Does South Dakota need low taxes, or do we bring financial woes upon ourselves?

I was reading an editorial from my local paper, the Brookings Register, where the publisher brought up an interesting point from a recent Crackerbarrel, when someone from the audience asked whether South Dakota’s status as the least taxed state in the nation was A. An Accomplishment, B. An Embarassment, or C. Other.   The publisher also brought up that legislators also bemoaned that state revenue projections were “likely to leave the state 10-15 million short” in the next two fiscal years.

If I were asked, I’d argue that it’s a good thing that our state is the least taxed in the nation. Why? In case someone missed it, we’re also 46th in population. There aren’t a lot of companies or employers who when determining where to locate are actively seeking “sparsely populated areas with sweltering summers, punishing arctic winters a plus.”  So, we need to capitalize on what we do have. And the ability to tax ourselves less is one of them.

The tradeoff is that yes, we run ourselves a little closer to the redline than some might like. We tend to be less spendthrift in word and deed. Some might call South Dakotans downright tight, or conjure up a cultural reference such as German frugality.

Whatever the cause, we tend to be tight with a buck, and are not terribly interested in handing it off to government to do as they please – which causes this give and take, or tug of war between taxpayers and taxspenders. Or you might say it’s a battle between our wants and not our needs but rather our “means.”

So, I pose the question to you, the SDWC reader: Does South Dakota need low taxes, or do we bring financial woes upon ourselves by them being low?

14 thoughts on “Does South Dakota need low taxes, or do we bring financial woes upon ourselves?”

  1. the way the tea party rails against the republican leadership in here, you couldn’t convince me that the state has anything approaching ‘low’ taxes. sarcasm aside, your point is spot on.

  2. Economies could be found in the budget, but no one wants to cut or eleiminate programs. Gov’t always finds a need for every dollar.

  3. Just like the time it takes to do a particular job expands to the time available, government spending will expand to the money available.

  4. i will never ever understand this knee-jerk spouting of general limited government theory at a time like this. rather than help, it always stops any detailed examination of the situation like a brick wall. oh, ok i guess that’s the answer. nothing to be done but compare results to theory all day. nope.

  5. I think it is a major badge of honor we are least taxed because I sure I wouldn’t want any of the “benefits” Minnesotans get for their extra taxation. Money wasted as far as I’m concerned.

    If I’m going to waste my money, I’d just as soon do it myself.

    1. Just today the MN press is running a story about a progressive attorney who is lambasting the low-income housing industry in the state. He helped create housing assistance in the state and mourns how it has become focused on self-interests of the neighborhood groups that reap big fees bringing housing to their impoverished neighborhoods . (read DFL vote buying machines). “Billions in taxpayer funds have gone to making the problem worse”

    2. Troy, you golf?

      We should waste some of our money together on a golf course this year. Pick a course 😉

  6. I go with an accomplishment to SD. There are ways that we could raise revenue and not increase taxes. One way is to abolish the law on obtaining a liquor license. This would increase liquor sales. Second increase fines for not carrying auto insurance. Now granted both of these ideas would not increase revenue in the millions but it would still increase revenues to the point were I think it is a start of getting other ideas of increasing revenues in SD.

  7. True, there are very few people in our state. True, it is nice to take home more in my paycheck than my neighbors in Nebraska, Iowa, and Minnesota. False, nobody wants to come to South Dakota. Gang, we have a whole building in downtown Sioux Falls filled with tiny little offices belonging to all kinds of trusts and corporations. These little offices contain a desk, a chair, and a telephone, and occasionally a person comes by to clean. We are the premiere destination for the protection of huge wealth, that does very little to benefit us, comparatively. Yes, as a wage earner, the low taxes is huge, but it is the give-away tax treatment for passive income in South Dakota that really jars the conscience.

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