Grocery Tax Repeal now HB1094 passes the South Dakota Senate, now returns to the House

PIERRE, S.D. (SDBA) – The state Senate passes another sales tax reduction by a single vote this afternoon (Monday).

HB 1094 was “hog housed” (had its original contents removed) and replaced with repealing the sales tax on groceries.

The vote was 18 to 17.

Supporters say removing the sales tax on food would save taxpayers about $104 million.

Also on Monday, the Senate also passed a different sales tax reduction from 4.5% to 4.3%.

Supporters of that measure say it would provide $69 million in tax relief over nearly all goods and services.

Republican Sen. Herman Otten from Tea moved the amendment to change the vehicle bill.

Bill supporter, Republican John Wiik from Big Stone City, said passing the measure would help legislators keep their campaign promises.

“Maybe you campaigned alongside the Governor and saw the reaction when people heard it,” he said. “It is permanent tax relief. There are a million reasons not to pass the bill. There are 900,000 reasons to pass it–the 900,000 people who live in South Dakota.”

Republican President Pro Tem, Sen. Lee Schoenbeck from Watertown, said his constituents weren’t asking for a reduction in the sales tax but in property taxes.

“My constituents think this sets us up for an income tax,” he said. “It was universal.”

Another opponent, Republican Sen. Jean Hunhoff from Yankton, said tourists buy a lot of food.

“We’ll lose that revenue,” the Co-Chair of the Joint Appropriations Committee said. “If people need food assistance, maybe we look at SNAP.”

The critical vote for the measure was Democratic Sen. Shawn Bordeaux (bore-doe) from Mission.

Native American legislators expressed dismay earlier in the session when the original bill was introduced.

They said neither the Governor nor legislators consulted the tribal nations about its impact on them.

They said they would lose millions of dollars under the state sales tax compact if the sales tax were removed on food.

“The tribes will be made whole on this,” Sen. Bordeaux said. He said a letter from Republican Gov. Kristi Noem to the tribes that the state would hold the tribes harmless was “made in good faith.”

The Senate has now passed two tax cuts in one day.

Earlier in the session, the House rejected ending the sales tax on food but supported reducing the overall state sales tax from 4.5% to 4.2%.

The Senate passed a version that makes the rate 4.3%

There are three days left in the main run of the legislature this week, followed by a one-day veto session on March 27.