brock Greenfield? I’ve had people note to me that they could see him jumping into a Constitutional office race and doing well. The question would be “which of his contemporaries would he challenge?” We’ve got a pretty good field right now, so making the case why any of them should not go to Pierre might be the biggest hurdle for any contender.

We’re within days of starting a 12 month countdown to the June Primary Election of 2018, when things will really start to get crazy. Hold on to your seats!

Press Release: Minnesota Measles Outbreak Continues, Keep Immunizations Current

(Considering that there’s an anti-vaxxer or two running for office out there, probably good topic to bring up. -PP)

Minnesota Measles Outbreak Continues, Keep Immunizations Current

PIERRE, S.D. – As a Minnesota measles outbreak nears 50 cases, a South Dakota health official urges state residents to make sure their immunizations are up to date.

South Dakota reported its last measles cases in late 2014 when an outbreak centered in Mitchell sickened 10 state residents and four out-of-state residents. Prior to that outbreak, it had been 17 years since South Dakota reported a measles case.

“The good news is that South Dakota’s overall immunization coverage rate for measles vaccination is high, which is why we were able to contain the 2014 outbreak with so few cases,” said Dr. Lon Kightlinger, state epidemiologist for the Department of Health. “Unfortunately, there are some pockets where rates are not as high as they should be and that opens the door for measles to spread.”

He encouraged health care providers and parents to check their children’s immunization records to make sure they have the recommended two doses of MMR (measles/mumps/rubella) vaccine – the first dose at 12 months and the second between ages 4 and 6. Kightlinger also asked health providers to be alert for measles in anyone presenting with fever, cough, runny nose and pinkeye followed by rash three to five days later.

According to the latest National Immunization Survey, 94.1 percent of South Dakota’s 19-35 month olds have had one dose of MMR and 90.4 percent of teens 13-17 years have had two doses. The department’s recent kindergarten survey shows 97.1 percent of kindergarten students in the state have had the recommended two doses of MMR vaccine. Three percent of the schools in the survey had 50 percent or fewer of their kindergarten students vaccinated with two doses of MMR.

Those who have received two doses of measles vaccine or were born before 1957 are considered immune to the disease.”

Learn more about measles under the disease tab at

– 30 –

Lora Hubbel’s prohibitionist and anti-sorcery platform planks for the 2018 Gubernatorial race.

Dammit. Why did I look?  I didn’t want to, but I did anyway.

I saw this Facebook post by GOP/Indy/Constitution Party (or whatever it is this year) gubernatorial hopeful Lora Hubbel, and in typical Lora fashion, it was off the wall and not what you typically find posted from anyone running for office:

I should have known better when I saw that Lora actually decided to lecture her followers about how “all you who take prescription drugs are into “sorcery.

Damn you practitioners of modern western medicine.

But that still left the problem of the link that she posted. I kept looking at it not unlike Brad Pitt in “Se7en,” demanding to know “what’s in the box!?!”  I didn’t want to see, but I felt compelled to look, like when people slow down when they drive by a fire or bad traffic accident.

So I opened the box.  And what does Lora’s link about Alcohol consumption and spirit possession lead you to? What rabbit hole of crazy is this Gubernatorial hopeful trying to lead us down now?

I’m sorry I asked:

In the words of writer and health enthusiast, Jason Christoff –  “In alchemy, alcohol is used to extract the soul essence of an entity. Hence its’ use in extracting essences for essential oils, and the sterilization of medical instruments. By consuming alcohol into the body, it in effect extracts the very essence of the soul, allowing the body to be more susceptible to neighboring entities most of which are of low frequencies (why do you think we call certain alcoholic beverages “SPIRITS?”).


Our bodies are cars for spirits. If one leaves, another can take the car for a ride. Essentially when someone goes dark after drinking alcohol or polluting themselves in many other ways, their body often becomes possessed by another entity.”

I became aware of this phenomenon years ago when I was given a spiritual vision. In this vision, I was transported as an observer above a popular bar and nightclub. Above the venue where a variety of ghoul-like entities. Inside the bar were people drinking alcohol, socializing, dancing, and so on. I watched as certain people became very drunk. I saw their souls, while connected through a thread, exited the body. I understood that the soul was leaving the body because of the great discomfort of being in a body highly intoxicated with alcohol. When the soul exited the body, other non-benevolent entities entered or latched on to their vacant shells. Once the entities took hold of the body, they used the body to play out all kinds of dark acts, such as violence, low-level sexual encounters, destructive behaviors, rape, and more.

Read that here.

Apparently Gubernatorial hopeful Lora Hubbel is promoting a viewpoint that if we drink, we may be possessed by demons, because our souls will leave our bodies. Because of course, that’s why they call them “Spirits.”

Is the 2018 election over yet?

Is regulatory relief coming for lenders, increasing consumer choice and helping hometown banks?

Is regulatory relief coming for lenders, increasing consumer choice and helping hometown banks?  We can hope.

One of the biggest problems that the Dodd-Frank rules have had since their passage is that despite legislative intent to apply to the largest lenders, regulators such as the Consumer Finance Protection Board (CFPB) have applied rules and regulations across the board to lenders of all size.

And when it comes to lenders, one size most certainly does not t fit all.

When the CFPB proposed a “Small Dollar Lending” rule, the original intent of this rule was to prevent certain types of predatory lending practices. But the CFPB took its solution to this problem and drove many traditional lenders away from making small, short-term loans to customers they may have known for decades. The law of unintended consequences continues to whittle away at hometown lenders who would prefer to stay open, despite the best efforts of the CFPB.

And as I’ve documented before, this is just the start of the list of problems, as lenders try to keep up with regulations as they try to stay in business in an atmosphere of regulatory overreach by the federal government.

However, at least partial relief may be within reach.

The House Financial Services Committee has developed the Financial CHOICE (creating hope and opportunity for investors, consumers, and entrepreneurs) Act, of which one of the key components proposed is Senator Mike Rounds’ reintroduction of the “Taking Account of Institutions with Low Operation Risk” or TAILOR Act, a bill to require federal regulatory agencies to take risk profiles and business models of institutions into account when crafting regulations.

So, how does Rounds’ TAILOR act help?  In short, it demands that federal regulations on lenders are NOT one size fit all, and they must be “TAILOR-ed” to the size and nature of the lending institution in an effort to open up more capital to lending, and to reduce the federal regulatory burden on those institutions.  The TAILOR act is at the top of a list of reforms that local lending institutions would like to see.

To be more specific, the TAILOR Act (H.R. 1116) would require federal financial agencies to consider the risk profiles and business models of the institutions they oversee when taking regulatory action. It would require those agencies to consider various costs and other impacts for those institutions, many of them based on organizational size and structure.

Why is this important? Because as I’d noted in a previous article, many bank closures are directly related to regulatory requirements placed on smaller banks by Dodd-Frank rules. And who is the most affected when these regulations are piled upon lenders? Excessive costs and regulatory hurdles continue to hurt consumers the most, where the impact of unnecessary regulations and disproportionate compliance hurt smaller lenders the most since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010.

According to one article:

Of 200 small banks in 41 states surveyed in a 2014 study by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University, 90 percent said the Dodd-Frank rules that had been finalized up to that point were increasing compliance costs, and 83 percent said the rules had increased costs by more than 5 percent. Almost two-thirds of banks said they would be changing the “nature, mix and volume of mortgage products and services as a result of new regulations” while 10 percent said they anticipated discontinuing residential mortgages. And despite the fact that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was supposed to concentrate on banks of $10 billion-plus in assets, 71 percent of the small-bank respondents said the CFPB was affecting their business activities.

Read that here.

Two-thirds of banks? Numbers like that affect massive swaths of our country, especially in sparsely populated South Dakota. With more regulations came increased costs and fewer choices to consumers. Period.

Rounds’ TAILOR Act would ease the regulatory burden on financial institutions so they can focus their resources on taking care of their customers, rather than spending time and money on compliance, the costs of which are ultimately passed onto the consumer. The TAILOR Act also requires regulators to conduct a review of all the regulations issued by the agencies since the passage of the Dodd-Frank Act and revise them if necessary.

Fewer burdensome regulations, and the ability to offer more products at a reduced cost? Those are good things for South Dakota communities, and South Dakota businesses.  And we wish Senator Rounds success in fixing the problem.

Democrat author of bipartisan ethics reform measure challenges misconceptions in Argus article on IM22.

If you recall the disastrous mess South Dakotans had on their hands with Slick Rick Weiland’s Initiated Measure 22 this session, we were faced with a new set of laws which made felons out of people for being married to the wrong person. Not to mention that the measure had been noted as unconstitutional by Judge Mark Barnett as it was challenged by a group of lawmakers.

It ground a lot of legislative business – and interactions between constituents and lawmakers – to a halt as legislative leaders came up with a multi-pronged solution. One of these solutions was proposed by Democrat State Representative Karen Soli of Sioux Falls who offered a a State Government Accountability Board plan, which found bipartisan support among her colleagues on both sides of the aisle.

In recent weeks, Argus Leader reporter Dana Ferguson wrote an article attacking the soli measure, as the headline screamed that the “Ethics Bill Lost Teeth on Way to Law Status.”  This past weekend, Democrat State Representative Karen Soli responded with an opinion article of her own, and pointed out why the Argus Leader was off base in it’s criticism:

A few weeks ago, the Argus Leader published an article titled, “Ethics Bill Lost Teeth on Way to Law Status.” As the author and prime sponsor of House Bill 1076, An Act to create a State Government Accountability Board, I want to correct several misconceptions included in the article.


During the 2016 session I was involved in the creation of a bill proposing an ethics board that was defeated in committee. I wanted this bill to be directed toward misconduct in the executive branch, to be strong and effective, and to pass in a bipartisan manner. I am very grateful that this happened.

During the first weeks of the session I worked with the state’s Republican leadership to strengthen and refine the proposal. Since other bills were being brought to improve the oversight of legislators (Senate Bill 151), HB 1076 filled the gap of holding the executive branch accountable, including elected officials such as the Governor, Secretary of State and hundreds of employees in multiple departments. Once IM22 was repealed, Republicans became even more interested in supporting the accountability board.

In my many visits with our state’s leaders I discovered another motivator for their support of this bill – they were heartbroken and disturbed by the GearUp and EB-5 scandals. They were concerned about the lives lost, as well as the public money diverted from good causes, such as helping young Natives go to college.

If there were something we all could do to prevent this kind of thing from happening again, they, with me, believed we needed to do it.


This important legislation has created a much-needed and strong ethics committee for the executive branch of our state government. It deserves accurate reporting. A better title for an article on the development of the new State Government Accountability Board in this year’s legislative session would be, “Great Strides Made Toward Ethical Accountability in State Government.”

Read the entire article here.

Interesting how in the headlines, the Argus Leader blasted the needed changes by stating “Ethics Bill Lost Teeth on Way to Law Status,”  and uses a vanilla “My Voice: State Government Accountability Board defense” on the response from the measure’s author.

Check out the article from Representative Soli. It’s worth your read.

Happy Mother’s Day from a very blessed editor of

I’m finally back at SDWC headquarters, in uniform (I’m in my basement wearing my jammies) after a long day on the road from Missouri, where my wife scattered her late mother’s ashes on Table Rock Lake, in an area where her parents lived for many years as part of their retirement.

In a weekend where my wife remembered her mom, who worked for several years at the Argus Leader when they lived in Sioux Falls, it’s fitting that I take a moment to honor the two mothers that influence me the most significantly.

Of course, the first is my mom, Kay, pictured here before I was around at the World’s Fair in Queens, NY.   Mom passed away from Breast Cancer right before Thanksgiving in 2000, after her cancer metastasized throughout her system.

Mom’s only education past high school was a vocational nurse’s training program, but in addition to being a Registered Nurse (and later a school nurse for the Pierre Public School system) she was a savvy businesswoman who made up for what she lacked in formal education by working hard and teaching herself.  Over the years, she ran two small businesses in Pierre, an antique store and an auction company, and as her oldest, I was often drug along for the ride (whether I liked it or not).

From mom I learned a lot of things. Lessons about hard work (I pale to her energy, but I’m as much of a workaholic as she was), running your own small business, as well as other pieces of knowledge she tried to pass on to me. In her last five years, after she had first been diagnosed with cancer and was horribly ill from chemotherapy, she even demanded I follow her commands on how to butcher a deer – right there on her kitchen table – because it was something she thought I should learn.

She also taught me lessons about life. When it was time for an auction sale, she was known at times to hire people who might be down on their luck, because there’s dignity in work, and equal to her needing the help, it helped them.

Mom grew up as a child of divorce in the 40’s and 50’s when most didn’t do that, and I think that there were times when they didn’t have a lot of money, or stability, until my grandmother married her third husband, who I knew as my grandfather until the day he died.

Which brings to mind a lesson she made a point to make about family. When I was engaged, she told me to never bring a complaint about my wife to her. She said that there are good times and bad in a marriage. And as her son, she would always take my side, whether I was right or wrong, because that’s what parents do. She pointed out a cousin whose wife always ran to her parents to complain about him. And eventually, instead of encouraging them to work things out, her parents pushed her to divorce.

There are lots of people who have challenging times in their marriage, and plenty that end in divorce. But, as my mom intended to impress upon me, if you can avoid stacking the deck against success by not encouraging your family’s opposition your spouse over simple disagreements or minor issues, I consider that to be fairly sound advice, especially after celebrating my 25th anniversary last year with my wife.

Speaking of my life-partner, and mother of my seven children, my wife Michelle is of course the other mom who influences me greatly. Among many things, the quality I most admire about her is her lifelong desire to learn, continually improve, and to try to elevate her craft and skill in her field, in her case, education.

During our relationship (we were engaged after about 2-3 weeks), she’s gone from Special Education teacher at Elk Point, to Dept of Ed employee in the Office of Special Ed, to State Director of Special Ed, to Director of Special Ed for a School District (it paid more than the State of SD job).  And now this fall, she’s fulfilling a goal she’s had for many years, which is to return to the classroom to teach the next generation of Special Educators as a college professor at Augustana University. If all goes as planned, she’ll also be “hooded” at the December graduation ceremony at USD as “Dr. Powers.”

It’s not easy being a career-minded woman, who puts up with me, is the mother of seven children, active in the community, active in professional associations, all at the same time she’s worked on and completed a Masters Degree, a Specialist in Education Degree, and as of this December, a Doctoral Degree.

Back when we lived in Pierre, I remember a friend relating a story where her daughter was complaining about her college workload, and this woman’s retort to her child was, “Michelle Powers is working full time, is in the middle of her master’s degree, just played last month in the orchestra of the play, and is down at the hospital having her fourth child. Don’t complain to me about your workload.”

While my mom was a person possessing a high school education, as well as a Catholic voc-ed nursing certificate, and my wife has several degrees, they were/are both remarkable mothers to me, as at the same time they raised large families, they both had that same super-human energy, and a hunger to continue reaching for knowledge, to improve, and to reach new goals.

In remembrance of my Mom, Kay, and my wife, Michelle. Happy Mother’s Day.